Despite the way things looked for the first 15 or so inning of this series, the Nats end up with another series victory. They’re back above .500, for another day, the Nats are approaching the end of May without looking bad. The last few games, though, have been more painful to watch. The week of frustrating one-run losses was tough, but at least you figure they were playing well enough that it would balance out. Then they put in an almost perfect impression of an early 2009 game yesterday. John Lannan came out an pitched well, something that couldn’t be said for many starts this year, although 2 in a row decent starts gives some encouragement. The team took the lead into the final frame and then, BAM, it’s all gone. The major differences between ’09 and ’10 lie in the final results. Were this last year, that 9th inning would have yielding 3 runs, not 2. And then bottom of the 10th heroics? Wouldn’t have happened last year.
So thanks in large part to Josh Willingham hitting a bottom of the 10th inning home run, they are now sitting above .500 despite having played fully 45 games. And despite Willingham’s hitting slump of late – ok it’s not a real slump, but he’s only hitting .233 in his last 30 games, he’s getting on base, and leads the National League in walks. And give credit to the non-closer parts of the bullpen last night. Doug Slaten got the win, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett all came in and did everything they needed to do.
Problems do persist with this team – they’re not scoring enough. The last week has been painful, and they’re 3-7 in their last 10 games. I don’t even want to get into how poorly Nyjer Morgan has played this season in general. Although he has hit the ball well the last few games, and if he could stop trying to bunt to get on after hitting 2 or 3 scorching line drives that just happen to get caught the night before, he might put together a few hits in a row. And hey, he hasn’t been caught stealing in a week, so he’s got that going for him. His defensive woes have been the most disturbing, and they indicate that he’s not feeling himself, for whatever reason. They need to get him right, or the Nats will likely continue their skid.
Enjoy the day off, it’s the Nationals first one since May 3rd, if you don’t count the rainout on Friday the 14th in Colorado, where they still had to show up and prepare like they were playing. Tuesday, you get to see Livan, so far that’s pretty much been good news.