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Braves 8, Nats 4: Streak at 6 after another ugly night

Apr 27, 2015, 10:18 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals showed up at Turner Field on Monday, hoping a change of scenery would be the impetus for a change of fortunes. Instead, they dug themselves into an even deeper hole with another ugly performance that extended their losing streak to six games and may have cost them their starting third baseman.

Doug Fister was shaky over 5 2/3 innings, giving up 10 hits and committing two costly errors on pickoff attempts. One of those errors set up a play in which Andrelton Simmons slid hard into third base and injured Yunel Escobar’s left hand, knocking Escobar out of the game and perhaps leading to hot tempers later when Nationals reliever Rafael Martin hit Simmons in the back with his first pitch out of the bullpen.

The Nationals did show some fire late, getting a Little League home run (triple-plus-error) from Dan Uggla to trim the deficit to 7-4 in the eighth. But that was too little, too late for a team that has now lost six in a row, dropped to 7-13 and a sits a full 8 games behind the Mets in the NL East.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: There was no singular moment that was lower than the others, but collectively the Nationals offensive showing in this game certainly qualified as a lowlight. One night after managing one run and three hits off Dan Haren, they did the exact same against Eric Stults. Nothing against either pitcher, but we’re not talking about flamethrowers here. The Nationals did hit several balls hard off Stults, with Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth all victims of some bad luck. But overall, this team just isn’t hitting anywhere close to its full capacity right now.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: What exactly is going on right now with Fister? Whatever it is, he hasn’t looked like himself so far this season. He issued four walks a couple of starts ago, then served up two homers his last time out. And in this one, the usually rock-solid right-hander twice was charged with errors on wayward pickoff attempts. The first led to the play that injured Escobar. The second led to a run scoring. When it was all done, Fister had allowed five runs (four earned, though it was his error) and 10 hits in only 5 2/3 innings. The question is whether something’s wrong with him, or whether (like his entire team) he’s just off to a slow start.

INJURY UPDATE: Escobar was forced out of the game in the bottom of the fifth after appearing to get spiked on the left hand on a hard slide by Simmons at third base. Simmons’ slide knocked Escobar’s glove completely off, and left the infielder writhing in pain. He was helped off the field by assistant trainer Steve Gober, with Danny Espinosa taking over at third base and Uggla entering to play second base.

KEY STAT: Nats starters, other than Max Scherzer, haven’t reached the seventh inning in their last seven games.

UP NEXT: The Nationals will need a spot start from either Tanner Roark or rookie A.J. Cole in place of the injured Scherzer when they face the Braves at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Julio Teheran starts for Atlanta.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM

    This has gotten to the point where a major shakeup is going to be in the cards.

    • crabcakesfootball - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:34 PM

      in Rizzo we BUST

    • Guapo - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:04 AM

      Well past that point. Just not the organization’s style. Rizzo and MW are overly passive and stunningly overconfident in their plans, despite recent failures.

      There is ZERO accountability on this team. Ian Desmond is the equivalent of the Coach’s kid in little league. No matter how poorly he plays, coach keeps putting him at SS. Why should any player on the Nats feel any pressure for their starting job? Or be motivated to get better?

      MW benched Harper last year for not touching first on a play where he’d already been punched out, but allows his SS to kick away 9 balls and 3/4 Wins and everything is A-OK.

      This team doesn’t lack talent. It lacks leadership. And it starts with the Manager. That’s his job.

  2. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:23 PM

    I know the hitters have stunk this year.

    However the last 3 games 8-6-8. Meaning we need 9-7-9.

  3. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    Fire Schu and hire Knight. Maybe nothing changes, but I am willing to find out.

  4. crabcakesfootball - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    but but but but its still early.

    fire someone. Anyone!!

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:27 PM

      I pick Schu, and hire Knight

      • crabcakesfootball - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:28 PM

        Firing a hitting coach is lame band-aid. Major flaws go deep here and Rizzo’s offseason moves or lack there of are showing.

        In Rizzo we Bust

      • Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        People here have been saying that Ray Knight should be hired as the hitting coach since about 2007. Get over it guys. It’s not like Rizzo doesn’t know who Ray Knight is. It’s never going to happen.

      • npb99 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:34 PM

        Agreed. Hiring a TV announcer is stupid. Those guys are paid to talk, not coach.

      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:40 PM

        i think is is one person…not people

  5. nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    If it was one thing like fielding that was wrong there would be hope. But nothing, nothing is working. All aspects of the team stink. The manager must go. As FP said they are not even competitive.

  6. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    Mets had no problem scoring off the Marlin closer, like we couldn’t Friday.

    • Nats Fan Zee - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      The Mets are playing good baseball … We are not

  7. crabcakesfootball - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    If the coming change is to fire the hitting coach, it really shows some hubris on Rizzos part.

    The Lerners need to put some pressure on Rizzo to do something.

    Williams is lost. Werth is Werthless once more. Cant blame this on Rendon being out.

    Freefall.

  8. Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    Six straight losses. Unreal. Good thing we have our ace going tomorrow night. Oh wait…

    • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      I bet we win.

      • Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Haha. Reverse lock. Could happen.

  9. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    96-66

    • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

      Not a chance. .500 is a dream. I’m thinking 7-155

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:32 PM

        Would you bet your mortgage they will end up below .500?

      • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:43 PM

        Yes I would

    • Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      You realize they have to play .626 baseball for the rest of the year to do that, right? That’s a 101 win. Get serious,

      • Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        101 win pace. There is no way the Nats turn it around that far. No way.

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:38 PM

        I realize that.

        But people believe they are never going to make .500 I am willing to bet they will win that

  10. ogremj - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    I’m freaking out!

    • NatsNut - Apr 28, 2015 at 5:31 AM

      +1

  11. nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    With injury and next year’s free agents already having checked out this season is gone. These guys are not focused. Start dumping people. Start with Jordan and Fister

  12. tmac777 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    Don’t worry. The Marlins have designated Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment. Rizzo will be all over that like he grabbed up Reed Johnson.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      Watch out Loboton, your job is in jeopardy

  13. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    Ray Knight says they are nit concentrating, like I have said. Knight speaks for me.

    • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:06 AM

      I like ve knight – wish he was manager

  14. texnat1 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:29 PM

    I wonder if they should explore trading a starting pitcher for a bat. Cardinals might be willing now that Wainwright is out. Not sure what they have to offer.

    But might be worth exploring such things at this point.

    • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      Like it like it.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:31 PM

      What hitter you want gone?

      • crabcakesfootball - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Anyone but Harper and Rendon.

      • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

        Werth

      • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:39 PM

        They don’t want our hitter, so we need 2 trades

      • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:47 PM

        he said PITCHER

    • dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:38 PM

      and the dodgers

    • janebeard - Apr 27, 2015 at 11:25 PM

      Yes please. Almost don’t care who it is.

  15. npb99 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    Firing someone would help just by disrupting whatever dreary atmosphere is possessing this club.

  16. nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    Wiz and Caps are doing special things. Let’s get behind these guys and leave the dead fish Nats to rot.

  17. nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    That would be like hiring a Marine to manage. Oh wait

  18. Theophilus T.S. - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:37 PM

    Anybody notice that Desmond aside the most egregious defenders have been the pitchers?

    Escobar’s defensive shortcomings are creeping up to the surface. The throw Zimmerman saved was a perfect screwball with about two feet of break.

  19. texnat1 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    On the plus side, if they really do crater, this is a good year to do it. What with multiple attractive pieces to move at the deadline.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    Who is going to run the closed door meeting.

  21. dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:41 PM

    oh jeez…matt williams is such a pinhead….he needs some thing to calm him down
    maybe run around the bases and pretend to be babe ruth

  22. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    MW word of the night uncharacteristic.

  23. dcwx61 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    aj cole starts

  24. Section 222 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:43 PM

    MW is pissed. I don’t expect him to tell us what he said to his team, but I doubt it was pretty.

    Cole will start tomorrow. I imagine Martin will go back down.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:52 PM

      Hopefully the team starts to okay. All facets need to play together

  25. senators69 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    Same old story…No pitch, no field, no hit…outta luck!
    I’d say two weeks after Rendon comes back.
    If don’t reverse then, bring up some of the kids to play. Get them some experience. See who can play.
    When does Trea Turner come to the Nats minor league system? I know he’s at least a year away…but would like to have him in the fold.

    • manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      Seems like somewhere near June 12

  26. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    MW ran the a close door meerpting. That is a poor sign, that no player took the bull by the horn and do what was needed.

    • underboss - Apr 28, 2015 at 4:39 AM

      that’s it right there… well said… I remember when Harper tried to fire the team up in 2013, he was immediately quashed by Werth and Zimmerman with statements like they don’t need rah-rah crap… and in the NLDS when Harper tie the game late w/ HR late in SF and came into the dugout fired up, Span can be seen rolling his eyes… the so-called leadership of this team is arrogant and lacking…

    • Guapo - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:11 AM

      Good point. That’s been a problem with this team for a long time. No player is really in a position to lead.

      Werth, Zimmerman, Span have the experience but are MEH guys. Desmond isn’t in a position to say anything to anyone at this point.

      Harper’s too young, but I wish he’d just step up and be the leader this team needs. He’s literally the only player who produced in the playoffs, and has been among the team’s best performers this year as well.

      • scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:02 AM

        What an embarrassment this team is. I’m ashamed. And I used to think this was the best dc franchise. Ugh. Go wiz n caps!

  27. tmac777 - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    We couldn’t score against Latos, Koehler, Haren and Stults. Now we face Teheran, Alex Wood, DeGrom and Harvey.

    Who does Matt Williams imitate when we lose 10 in a row?

    • nattygoats - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:46 PM

      An unemployed Marine

    • Doc - Apr 27, 2015 at 11:04 PM

      Manny Mendoza!

  28. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    MW said Cole will pitch tomorrow. Forgot to tell us that Knight was hired and Sxhu was released

  29. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:50 PM

    Phillies had no trouble beating the Cardinals

  30. Nats Fan Zee - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:54 PM

    The Phillies just won … This is what last place feels like, 8 games back with tow game left in April. My gosh!

    • Nats Fan Zee - Apr 27, 2015 at 10:55 PM

      Two games that is

  31. manassasnatsfan - Apr 27, 2015 at 11:03 PM

    Is it May yet?

  32. Doc - Apr 27, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    My same arguments as when Eckstein was canned.

    For about 100 different reasons it can never be the hitting coach.

    From what I’ve seen over his last few starts, Fister has lost the ability to pitch low, and his breaking stuff has no action. He’s throwing an up-beat version of batting practice.

  33. raleighnat - Apr 27, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    Yikes. Totally unexpected how badly we are stinking up the joint. We may not suck but we sure look like it.

  34. scmargenau - Apr 28, 2015 at 8:57 AM

    Umm – we do suck. Worst team in baseball. We have a awful manager and a bunch of older slightly above average players. Sad thing is I have no idea how to fix the nats outside of firing MW And hire a young driven fire in the belly manager.

    That and slap FP silly till he starts to get real.

    Meanwhile teds teams advance to 2nd round. All the Wizards attendeed the game. It was awesome!

    #dcrising

  35. AlexandriaNatFan - Apr 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM

    This is a slump. Yes, a big and prolonged one. But a slump nonetheless. Firing Schu won’t do anything substantive and he’s actually done pretty well, considering.

    Has anyone done any analysis of how many games we would have won this year were it not for preventable errors?

    Finally, here’s a pretty good read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2015/04/27/a-closer-look-at-the-nationals-slumping-offense/

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