Skip to content

Cubs 2, Nats 1: Offense continues to struggle in series-opening loss

Jun 5, 2015, 12:14 AM EST

Jun 4, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Anthony Rendon (6) hits a single against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After a delay of nearly two hours due to heavy and persistent rain, the Nationals’ offense squandered a solid outing by Gio Gonzalez as Washington fell 2-1 to the Chicago Cubs, their sixth loss in seven games.

Gonzalez overcame a two-run first inning that could have been much worse to put in one of his best outings overall of the 2015 season. But the Nationals’ lineup failed to give him much of any help, despite the long-awaited return of franchise cornerstone Anthony Rendon.

Rendon himself was excellent considering the long layoff. He singled in his first at-bat after first going down 0-2 and then working a full count against Cubs starter Jake Arrieta. Rendon also doubled in his third at-bat to continue a Nats rally that gave them their only run of the evening.

The Nationals put together a one-out rally in the bottom of the ninth with a Michael Taylor single and a Clint Robinson walk. Their hopes were dashed quickly, though, as Robinson was picked off at first by Cubs catcher David Ross for the final out.

With the loss the Nationals fell to 29-25 on the season. They have lost three straight games and seven of their last nine overall.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals finally got something going in the bottom of the sixth after 18 straight innings without a run, a streak that dated back to Tuesday’s doubleheader. It was just one run and it was aided generously by Arrieta, who lost control after five dominant frames.

Span got them started with a one-out single and he went to third on a double by Rendon. Rendon lofted a line drive to right field that was misplayed by Junior Lake. Danny Espinosa was then hit by a pitch to load the bases.

That brought up Bryce Harper, who drove in a run on a groundout to Castro at shortstop. Harper appeared to beat the throw to first, but the Nationals had already used their replay challenge on the third out of the fourth inning.

Ryan Zimmerman would also get hit by an Arrieta pitch in the next at-bat, but Ian Desmond lined out to right field to end the inning. The Nationals got four baserunners – and arguably should have had five – but only one run was the final result.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Gonzalez recovered to piece together a strong outing of six frames of two-run ball after a rough first inning. Dexter Fowler led off with a single to right field before Kris Bryant walked and Anthony Rizzo singled to load the bases. Gonzalez then walked Lake to score a run, one of the four free passes Gio issued on the evening. Another run came home one batter later as Starlin Castro grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Gonzalez needed a whopping 32 pitches to get out of the first inning alone.

But Gio was able to settle in after that and became much more efficient as the night went on. His final line was: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 SO, WP on 103 pitches (66 strikes).

All in all, it was certainly enough to give the Nationals a chance to win but their offense didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

KEY STAT: The Nationals have averaged just 2.36 runs in their last 14 games.

UP NEXT: The Cubs and Nationals continue their series with a 7:05 p.m. start on Friday night. Tanner Roark (1-2, 2.59) will square off with right-hander Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 2.30).

  1. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    What the hell was Clint thinking?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:17 AM

      He wasn’t but 1st base coach has to be telling him to stay close. Can’t happen.

  2. Danny - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Woof.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:16 AM

    Leadoff man is slumping… hole at the 5 spot… yes I am VERY much concerned about this offense…

    Not even going to talk about this officiating crew or NY…

    Unacceptable way to end the game…

  4. David Proctor - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    It would be justifiable to cut Clint Robinson for something that bad. Rendon at the plate, tying run on second. Where is he even going? Is he Nook Logan? Unbelievable.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18 AM

      Who replaces him? There’s nobody except Den Dekker. That can’t happen.

      • David Proctor - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:20 AM

        I’m not saying he’ll get cut. The lack of alternatives will keep him on the roster. I’m just saying they’d be justified in doing so. Rodon was all over the place. Just…wow.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:21 AM

        I agree with you. He’s Chad Tracy in Tracy’s 2nd year. Just nobody to replace him with.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:24 AM

        I I thought we agreed to never say that man’s name on this blog again…

        Ugh, im getting upset… lol, why did you do this…

        We need to put CT in the same box that Souza is in…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:29 AM

        No, that was Matt St—s.

      • exposremains - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 AM

        Ok Matt Stairs then…

      • exposremains - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:31 AM

        I got it in a min before you..;)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM

        You did!

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:33 AM

        Aaaarrrgggghhhh…. he is ANOTHER ONE…

        NOW I NEED TO SHOWER AGAIN BECUZ THOSE 2 NAMES MAKES ME FEEL EXTRA DIRTY….

        good night Gracie….

    • janebeard - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18 PM

      AND it wasn’t just Clint’s fault. Tony Tabasco owns some of this, too. A fair amount, in my book.

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    On the bright side, BP was solid…. Jansen, the jury is still out…

    • adcwonk - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18 AM

      You mean this didn’t happen?

      rlndtln – Jun 4, 2015 at 10:42 PM

      2-0 will become 5-0 when the bullpen comes in or sooner.we stink.

  6. adcwonk - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    I’m still stunned. A 3-1 count to Rendon and . . . . phhhht

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:20 AM

      Clint a total brain fart. There is runner in front of him. I simply cannot possibly think, what was he thinking. That simply terrible base running.

      • adcwonk - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:22 AM

        Yep. I’m sure Clint would be the first to agree with you, too.

      • adcwonk - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:23 AM

        He was probably thinking: I’ve got to score if Rendon hits a double.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 5, 2015 at 11:42 AM

        He was thinking he’s the winning run, and he needs to score on a double.

        It’s not complicated.

        Like “WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T GET PICKED OFF!!” from Tony Tarasco at some point would not have been complicated.

  7. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    Any word on Escobar?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:19 AM

      Waiting for the post-game presser.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:29 AM

        Little strain.

  8. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    In case anyone know Rob Drakes hates Bryce Harper and loves calling him out apparently even when he obviously safe.

    Why was Gio not read until the 28th pitch.

    • adcwonk - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:26 AM

      Obvious guess: the 1 hr 50 m delay messed up his routine.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 AM

        And not the other guy’s?

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:31 AM

        The opposing guy had the same delay and came out throwing strikes and more… its a theme with Gio… lets not act like it isnt…

      • adcwonk - Jun 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM

        The opposing guy had the same delay and came out throwing strikes and more…

        I know. Look, I was guessing at the reason. And I think it’s quite possible the delay effected Gio and didn’t effect the other pitcher. I’m not making excuses — it’s still on Gio. I suspect that’s what happened.

        its a theme with Gio… lets not act like it isnt…

        I am aware that losing focus is a theme, and I’m not acting like it isn’t.

        OTOH, it is the case that Gio had allowed only 1 first inning run all season prior to this game.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:20 AM

    The 1st base coach has to take some blame on CRob. He has to be telling him to play it safe. You’re off with the crack of the bat with 2 outs. Can’t let that happen.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:22 AM

      We don’t know the coach didn’t say all that. Since they always do so I assume he did.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 5, 2015 at 11:44 AM

        We’d like to think they always do.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:20 AM

    Like I’m still baffled that’s how the game ended… just awful.

  11. tcostant - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:21 AM

    Nightmare, I stayed for that?

  12. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:21 AM

    1 day soon… im keeping my fingers crossed that the Nats will score more than 1 run when the bases are loaded…

  13. thecynicin408 - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:23 AM

    Some very questionable umpiring calls put the Nats in a tough spot, but they had multiple chances to take the game and couldn’t do it. Earlier in the year, I was calling for us to be more aggressive on the bases, but it sure looks we run ourselves out of innings too often. It would have been nice to win that one given the way Gio rebounded from a very touch start and how nicely Anthony did in his return.

    The rebound from this mini-slump starts tomorrow–I hope.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:25 AM

      Correct.

  14. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:24 AM

    What is the first inning about? 28 pitches before the first out, we were lucky only down 2-0.

    Why are we coming out of the bullpen not ready to pitch these two games?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 AM

      Walks hurt… and tonight especially a porous first inning did us in…

      But the Nats needed to score more than 1 run… they had ample opportunites..

  15. conatsguy - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:26 AM

    Ugh. Going to bed..Think I’ll burn these clothes I’m wearing.
    Tomorrow is another day- hope the Nats come with a chip on their shoulder.

  16. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:27 AM

    Actually the replay rule allows the umps to call their own replay. That is what MW needed to convince the umpit might need to change (per MLB Network)

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    As I thought, the 1st batter in the 9th was Lobaton and Rondon couldn’t throw a strike and Lobaton swung at the 5th pitch which was ball 4.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:30 AM

      Why?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:31 AM

        Great question. It was a 3-1 pitch. Take it. You need baserunners.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM

      Yeah it was low… didnt understand why he swung. Was glad to see him lay off 3-0…

  18. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Taylor with 3 hits on the game. A swinging bunt, a popup bunt, and a grounder through the middle. He did his job.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:34 AM

      Yes…. terribly disappointed in the 5 spot… seems the line came to a scrunch in halt when he came up to bat…

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:40 AM

        And nothing is changing. Concentrate.

    • AlexandriaNatFan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:37 AM

      And as someone else already mentioned, the bullpen was solid today. I’m going to focus on that and Rendon’s solid return.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    One thing that Ray says all the time and I don’t believes is 100% true.

    The players taking it harder than anyone.

    I can’t sleep for hours after game like this. I replay in my mind until about 4 am.

    Because I can’t do anything , but think about it, I stay up. They can do something about it so I doubt they feel as helpless as me.

    I know I am not the only one with this thought process.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:48 AM

    I have watched 1 inning of the Cards vs. Dodger game and the home ump missed 3 already.

    As technology has gotten better the umpires have not kept up.

    Checking twitter feeds no words from our umps so I am guessing no one is going to bother to keep them accountable, as usual.

    I would love to become the supervisor of umps. I am tired of their nonsense.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 12:54 AM

      Justin Turner called out one 6 inches inside.

      I can’t wait for auto correct home plate ump.

  21. manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 1:12 AM

    BTW in my opinion the best replay system by far in the NCAA football one. A guy in the booth buzzes to stop play and check the play.

    Worse part of it of course is the same as the other sport’s problem. If they can’t see clear evidence the play stands.

    That is what needs to change in all replays. I don’t need as clear of evidence. I just need reasonable evidence that most likely the call on the field is wrong.

    Example is was reasonable to believe that Espi was safe. Did the guy tag him on the thigh? Yes. Did it look late? Yes. Are we 100% sure it was made? No. We needed the sky angle. But it was reasonable.

    With Harper’s non hit. The official in the booth could clearly see he was safe.

    If the point of replay is to get all calls right, then do it.

    But right now it’s not doing it.

    Two plays 2 nights ago (sorry can’t remember the teams) the umps missed. Then NY missed

    • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2015 at 1:31 AM

      Was it close at first for Harper ? It looked like he beat it from where I sat. How did the ump miss it.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 8:56 AM

        Not close bear it by half step. Rarely do see ump miss it that bad. However it is Rob Drake another ump who often causes Nats trouble.

  22. dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2015 at 1:22 AM

    Blah….just back from the game. I don’t remember a dumber way to lose. I was behind the 3rd base dugout with the
    rest of the drunk Cubs fans (snuck down). I doubt I’ll ever be able to forget Clint getting back to first late…The most shocking play…The few Nats fans left and I were really feeling good but that play came out of nowhere. Rondon vs Rendon and they took the bat right out of his hands.
    Bring up DenDecker…I don’t care if he doesn’t get a hit…I feel like a Red Sox fan watching the ball go thru Buckner’s legs or a Cubs fan watch Bartman interfere with a four ball…Yeah, I’m sure that was more painful but this was pretty bad.
    Next time I sneak down, I’m gonna sit on the first base side.

    • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2015 at 1:29 AM

      And the shock of how the game ended was much worse than the shock of finding my car towed. That I can take but not Clint Robinson.

      • naterialguy - Jun 5, 2015 at 8:07 AM

        Ouch

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 5, 2015 at 8:59 AM

        Only thing dumber is Colton Wong pinch running in the World Series in 2013 and getting picked off to the end the game.

        Though on second though Clint had a runner in front so I have no clue where he was headed.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 5, 2015 at 11:48 AM

        With Tony Two-bags up, Robinson was determined to score the winning run on any double.

        Can’t score from the showers, dude.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

WLGB
NEW YORK9072
WASHINGTON83797.0
MIAMI719119.0
ATLANTA679523.0
PHILADELPHIA639927.0

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter