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Yankees 6, Nats 1: 7th inning spells doom for D.C.

Jun 9, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: A prime pitching matchup between Max Scherzer and Masahiro Tanaka. Bryce Harper making his first career appearance at Yankee Stadium. What wasn’t to like on Tuesday? Well, for the Nationals, the end result. And all-too-familiar result for this team over the last couple weeks.

Scherzer and Tanaka engaged in a compelling pitchers’ duel for most of the night, with Stephen Drew homering off Scherzer in the third and Harper answering with a solo homer (his 20th) off Tanaka in the fourth. But then the seventh inning arrived, and that’s when this game turned.

With his pitch count climbing first over 100 and then over 110, Scherzer got into a jam. He nearly got out of it, though, when Ian Desmond made a spectacular diving stop of Alex Rodriguez’s hard smash to the hole at shortstop. Desmond, though, tried to get the lead runner at third and wound up hitting Ramos Flores, the ball skipping into the dugout for an error. And then lefty Matt Thornton couldn’t stop the bleeding, letting three more runs score on 2-out hits by Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.

Suddenly trailing by 4 runs, the Nationals had no response for the Yankees’ dominant bullpen. They went silent the rest of the night and trudged away following a particularly difficult loss, their ninth in 11 games.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Ryan Zimmerman has a track record that suggests he’ll put up his usual numbers by season’s end. But to do that in 2015, he’s going to have to go on quite a run the rest of the way, because he has dug himself quite a hole. With an 0-for-4 showing Tuesday night, Zimmerman now finds himself in a 4-for-46 funk. His season batting average has dropped to .209. Beyond the numbers, the veteran slugger just doesn’t look like himself at the plate. Is his plantar fasciitis to blame? Perhaps. Whether it is or isn’t, Zimmerman’s unproductive bat right now is really hurting the Nats.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: As he did last week against the Blue Jays, Scherzer gave up only one early run and then clamped down, only to give up a bit hit late. Last time, it was a 3-run homer to Kevin Pillar. This time, it was a string of hits in the seventh, with his pitch count surpassing 110 and ultimately winding up at 116. Yes, Scherzer would’ve gotten out of it had Desmond been able to make the play on Rodriguez’s hard smash. But he would’ve been mighty fortunate to escape that jam, which included several well-struck balls off the tiring ace.

KEY STAT: Harper is only the fourth player in the last two decades with three 20-homer seasons before turning 23. The others: Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton and Alex Rodriguez.

UP NEXT: This brief series concludes with a 1:05 p.m. Wednesday matinee. It’s Gio Gonzalez against Nathan Eovaldi at Yankee Stadium.

  1. Allnats - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    I will just keep on hoping

  2. stoatva - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:02 PM

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    At least the Nats weren’t shutout and no-hit. That’s about all I have positive to say. Good night.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:07 PM

      Escobar and Harper are not the issues.

      All others need to look in the mirror and fix their problem.

  4. manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    We need to start executing as if we want to win.

    Two hitters are playing fine.

    Take away Escobar and Harper out we would be awful.

    The most discouraging part is I don’t get the feeling by what I see and hear, they don’t mind losing as much as we as fans do. I hope I am correct.

    My goodness Ray is blaming Rendon. No way. Easy out at first.

    • Section 222 - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:54 PM

      What Ray failed to mention is that Rendon was scampering back to the bag having initially moved to his left to try to stop the smashed ball. He didn’t have a chance to set up and give Desi the perfect lane. But the more important thing is that it was a bad decision to throw to third instead of first, as you say.

    • pchuck69 - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:02 AM

      I absolutely agree that they seem to not be as upset about losing a lot of the fans are. If they are upset, it never seems to result in better play.

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    Bryce with another HR….

    Max was good tonight, definitely gave them a chance to win…

    Thats all I got.

  6. David Proctor - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    The comparisons to 2013 (which are inevitably coming) end here: there is no team in the NL East as good as the Braves were that year. The Mets just got no hit. There is no team in this division that is going to win 96 games like the Braves did. Despite losing 9 of 11, we still only 1/2 a game out of first place.

    You don’t get bonus points for having the best record in the league. We tried that in 2012 and 2014 and it didn’t do us much good. As long as we win the division and make the playoffs, anything can happen. Perhaps being a 3 seed gives us better luck.

    As for the actual game, Desmond has to go to first. Not a tough play. A-Rod would have been out by plenty. Regardless of whether what MW should’ve done with Max, Max got the out. Desmond botched it.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:08 PM

      I am sure we will win the division.

      • scnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:16 PM

        Me too. Just a question as the playoffs arrive if we will be the good Nats or the bad Nats.

      • Just. Dave - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:01 PM

        If the lineup is hot, this team could win it all.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:29 PM

        The connector to the good Nats despite he personal not hit well is Werth.

        When in the line up the team is 16-8. When not 14-20.

        Coincidence? Maybe…..

  7. conatsguy - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:12 PM

    Sigh….. That’s baseball.. Good game becomes a laugher. Bryce Harper bunting lead off with 2 strikes says it all for the Nats offense. No one protecting him in front or behind.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:30 PM

      Never figured that out. Had to run an errand after the game did MW address that?

  8. NatsLady - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:15 PM

    I just made plane reservations to go out of town over the All-Star Break. That’s a LONG ways away, with Zim hurt, Span hurt… Stras and Fister, who knows, and Werth long-term hurt.

    I’m hoping Gio brings his “A” game tomorrow.

    • stoatva - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      I’m hoping for two or three runs!

      • ArVAFan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:27 PM

        Maybe Gio can hit another home run. Bryce shouldn’t have all the fun! Oh, wait, the pitcher doesn’t bat. Then maybe Dan Uggla? Or have Scherzer as the DH? Maybe staring into his eyes would confuse the opposing pitchers. Obviously, we should do something different . . . because what we’ve tried hasn’t been working.

  9. donkort - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Harper should have probably taken a walk instead of bunting.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:33 PM

      The pitch was a strike, only one ball. But he homered earlier against Tanaka so none of it made sense.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:26 PM

    Wow… congrats to Heston… what a night!

  11. dcsnakehead - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    Bullpen lost this one for us even if they didn’t give up the winning run. MW has to go with a tired Max rather then the bullpen. Probably the right decision but MW shouldn’t have to be in this position of riding our multimillion dollar investment because we cannot trust the BP.

    • scnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      Don’t kid yourself Desmond lost it both at the plate and in the field

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:34 PM

        Bp might be weak, but game was gift wrapped by Desi.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    Ray Knight puts the blame of Desmond’s error on Rendon. There’s a lot to be said about what Ray said, but I don’t agree with him. Regardless, I think any move your manager makes right now will reek of desperation. If Span is hurt and Taylor has to go to CF, and whether LF is manned by Moore, Robinson, or Espinosa, the fact is the outfield will not be very good. If both Span and Zimmerman have to sit, then Moore, or Robinson has to go to first, leaving the OF even weaker, lending more credence to the Espinosa move to the OF .But,add in the fact that Ian Desmond is not helping this whole situation. If you sit his butt, then your choices don’t include moving infielders to the outfield. Then you also have the pitching situation. The overall pitching situation is in shambles.Not even Bryce Harper’s shoulders are wide enough to carry this team right now. So, the saving grace? The silver lining? The good news? The Mets ain’t looking too good either.


    • senators69 - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:39 PM

      From my post on game site (but updated):
      Right now, infield for NL parks should be: Escobar-Espi-Rendon-Moore
      Need to bench Desi and Zim
      Maybe even try that tomorrow [especially if Span can play], but not sure who’s the DH

  13. senators69 - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    Lotta work to do before playoffs (including intervention/trades from Rizzo). Otherwise, the probability is more playoff disappointment.

    I’m starting to ruminate about the roster for the 2016 Nats! We can never know who, but we do know it will be fairly different from the current roster.

  14. scnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:46 PM

    And, as a masher, going this far into the season without a long ball is no good for Robinson. He is here to hit and needs to do just that.

  15. adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 10:59 PM

    Bad baseball team. Bad manager. 30 28 is not impressive at all. Bad team.

    Funny thing — can you guess what our record was in 2014 after 58 games?

    It was 30-28

    It”s a long season. A team is never as bad as it appears during a losing streak, nor as good as they seem during a winning streak. This, too, shall pass. (Particularly when some injured players return)

    • senators69 - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:08 PM

      My issue is less the regular season, with its typical ups and downs, but more considering the post-season. Even when Nats injured players return, I still think line-up changes (ie. less Desi and perhaps less RZim) and a trade will be key to increasing probability of post-season success.

      • adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:15 PM

        My issue is less the regular season, with its typical ups and downs, but more considering the post-season.

        A lot will happen/get settled between now and then. Will SS and/or Fister regain his form? Will last year’s NL leader in hits (Span) play healthy? Will last year’s Nats leader in WAR regain his form (Rendon)? Will RZ return to historical norms? Will Werth (top 10 in BA, top 3 in OBP last year) be able to contribute in Aug/Sept/Oct?

        That’s what makes baseball exciting. I don’t know the answers to the above. I think some of them are “yes”, and the more “yes’s” there are, the better we’ll be in the postseason.

      • scmargenau - Jun 10, 2015 at 9:33 AM

        Teams getting long in the tooth

  16. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:01 PM

    OK, that’s it! I’m going to root for the other DC MLB team.

    What? There isn’t one? Well … it’s still basketball season. I’ll root for the Wizards.

    What? Oh.

    Yeah, OK, but the Capit … What? Oh.

    How about the f… oh, nevermind.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:42 PM

      Virginia baseball is your best option.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:21 AM


  17. adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Why do we make mediocre pitchers seem like Cy Young?

    Oh, wait. That’s from the NY Mets thread. Heston, before his no-no tonight, had an ERA of 4.29 (and crummy WHIP of 1.354). And he got his fist ever MLB RBIs tonight. Two of them. Off of Noah Syndergaard.

    Oh — and Heston had three HBP’s. But struck out the side in the 9th — the last one against Ruben Tejada looking.

    • adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:30 PM

      I didn’t realize — he also had no walks. So, the HBP’s are all that stood between Hester and a perfect game!

      I wonder how many no-hitters also had no walks but had other baserunners . . . .

    • manassasnatsfan - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:43 PM

      Technically he didn’t strike out the side in the 9th

      • adcwonk - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:57 PM

        Well, the three outs he recorded were strike-outs.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:09 AM

        That is true. But he did hit the leadoff batter.

  18. dcwx61 - Jun 9, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    Recommendations to MW
    1. Keep Desmond at SS and bat him third ahead of Zimmerman
    2. If that doesn’t work, move Zimm to the number 2 slot
    3. Move Robinson up in the order, He’s earned it.

    If none of that works, continue to do the same or quit and make Rizzo the manager. It will work for the Marlins

    • dcwx61 - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:03 AM

      Also, continue to use Dan Uggla off the bench for bunting situations
      \MR…try to get Steven Souza back. He fits perfectly nto the swing and miss mentality of the lineup
      Always be the last to admit your pitcher is tired. Better to have proof so keep them in.
      Never, ever bench Desmond. This is not good for morale (esp his).
      Save your best relievers for situations that may never occur.
      Always believe your players when they say they are fine even though they must hobble to first.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jun 10, 2015 at 12:08 AM

    FInally through my twitter. Very little there from Mark, none from Ladsen or Kolko





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