Skip to content

Diamondbacks 6, Nats 4: Out of 1st place after latest loss

Aug 3, 2015, 9:47 PM EST

USA Today Sports Images

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: On the heels of a weekend sweep in New York that left them in a virtual tie with the Mets atop the NL East, the Nationals hoped the opener of a homestand against the sub-.500 Diamondbacks and Rockies would serve as a much-needed elixir for this ailing ballclub. It didn’t. And they now find themselves out of first place and out of playoff position altogether as a result.

Doug Fister was roughed up for five runs, most of the damage coming via three homers spread among the top of the third and fourth innings. The veteran right-hander put his team in a considerable hole, and that proved significant by night’s end.

Shut out by rookie Zack Godley, the Nationals came to bat in the bottom of the ninth trailing 6-0 and showing no signs of life. Then they suddenly came to life, with Ryan Zimmerman homering off Daniel Hudson, and a flurry of base hits following, all of which trimmed the deficit to 6-4 with one out and Jayson Werth stepping to the plate. Sidewinder Brad Ziegler, though, managed to get Werth to ground out and Yunel Escobar to fly out, spoiling that last-ditch rally.

The ninth-inning drama aside, the Nationals still ended the night in an unfamiliar and unappealing position. With the Mets routing the Marlins in Miami, the Nats are now out of first place for the first time since June 19. They’re also 3 games out of the NL wild card race, with the Pirates, Cubs and Giants all ahead of them for the two available spots for the annual play-in game.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: Just because a lineup is nearly healthy, there’s no guarantee that lineup will be productive, as the Nationals have found out over the last week. The return of Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman from injuries haven’t had a positive effect on the Nats’ lineup as a whole. This group scored five runs over a span of 47 innings before the attempted ninth-inning rally. Rendon, Werth and Zimmerman obviously are still finding their strokes after prolonged DL stints. But that, combined with prolonged slumps by Wilson Ramos and Ian Desmond, hasn’t helped matters at all.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: Just when it looked like Fister was starting to right his ship, he fell right back into some bad habits. The right-hander cruised through his first two innings, with a heavy sinker that induced four groundball outs and a pair of strikeouts. But then he elevated a 3-1 pitch to Nick Ahmed, who launched it to left field for a solo homer. And then he served up back-to-back bombs to David Peralta and Welington Castillo in the fourth, marking the second time in as many nights a Nationals pitcher allowed three homers in a span of six or fewer batters. This has become a real problem for Fister, who has now given up 12 homers in 86 innings this season. He also has given up five or more runs five times in 15 starts, something he did only twice in 25 starts last year.

KEY STAT: After going 8-for-12 with the bases loaded last season, Ian Desmond is 2-for-9 this season.

UP NEXT: Max Scherzer and his 2.22 ERA take the mound Tuesday night to face Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin (2-3, 3.21). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:48 PM

    A spirited comeback and a little too late.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:55 PM

      How can that be? I thought they lacked heart? 😉

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:03 PM

        According to a few posters they lack something between their legs also. So close.

  2. stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    I’ll be there tomorrow night, so have no fear.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:57 PM

      same here…and with Scherzer and the FP 2nd day jet lag thing, all my money is on the Nats

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    Good to see the rally at the end… and for Ryan to hit the HR. Hopefully that will get things going.

    Good to see Drew and Pap pitch today after being held from the NY series…

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:00 PM

      I am speechless wrt bullpen handling.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:05 PM

        I’ve made my feelings on Matt Williams known and the rally didn’t change my mind.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:51 PM

    As soon as SS comes back, please 15 day Fister.

    • simalex - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:30 PM

      Here’s to hoping. He is abysmal.

  5. Allnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:53 PM

    Well… They were eight back in April, and they fought back. I have complete confidence they will do so again. I’m not giving up on this team, and I hope most of you won’t either

    • mwstatsguy - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:50 PM

      +1. There are still two months of baseball to be played. The returnees will find their timing. Denard will be back at leadoff. The two-time Silver Slugger isn’t going to be in a slump all season. Bryce will learn how to stay in games. And they’re only ONE game out. Still too early to be terribly pessimistic. They could be back in first tomorrow.

  6. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    Scoring four runs in the 9th and not even tying the game is an unfortunate statement.

  7. rmoore446 - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:55 PM

    The rally raised my spirits and hopes for the future. This has been a bad stretch but a winning streak beginning tomorrow would put wind back in our sails.

    • Allnats - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:56 PM

      +1

  8. dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    the Diamondbacks are now 2 games behind us in the wild card race. we’re 3 1/2 behind the cubbies

  9. thewerthwhisperer - Aug 3, 2015 at 9:59 PM

    Hmmmmm…..maybe it’s time to change my screen name :>)

  10. natshabs - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    I guess there won’t be much debate on trying to retain Fister. Such a difference from last year…

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      likely no fister zmnn, desmond or span.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:11 PM

        I hope Jordan and Denard are re-signed. I really do.

      • ccallahan15 - Aug 4, 2015 at 12:25 AM

        We don’t realy have them this year.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:14 PM

      Fister is keeping the ball up.

      McCatty is not helping him correct it. That is what a pitching coach does, sees yoor mistakes and corrects them. Your job listen to the coach and correct problem.

      Worse is the hitting as to many are not being coached.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:17 PM

        Sorry that was suppose to be somewhere else. Word press moves my stuff.

        Reporters refuse to ask the real questions we all want to know.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:22 PM

        Just because a player can’t execute something, doesn’t mean the fault is on the coach.

  11. stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:00 PM

    All these “reporters” seem to wanna be Matt’s buddy, more than anything else.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:15 PM

      Fister is keeping the ball up.

      McCatty is not helping him correct it. That is what a pitching coach does, sees yoor mistakes and corrects them. Your job listen to the coach and correct problem.

      Worse is the hitting as to many are not being coached.

    • faridrushdi - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:34 PM

      I am a reporter in Pocatello Idaho but I grew up in D.C. (I’m one of those, “Ah, Mike Epstein, Del Unser, Phil Ortega” guys).

      I came home in 2012 and actually talked the Nationals into a press pass. I was introduced to Charley Slowes in the clubhouse and he looked down at my credentials and said, “Good to meet you. Idaho State Journal????” I think they all knew I just wanted to see my heroes and didn’t say anything.

      I was in the press room for Davey Johnson’s pre-game presser. You want to talk about deference and friendship, hoo boy. Bill Ladson and Adam Kilgore and Mark Zuckerman were in the front row and I walked up and introduced myself. All of a sudden Davey walked into the room and everyone stood up like he was the King of Nationals Park. The questions were almost whispered, “Um, Davey talk about the blown save in Cincinnati last night” (That game just happened to be against the Padres when Harper hit his first homer. I wonder how much my press pass might be worth in 20 years with that date on it).

      I emailed Mark before I came out. We had emailed back and forth a few times and wanted to meet him. “If they don’t give you access to the press box have them call up and I’ll come down and say hello,” he wrote. We met upstairs and talked for 10 minutes. Mark is every bit the kind and decent man that he appears to be. Since then, every time I email him, he begins with, “Farid, good to hear from you!”

      Following the Nationals would not have been near as fun without Mark’s coverage. Great guy.

  12. kiawah51 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:01 PM

    man, you guys find a way to make lemonade out of lemons. Also sounds like MW press conference was taken from this blog.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:04 PM

      not true….but gold diggers of 1935 is on TCM now, so there’s that

      btw, i think it was the last gold diggers ever made ;(

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:23 PM

      man, you guys find a way to make lemonade out of lemons

      Live longer, and with lower blood pressure, that way.

      • kiawah51 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        im 94

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:31 PM

        that’s awesome!

        Still — to each his own — but I think life is more pleasant with lemonade than with lemon. I know I’ll live longer that way.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:02 PM

    Did anyone ask why he decided to have Fister bunt when the Nats were down 5-0?

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      That’s no way to ingratiate yourself with management!

  14. stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    “We had to get the extra inning out of Fister because the bullpen is exhausted. Also had to pitch Drew and Paps because they haven’t had any work.”

    Got it.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:07 PM

      can’t he just say he should have used them over the weekend. Maybe keith law would have more respect for him then.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:18 PM

        Friday and Saturday is when they needed to pitch. Thus he allowed the rust to happen.

    • simalex - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:36 PM

      I really wanted to give MW the benefit of the doubt, but i am convinced that MW simply has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to handling pitchers.

  15. kiawah51 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:13 PM

    williams is in over his head with marginal offensive talent. Not a recipe for success

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:20 PM

      The offense has talent, but no direction by hitting coach or manager. There is no discernable game plan.

      They don’t swing at enough fastballs, swing at way to many sliders. Good coaching could fix that.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:27 PM

        They don’t swing at enough fastballs, swing at way to many sliders. Good coaching could fix that.

        You’re dreaming. If it were that easy, pitchers would be out of business.

        You think batters, and coaches, don’t know that Storen’s out pitch is a slider? And yet Storen still gets tons of K’s on it? (over 11 per 9 IP!) Do all those batters have bad coaches?

      • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:28 PM

        You know, by the time a big league hitter has worked his way through the minor leagues and onto a big league roster, I doubt if he’s all that interested in the opinion of some guy who, more often than not, couldn’t crack an MLB lineup. Might listen, might not. Probably not.

      • micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:29 PM

        Wonk

        why are Natsesi and others winging at first pitch?

        that is coaching period

      • micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:31 PM

        meant to post Desi and others

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:46 PM

        Why is Desi swinging at the first pitch?

        Well, on at bats that end on the first pitch, Desi is hitting .343

    • micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:24 PM

      AGREED!!

      where is the situational hitting? why doameesnt MW emphasize working the count, getting the pitch counts up verse opposing pitchers?

      MW has no feel of the game

      answer:MW is a stooge homer simposon look a like

      DOH!!!

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:53 PM

        where is the situational hitting? why doameesnt MW emphasize working the count, getting the pitch counts up verse opposing pitchers?

        Nats guys work the count almost exactly as the rest of the league does (Nats: 3.74 pitches per at bat; NL: 3.77 pitches/AB — Diamondbacks are at 3.69).

  16. micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:24 PM

    iMW must go!!!

  17. micksback1 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    I like Mike Rizzo a lot, but Mike, you have an arrogant stooge as your manager and he will destroy this team

  18. simalex - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:35 PM

    It is not complicated: Doug Fister cannot be allowed to start another game for this club if we want to piece anything together. He has been terrible for all but maybe 3 starts this year. Whatever issue he is having, it is persistent and killing us. If we can bench Desmond, which we pretty much did, we can also sit Fister.

    Max and Joe Ross can’t be the only pitchers doing their jobs; JZ has been ok but not all that close to what he was last year — speaking of other Nationals not helping themselves in the FA market — at any rate, I’m thrilled we spent that money on Max.

    I am hoping that the return of Strasburg helps this, too, because he was fantastic in his 2 starts before his oblique issue.

  19. nats106 - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    For those of you watching the game at home, I have a question regarding the Fister bunt with 2 strikes. Did MAT get a late break on the bunt, or was he not paying attention, or did Castillo just make an unbelievable play to nearly get him out at 2nd?

    I’m mystified how the play could be that close since Fister is a left handed hitter and the ball was hit to the first base side. Any comments? Just got back and had a jolly good time at the game.

  20. stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    Detwiler looking atrocious for the Barves.

    • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 10:53 PM

      On the hook for the loss should the Barves not come back.

      • stoatva - Aug 3, 2015 at 11:07 PM

        But come back they do. Walk off 2 run homer off Vogelsong following Crawford error.

        Baseball is diabolical.

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