In the Nationals 3-2 loss to the Dodgers on Friday night, the fourth inning bases loaded no-out opportunity in which the Nationals failed to score proved to be costly in the end.
Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper led off with back-to-back singles against Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco. Jayson Werth earned a walk. Suddenly the bases were loaded for one of the most consistent hitters in the Nationals lineup, shortstop Ian Desmond.
Desmond’s grounder right at third baseman Juan Uribe was thrown home to get Zimmerman out. Chad Tracy flew out to shallow left field, but not deep enough to score Harper. Nolasco then induced a weak grounder off the bat of Wilson Ramos, and the Dodgers escaped the rally attempt unscathed.
Incredibly, in a huge opportunity, the Nationals came up with nothing.
Manager Davey Johnson said not scoring runs in that situation was “real frustrating”.
“Desi has been swinging bat good,” Johnson said. “I think he got a little anxious and kind a check swing on a breaking ball. What we score on a wild pitch? We didn’t really drive in hardly any runs. It leaves a tough taste in your mouth.”
Harper agreed that the fourth inning opportunity was a good one that you can’t pass up.
“It sucks,” Harper said. “You try to get guys on and score some runs. Getting bases loaded with no outs is a huge situation. We couldn’t capitalize. But hopefully we can come back tomorrow and get something going and score early.”
What stands out is the three men left on base after that fourth inning accounted for exactly half of the total number of men (6) the Nationals left on for the entire game. That further illuminates the Nationals’ bigger problem of not getting enough opportunities against Nolasco, who had six earned runs in 12 previous innings this season against the Nationals.
It also was the eighth time in the past 12 Stephen Strasburg starts the Nationals have scored two or less runs. The fourth inning scoring chance was big, but it becomes a huge problem when it was one of only a handful of scoring opportunities that Nationals ended up with in the other eight innings of play.