Right-hander Craig Stammen was one of the most consistent relievers early on this season.
In April and May, Stammen allowed a combined eight earned runs in 27 2/3 innings.
In June, he allowed a total of seven earned runs in 15 innings.
Since June 27, however, Stammen has surrendered 10 earned runs in the past 10 games.
On Saturday, it was two earned runs following back-to-back doubles to the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the 10th inning of a 3-1 Los Angeles victory over Washington.
Manager Davey Johnson was clear on what happened to Stammen when Gonzalez got a hold of a curveball and Ramirez connected on a slider.
“It is all about making pitches,” Johnson said. “He made a good pitch to Gonzalez and he hit it down the line. He hung a pitch up in the zone to Ramirez and he smoked it.”
The statistics show the runs started on June 27, but Stammen said he had not felt like he was scuffling until Saturday night.
“I think I pitched well up until today,” Stammen said. “I made some really bad mistakes. I made a really bad pitch to Hanley, the second one was really bad. Probably one the worst I made all year.”
Johnson was confident that Stammen would be able to get through the 10th inning so that the Nationals could come up the game tied in the bottom of the frame with a chance to win it.
Instead, after three batters, Johnson called on left-hander Ian Krol.
“I was going to go with (Stammen),” Johnson said. “I had left-handers to back him up. The hit that really hurt was Gonzalez double down the line.” In using Stammen, Johnson was trying to “bring in the guy that matches up best.”
Stammen said he was getting a bit anxious waiting for his chance, knowing the offense was struggling to score runs.
“Sitting down there in the bullpen watching the game the whole time. you want to do anything you can to help win,” Stammen said. “When you kind of let the team down like that, it hurts a little bit more.”
But Stammen said the Nats are not going to let the two losses out of the blocks in the second half deter their focus to turn it around.
“We will bounce back,” he said. “We got a lot more games to play. We will see what we can do. We just got to put the blinders on, put up a brick wall and move past it.”