Nats’ bats remain asleep in yet another loss

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Following the Nationals’ 5-1 loss to the Astros this afternoon, a defeat which made the Nationals 0-9-1 in their last 10 spring games, Jordan Zimmermann was asked about the team’s recent spring struggles.

“Saving the wins,” Zimmermann said.

The Nats can continue to joke about the losses for now, because these games mean nothing. But it’s tough to ignore the way that they’ve been dropping their ballgames lately.

After today’s one-run effort, the Nationals have now scored just three runs in their last 36 innings. They were no-hit today through 6 2/3 innings, and only got into the hit column when Jayson Werth’s 300-hop grounder somehow snuck through the infield and into center.

They finished today’s game with three hits, this after yesterday’s four-hit effort in a shutout loss to the Cardinals.

“I like what I’m seeing,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I don’t like seeing one run, no runs. I don’t want to see that. But we’re going to be better. I’m not concerned about it.

“I don’t worry about wins and losses down here.”

The Nats are tied with the Rangers and Mets for the fewest spring wins in the majors, and while Nats fans can take solace in the fact that Texas is the reigning AL Champion, it probably doesn’t help that the other five-win team is projected to have a dreadful season and finish in the NL East cellar.

I wrote earlier today that the Nats aren’t concerned about their lack of offense, and that hasn’t changed less than 12 hours later, even despite today’s issues at the plate. Johnson continues to structure his lineups around various bumps and bruises to key players, and is intent on giving the guys lower down on his roster enough at-bats to see what they can do.

“(I) haven’t worried about matchups or nothing,” Johnson said. “I like the way a lot of the guys in the lineup are coming along and swinging the bat. But I don’t want them peaking too early. This next week I think is where you’ll see what kind of ball club we’ve got.”

Meanwhile, if you happen to be wondering whether the lack of offense or the steady stream of spring losses would cause general manager Mike Rizzo to rethink the makeup of his roster, think again.

“We always like to win games, but the won-loss doesn’t impact any of our decisions, batting average, that type of thing,” Rizzo said. “I like seeing our pitchers getting stretched out and showing stuff through 85 pitches. That shows me that they’re progressing toward opening day.

“I like that guys are getting their at-bats, and we’ll see the last week or so when you get your team out there for an extended period of time how ready we are and how close we are to opening day.”

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