Harper hitless as Nats’ offensive woes continue (updated)

The Nationals have managed just two hits and a walk and have struck out five times through five scoreless innings.

Here we go again.

Washington has not scored in its last 15 innings, and yet again enters the late frames needing the bats to awaken as Davey Johnson’s group trails the Diamondbacks 2-0 in the middle of the sixth.

Tonight, the Nats are making D’backs starter Trevor Cahill look like a Cy Young award winner, as they’ve put up little fight against the Arizona right-hander.

The only time the Nationals have gotten a runner into scoring position was when Jayson Werth walked and then moved to second on a balk. How’d the Nats respond? Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos all went down swinging to end the inning and leave Werth stranded at second.

Harper is 0-for-2 so far tonight, with the strikeout in his first at-bat, and a sharp groundout to short in his second plate appearance.

He’s received a number of standing ovations tonight (including after his strikeout), and could’ve easily reached on his fourth-inning grounder up the middle, which nearly took off one of Cahill’s legs but was snagged nicely by shortstop John McDonald, who was shaded up the middle. McDonald then gunned Harper at first by half a step.

Jordan Zimmermann has allowed two runs (one earned) through his six innings of work, allowing six hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

He’s pitched well, but finds himself in a familiar position - trailing.

Update: The Nats now trail 4-0 after seven full, as Arizona tacked on two more runs in the top of the seventh.

It should be just 3-0, however, as Harper’s amazing throw to the plate from about 300 feet away barely beat McDonald, who was trying to score on a sac fly. The Arizona shortstop was called safe by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, depriving Harper of his first major league outfield assist and giving the D’backs a four-run cushion.

It was an incredibly close play at the plate, and a remarkable throw by Harper.

Yet again, Harper got a standing ovation from the crowd after the play. That’s at least five hearty rounds of applause for the rookie so far tonight, despite the fact he’s now 0-for-3.

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