The overwhelming feeling in the Nationals clubhouse after tonight’s game was simple: We let one slip away.
Rockies rookie Drew Pomeranz had a good fastball tonight. It sat in the low-to-mid 90s and had some cut to it at times, and the lefty was able to both work the ball in on hitters and get some tailing action away.
But when 91 percent of a guy’s pitches are fastballs, you’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to see the ball and drive it. The Nationals just couldn’t do that this evening.
“I think a lot of guys are going to go home dreaming about fastballs tonight,” Ian Desmond said.
“He doesn’t throw many offspeed pitches, at all,” said Adam LaRoche. “And the ones he did were balls. Just an off night, all the way around. I think everybody in here got pitches to hit, and we did nothing with it.”
Pomeranz threw three sliders in the first inning, all of which were out of the zone. Over his final 5 1/3 innings of work, he threw just three sliders and one curveball. It was all fastballs, pretty much all the time.
“Nothing we haven’t seen before,” LaRoche said.
The 23-year-old finished having allowed just one hit, and a Nationals offense, which had averaged 8.3 runs and 13.2 hits over its previous nine games, was left stuck in neutral.
“He was going after us and just beat us,” Desmond said.
Unlike his last start, Stephen Strasburg said he wasn’t affected by the heat tonight. It was 96 degrees at first pitch, but because it was a night game and shade covered the field, the conditions weren’t all that tough. In addition, Strasburg said he made a point to drink a lot of fluids and also received an IV before the game as a precaution.
Strasburg’s nemesis today wasn’t the heat, but Tyler Colvin. The left-handed-hitting first baseman hit two home runs off Strasburg, spoiling what was otherwise a very strong outing from the righty.
“All I can really think of is two pitches,” Strasburg said. “I don’t think they were the right pitches to throw in that situation and I didn’t have the right mindset.”
Strasburg was especially frustrated with the first home run he allowed to Colvin. It came on an 0-2 fastball which was practically right down the middle.
“Dumb pitch,” Strasburg said. “I spiked a changeup and he swung at it, and you’ve got a guy with some power up there, that’s the last thing you want to do is try and throw an elevated fastball. I missed down in the zone a little bit and right into his swing plane. Just got to learn from it.”
And the second Colvin homer, the two-run shot in the fourth?
“That was a changeup,” Strasburg said. “With the free base open, I didn’t want to walk him, and I just caught too much of the plate. The way the ball’s been flying out here, he got it just well enough to get it over the wall.”