The offensive issues continue (Nats fall to Cardinals 2-0)

Ross Detwiler has turned in four really strong starts, but he only has one win to show for it.

The Nationals left-hander allowed two runs over six innings tonight against a tough Cardinals lineup, but he leaves on the hook for the loss with the Nats trailing 2-0 heading to the seventh.

The Nats offense was struggling coming into tonight, and they’ve had major issues with Adam Wainwright this evening. The Cardinals righty allowed just one hit through five innings and then worked his way out of a jam in the sixth when the Nats put runners at the corners with one out.

Jayson Werth came up with a chance to get things going, but he popped up to second on the first pitch he saw. Bryce Harper then walked to load the bases (the first walk Wainwright has allowed all season) but Adam LaRoche struck out swinging on a pitch at his eyes to end the threat.

LaRoche flipped his bat to the ground and walked away with a frustrated look stamped on his face. He’s now 0-for-his-last-9 with six strikeouts and is batting .175 on the season.

Wainwright has needed just 82 pitches to get through six innings tonight, and that’s even with the Nats making him work in the sixth. He cut his way through the Nats lineup with ease for much of the night, retiring 13 straight at one point prior to Kurt Suzuki’s leadoff single in the sixth.

The Nats looked especially bad in the fifth, when Ian Desmond, Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa were retired on four total pitches.

Desmond grounded out to first on the second pitch he saw, Rendon bounced out to short on the first pitch and Espinosa capped off a solid frame by rolling one to second on the first offering from Wainwright.

I’m no expert, but when a pitcher is absolutely cruising and has thrown just 55 pitches through four innings, it might be wise to make him work a bit. Take a couple pitches, work deep into the count if you can.

There’s no doubt this Nats team has talent. Right now they’re just flat out not performing.

Update: Henry Rodriguez worked a perfect seventh, but Wainwright needed just five pitches to retire the Nats in the bottom half of the inning.

Rendon and Espinosa hit the ball hard, but got nothing out of it. The Nats still trail 2-0 and at 87 pitches through seven, Wainwright probably isn’t done yet.

Update: Rodriguez was allowed to work the eighth inning, as well, and he delivered another scoreless frame. Yet again, however, Wainwright held the Nats off the board in the bottom half, and it remains a 2-0 Cardinals lead as we go to the ninth.

The Nats will send Harper, LaRoche and Desmond to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Wainwright has thrown 101 pitches so far. We’ll see if he’s sent out to attempt the complete game.

For now, Tyler Clippard will toe the rubber to work the Cardinals’ half of the ninth.

Update II: That’s it. The Nats lose to the Cardinals 2-0, marking the fourth time in their last five games that the Nationals have scored two or fewer runs. They’ve been shut out in two of their last three.

They managed just five hits for the second straight ballgame. They’ve lost eight of their last 11. They’re now 10-10 - yes, .500, on the season.

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