What can you really say after being on the receiving end of a 10-1 spanking at the hands of the Mets, who are 10 games under .500 after tonight’s game?
“We’ll just turn the page on this one,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “We swung the bats better, but we didn’t hit with runners in scoring position.”
No, they didn’t. The Nats put up 10 hits tonight, but went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.
In the Nats’ last 15 games, they’ve scored three or fewer runs 11 times. Over their last six games, they’ve failed to top the three-run mark once.
“We definitely haven’t got going the way we’ve been hoping to get going,” Denard Span said. “There’s really no explanation for it. We just haven’t played good. I’m going to be honest. Just all across the board. We let a lot of opportunities go by tonight. Second and third, one out, we’ve got to get those runs in and we didn’t do it. After that, they just went off.”
They also weren’t helped out by their pitching. Dan Haren allowed five runs in just four innings of work, and four Nats relievers combined to surrender five more runs over the final five frames.
“He was struggling hitting his spots, it looked like to me,” Johnson said of Haren. “Looked like his pitches were going flat, and when he throws that many pitches in that few of innings, you know he’s having trouble locating the ball.”
The Nats picked up a big win last night, then failed to carry that momentum over and get the ball rolling. As a result, they fall back below .500 and now sit in third place in the National League East behind the Braves and Phillies.
“I’m frustrated,” Span said. “I can’t speak for everybody else. We’re better than this. Only thing to do, really, is just to keep working and keep grinding. It’s a long season. That’s all I know.”
Because Haren went just four innings tonight, the Nats needed to dip deep into their bullpen, meaning they’ll have a tired bunch out there tomorrow for the series finale against the Mets. They’ll need to get a big, innings-eating performance from Gio Gonzalez, especially with Nathan Karns set to start on Friday against the Twins.
Johnson said the Nats won’t be using the open roster spot, which was created by putting Stephen Strasburg on the DL today, to add another reliever prior to tomorrow’s game, but that a couple guys who pitched today might not be available tomorrow night.
“We get a good game out of Gio and we should be fine,” Johnson said.
They’ll need Gonzalez not only to go deep into the game, but also to pitch effectively. The way the Nats are going right now, the last thing they need is to lose a series at home to the Mets, who were just swept convincingly by the league-worst Marlins over the weekend.