Another frustrating loss, another postgame press conference where Davey Johnson tries to sum up what's going wrong with his team.
The Nationals fell to the Twins 4-3 in 11 innings today, dropping Johnson's team two games under .500 for the first time this season. The Nats had 10 hits but went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and didn't draw a single walk.
Over their last seven games, the Nats have drawn a total of five walks. The offensive woes and overall effort might end up leading Johnson to address his team as a whole tomorrow.
"Very frustrating. I'm getting my dander up," Johnson said. "We're better than this. We just haven't done the things, and it seems when we play like this, we just play a little lackadaisical. But I'll have a little chat with them tomorrow. But this was tough.
"We need to pick it up. It's getting late."
As has been the case a number of times this season, the Nats were effectively shut down by a starter with mediocre numbers. Kevin Correia is a fine major league pitcher, but he held the Nats in check, allowing just three runs over 6 1/3 innings and striking out seven, despite entering the game with just 3.7 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
"That makes it even harder, that you get a guy that you can get to and we don't," Adam LaRoche said. "We're letting him go seven innings strong. And you can't win games doing that. So we've got to find a way."
"We're better than we're showing," Johnson said. "It's frustrating to me, and I know it's frustrating to those guys in the other room. ... We have good hitters in the lineup, we're just not getting it done, is all."
LaRoche committed his fifth error of the season in the third inning today, letting a Justin Morneau grounder get under his glove. The ball rolled into the corner, allowing Josh Willingham to score from first. Morneau came around to score later in the inning.
"I didn't make the play," LaRoche said. "I gave them that one. Cost us the game, so that one's on me. That's terrible."
Five Nats relievers combined to keep the Twins at three runs from the seventh through 10th innings, putting up four straight zeros. Craig Stammen was less effective.
Stammen entered in the top of the 11th and walked Chris Herrmann leading off the frame. After a sac bunt and an intentional walk to Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit ripped a single to center, bringing in Herrmann with the game-winning run. Stammen now has four walks (one intentional) in his last two innings.
"Unfortunately, the last couple times out, he's been doing that," Johnson said. "He's been real wild. But he's been pretty good all year long. It's just, you can't do that. Can't give free passes."
Having used seven relievers today, the Nats will utilize a fairly new rule that allows teams to add a 26th player to the roster for the day of a doubleheader. It's possible they call up left-hander Tyler Robertson, who was claimed off waivers from the Twins yesterday. Robertson was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after being claimed by the Nats.
Tyler Clippard had his left hand/wrist bandaged after the game, the result of a comebacker that got him on the meaty part of the hand. Clippard said that X-rays on the hand came back negative and he's just got a bruise.
Denard Span also told reporters that he fouled a ball off his right foot during a 10th-inning at-bat, and while X-rays came back negative, he might not be able to play tomorrow because of a bruise to the foot.