Quite a banner day for the road team.
Fortunately for the Nats, neither Harper nor Ohlendorf appear to have any type of serious ailment, and the Nationals believe both will be fine.
Harper, who after the game had some critical things to say about the mood around the team right now, started grimacing and bent over in pain after swinging and missing at a Phil Coke offspeed pitch in the seventh inning, and then left the game an inning later.
“A little spasm in his hip area,” manager Davey Johnson called it. “Probably from being in the field too much. But I think he’s going to be alright.”
Harper backed that up, saying that he feels “fine” and hopes to be able to play Friday against Milwaukee.
As for Ohlendorf, he left today’s game after just 11 pitches. The veteran right-hander, who threw a season-high 114 pitches on Friday in a win over the Mets, had his fastball top out at 86 mph, this after he hit 97 mph on the radar gun last week.
“It was weird,” Johnson said. “His fastball was 84, and he said he was stiff. I said, well we can’t take a chance on that. He wanted to pitch, but no possibility. ... He was a little sore coming out of his last start and didn’t recover. So he should be alright. The doctor examined him. It doesn’t look like there’s any damage or anything.”
Ohlendorf said that he feels fine physically, just didn’t have what it took today to get his velocity up where it usually is. If he had not pitched today, Ohlendorf said he would have been full strength on Friday, and doesn’t believe this is anything to be concerned about.
On to the game (even though many of you might prefer I just ignore it), Gio Gonzalez had his worst start as a National today, allowing 10 earned runs on 11 hits over just 3 1/3 innings. He surrendered five runs in the second and five runs in the fourth, and five of the hits he allowed were for extra bases.
“He didn’t have a feel for his curveball,” Johnson said. “Anytime a good-hitting ballclub, or any club, if you’re (behind in the count) 2-0, you’re going to get hit. And that’s what he was. He couldn’t get ahead. I said, ‘Gio, I don’t care what you throw. Anything you can throw for a strike, get ahead.’ That was his problem.
“I don’t think he had a feel for the curveball. And in this ballpark against these guys, they’ll kill you. So I got him out of there quick.”
The Nats had a chance to post a crooked number against Justin Verlander in the first, loading the bases with none out, but they pushed just one run across and didn’t score again the rest of the afternoon.
“We got four little singles but couldn’t get any big blow to get something going,” Johnson said. “But tomorrow’s another day. When the pitching’s bad, it looks ugly.”
The pitching was certainly bad today, especially from Gonzalez, who had been tremendous the last few months.
The Nats didn’t go out and make any moves before the trade deadline today, just as Johnson had predicted. That’s fine by the Nats’ skipper, even though his team dropped back to four games under .500 with today’s loss.
“Yeah, I like my ballclub,” Johnson said. “We’ve got the talent. We just have to start expressing it.”