Stop pitching to Andrew McCutchen (Nats reach new low with 6-5 loss)

Seriously. Just stop.

Andrew McCutchen has come to the plate twice tonight in three innings of play. He’s twice hit a two-run homer off Dan Haren.

This is McCutchen’s 27th career game against the Nationals. In those 27 games, McCutchen is hitting .444 with 13 homers, 26 RBIs and a 1.448 OPS.

Yes, those numbers are accurate. Yes, those numbers are insanely high.

McCutchen has now homered every 7.62 at-bats against the Nats in his career.

Yes, that number is insanely low.

You get the idea by now. McCutchen dominates the Nats, and they keep serving up meatballs to the guy. The first McCutchen homer tonight came on an elevated 90 mph fastball from Haren. The second came on an 86 mph cutter that sat middle-middle.

The Pirates have a 4-0 lead as a result of McCutchen’s theatrics.

Haren has now allowed 21 home runs this season, most in the National League. And that’s with the veteran righty having spent 15 days on the DL.

Meanwhile, in their first game without Rick Eckstein as their hitting coach, the Nats have sent the minimum to the plate in the first three innings and have yet to get the ball out of the infield.

Can’t blame Eckstein tonight, folks.

Update: The Nationals actually retired McCutchen. And they notched three hits and scored a run in the fifth inning.

Baby steps, I guess.

Haren struck out McCutchen with a runner in scoring position in the fifth, but that ended up being his final inning of work. He leaves having allowed five earned runs in his five frames, allowing five hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch and striking out six.

His ERA jumps back up to 5.79.

Adam LaRoche broke up Charlie Morton’s no-hitter leading off the fifth by launching his 14th homer of the season, making it a 5-1 game.

Denard Span and Wilson Ramos followed with singles, but pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina struck out swinging to end the inning and leave two runners stranded.

Update II: Jayson Werth now has three home runs in his last seven plate appearances, and this most recent one has gotten the Nats back in tonight’s game.

Werth stroked an 0-1 Morton changeup into the red seats in left-center for his 13th homer of the season, this one a two-run shot that has cut the Pirates’ lead to 5-3 here in the seventh.

The Nats haven’t gotten much off Morton tonight, but it’s kind of fitting that Werth has delivered the blow that’s brought them within striking distance. He homered twice off Clayton Kershaw last night, has gone yard tonight and now has upped his average to .297 on the season.

Still, the Nats are running out of outs. They’ll need to mount a late comeback against a Pirates bullpen that has the second-best ERA in the majors at 2.74.

Update III: When you’re trying to mount a comeback in the late innings, you can’t have your bullpen giving up key insurance runs, especially when that run comes in without the opposing team needing to put the bat on the ball.

Drew Storen’s wild pitch in the eighth inning allowed Pedro Alvarez to scamper home with the Pirates’ sixth run of the game, a run that increased their lead to three. Wilson Ramos made a nice feed to Storen at the plate but Storen couldn’t make the grab and hold onto the ball through his attempted tag of Alvarez, and the Pirates’ third baseman was called safe.

Meanwhile, Ryan Zimmerman grounded into his second double play of the night in the bottom of the eighth. As a team the Nats have grounded into three double plays and have put just one runner in scoring position.

Update IV: Werth did all he could, crushing a two-run homer in the ninth inning that made it a one-run game and brought some life into Nats Park.

Denard Span then doubled into the right field corner with one out, but Ramos and pinch-hitter Steve Lombardozzi failed to get Span in, and the Nats dropped another one, 6-5, their ninth loss in their last 11 games.

This is the first time all season the Nats have been three games below .500. Their 48-51 record represents the new low-point.

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