More RISP problems and another deficit (Nats lose 3-2)

In six of the seven innings played so far tonight, the Nationals have put the leadoff man on base.

In those six innings, they’ve gone 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The Nats have struggled again in big spots tonight, and we saw an example of that when they had a golden chance to take the lead in the seventh after Scott Hairston doubled to left leading off the inning.

Jayson Werth, pinch-hitting for Stephen Strasburg, struck out. Bryce Harper lined out to right. Ian Desmond’s tapper to the catcher ended the inning, leaving Hairston stranded.

Inning over.

As if that didn’t frustrate Davey Johnson enough, Tyler Clippard then left a 79 mph changeup to Justin Upton right down the middle, and Upton clobbered it out to left for his 20th homer of the season. That homer led off the eighth, and the Atlanta bullpen will now have a shot to protect a late lead.

The Nats have given themselves plenty of chances offensively tonight, they just continue to fail to cash in.

And unfortunately for Strasburg, who allowed just two runs and struck out nine over seven very strong innings, he won’t be recording a win tonight.

Update: The Nats again had a golden chance to put up a big run, this time in the bottom of the ninth trailing by a run.

Anthony Rendon singled leading off the ninth, moved to second on a sac bunt and then scooted to third on a wild pitch. He stood 90 feet away with one out, but the Nats couldn’t bring him in.

Hairston popped up foul behind the plate on a 2-0 count and Chad Tracy flied out to left on the first pitch he saw, and the Nats were stuck with a 3-2 loss.

They fall to 13 1/2 games back in the division with the loss and have to watch Atlanta celebrate its 11th straight win.

The Nats went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position tonight and again scored two runs or less. That’s the 51st time this season that’s happened.

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