On the heels of one of their best West Coast trips ever, the Nationals laid an egg over the last week at home.
With an uninspired 13-2 loss to the Braves this afternoon, the Nats ended their homestand on a sour note. They finished 2-5 against Baltimore, Texas and Atlanta, leaving their 7-2 trip through California a distant memory.
Today’s series finale might have been the low point of the week. It didn’t involve a late bullpen meltdown like some previous losses, but it was a fairly lifeless performance from a team that got down early, played sloppy, pitched poorly and did little at the plate against a hittable opponent.
Tanner Roark took the brunt of a punishment on the mound, giving up seven runs in five laborious innings to put his team in a hole. Brian Goodwin’s two-run homer off Julio Teheran in the bottom of the second brought life to a crowd of 36,227, but that represented the entirety of the home team’s offensive output against the Braves right-hander.
And when Trevor Gott and Blake Treinen combined to give up six runs in a top of the seventh that never seemed to want to come to an end, the Nationals’ fate was sealed. The only remaining question: Would Dusty Baker put a position player on the mound to avoid burning up any other pitchers in advance of this weekend’s four-game series in New York?
With a chance to win the series following Tuesday night’s 10-5 victory, Roark didn’t set a particularly positive tone to the afternoon. The right-hander gave up three runs after facing only five batters, with Brandon Phillips, Nick Markakis and Matt Adams all delivering RBI hits.
Goodwin’s homer - his fourth in 12 days - trimmed the deficit to 3-2, but Roark promptly gave both of those runs and another one back in the top of the third, with some aid. Jose Lobaton’s surprise and errant pickoff throw to first base allowed Markakis to score before Kurt Suzuki launched a two-run homer deep to left to put the Braves ahead 6-2.
Roark allowed one more run in the fifth before getting pulled, his ERA having climbed from 3.87 at day’s start to 4.39 at day’s end.
Gott, summoned from Triple-A Syracuse earlier this week to provide the Nationals with an extra bullpen arm, wound up allowing five runs and throwing 52 pitches in 1 2/3 innings, with Treinen allowing two inherited runners to score in addition to one of his own.