ST. LOUIS - Bryce Harper, who is 1-for-10 with six strikeouts over his first two career postseason games, was asked after today's game whether he feels like he's overanxious at the plate or trying to do a bit too much.
"You think I'm overanxious? You think so?" Harper asked the reporter, who responded in the affirmative. "Well, you should be our hitting coach."
Harper delivered a big double in the seventh inning to give the Nationals a chance to get back into the ballgame, but he was then thrown out trying to tag up and move to third on a lineout to left field. The play put the breaks on the rally, leaving the Nats with two outs and nobody on.
"I just thought that Kozie (Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma) had to make a perfect throw," Harper said of his read on the play. "It was just something that happened. It's a big inning and maybe I shouldn't have done it, but sometimes you've got to roll the dice."
Jayson Werth, he of the 46 games of postseason experience, had a brief chat with a couple of his less-experienced teammates after today's 12-4 loss to the Cardinals.
It wasn't anything major. Werth's message was simple: "We did our job."
The Nationals leave St. Louis having split the first two games of the best-of-five National League Division Series. They obviously had their eyes on taking Games 1 and 2, and returning home needing just one game to move on to the NLCS, but splitting here on the road was a more realistic goal and one they were proud of.
"I don't have any concerns with our team or anything like that," Werth said. "We're in good shape, we're where we need to be. We took care of business here. We had to win one game and we did that."
"Starting on the road against a tough team like that, if you can go 1-1, then it's basically go home and win a series," added Ryan Zimmerman. "Just like we've done all year. It would've been really nice to win today, but obviously things didn't turn out that way. We'll forget about this game and take the split as kind of a positive, go home and get ready for a tough series."
Today's 12-4 loss might stick with some fans through tomorrow's off-day. Given the way the game played out, with the Cardinals jumping on top and then piling on the runs throughout the late innings and making it a laugher, this one might sting a bit.
Those in the Nats' clubhouse didn't seem to feel that way.
"You can't dwell on any loss, whether it's regular season or postseason," Danny Espinosa said. "You just go about your business. You lost the game. You're not going to win every single game. This is the same as losing 1-0 in my eyes. You win the next ballgame."