I’ll go out on a limb here and describe tonight’s top of the fifth inning at Nationals Park as the ugliest half inning in memory since the ballpark opened three years ago.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it - this one’s squarely on the players. From Livan Hernandez’s pitch location to his tardiness in covering first after Adam Dunn gloved Brian Bogusevic’s infield single - an error that could have gone either way - to Willie Harris’s fielding error in left to Roger Bernadina’s misplay in center; 7 runs across the plate, only 3 earned, but a wretched display for the fans in the stands.
Then in the top of the sixth, Espinosa and Zimmerman make two highlight reel plays. Go figure.
The nearly-5.00 ERA that Bud Norris entered the game with was a smokescreen - he’s pitched much better than that recently, and the Astros as a team have played around .600 baseball since the break. They’re no pushover.
Still, tonight’s effort thus far is no way to begin the season’s final homestand.