Nationals’ offense costs Zimmermann another win

The Nationals have played 15 one-run games in 51 contests this season, and they’ve won just five of them. Had they won three more of those, as left fielder Laynce Nix pointed out after today’s 2-1 loss to the Padres, they’d be 25-26 for the season.

Instead, they’re 22-29, three games from being the worst team in the National League again, and they continue to have their offense to blame.

On Saturday, they created few chances and squandered the ones they did get against Tim Stauffer, the fourth pick in the 2003 draft who’s never made more than 14 starts in a season.

“Not to disrespect him or anything like that, or those guys over there, but I feel like we probably should have scored some runs today,” right fielder Jayson Werth said. “I don’t know what it is when Jordan pitches. I feel like we just got on our heels a little bit.”

That would be right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, whose six-inning, two-run start on Saturday was his seventh quality start of the season. In those starts, he’s 1-4.

Jordan Zimmermann talks about his outing as the Nationals fall to the Padres 2-1

“I just try to go out there as long as possible and give the team a chance to win,” Zimmermann said. “The bats just weren’t there. I’ve got to move on and be ready to pitch in another five days.”

It would appear the Nationals have a legitimate fixture in their rotation in the 24-year-old. It would also appear they have something bigger than a temporary problem with their offense.

They’re missing Ryan Zimmerman, yes, and they haven’t had first baseman Adam LaRoche at full strength all season. But they’ve also got a .227 average as a team, with the five opening day starters still in their lineup all hitting below .250. And with nearly one-third of the season gone, it would seem to be more than a temporary funk.

“We haven’t been very fortunate as far as injuries go, but still, that’s no excuse for what we’re doing as a ballclub,” said Werth, who’s hitting .245 and missed a catch when he got turned around on Blake Tekotte’s run-scoring triple. “You don’t need to look very far. I definitely haven’t been getting the job done myself. But we can turn it around.”