It was a pretty candid clubhouse tonight after the Nationals' 8-2 loss to the Astros, played before the smallest crowd to witness a Nationals game in Washington. The team's sixth straight defeat at home mostly boiled down to the seven-run fifth inning, where the Astros were helped along by three errors. But if there was a chance to deflect the notion of a mental breakdown laying behind some of the physical gaffes, several Nationals players didn't take it.
Outfielder Willie Harris, who dropped a fly ball in the fifth, said all three errors - his miscue, Roger Bernadina muffing a single in center field and Livan Hernandez being a step slow to first on Adam Dunn's relay - were "stupid errors." And Dunn said, "It would be tough for me as a fan to come out and come watch us when we're playing bad."
You get the sense that the Nationals have passed their breaking point, when most of the things they're trying aren't working and players are saying as much.<
They are now 62-88, having gone 42-73 since a 20-15 start. That's good for a .365 winning percentage which, extrapolated over 162 games, would leave them with a 59-103 record, or the same mark they had last year.
Just 10,999 fans watched the Nationals lose to Houston on Monday, and neither Dunn nor Harris could blame the ones that didn't show.
"I feel like, sometimes, me watching us as a fan would probably be pretty entertaining," Dunn said. "I don't know how else to put it. We've got a lot of entertaining guys. But when you look at our record and stuff, why would you come see us, until you actually came and watched? For the most part, our fanbase is pretty awesome."
Said Harris: "Who wants to come out if you're not going to win? We need to win games. Once we start winning games, they'll come out and support us. But until then, we just need to continue to play the game right, and reduce all the mental errors we had tonight."