Last season, the Nationals fell below .500 for good in Houston, when they lost three of four to an Astros team that had the worst record in the National League at the time. They came in this week, facing an Astros team that was again the worst in the NL - and hadn't won back-to-back games in more than a month.
But the result was the same.
After an emphatic win in the series opener, just like they had last year, they lost a pair of one-run games, including Wednesday's 3-2, 11-inning loss, to drop the series in Houston. They couldn't score enough runs against the team with the worst pitching staff in the NL. And they're two games below .500.
They'll pick things back up on Friday night in Los Angeles, with another series against a beatable team in the Dodgers, but they missed an opportunity in Houston this week. If the Marlins win tonight, the Nationals are back in a tie for last place in the NL East. They got three hits from Jayson Werth on Wednesday, in his first game with more than one extra-base hit since May 20, and stranded the struggling right fielder twice. And only two of their nine hits came above Werth's spot in the lineup.
Their offense continues to miss opportunities, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday. It's no wonder, then, that they're back to losing close games, having dropped six straight one-run games after winning five of those games in a row toward the beginning of this month.
Even a big game from Werth wasn't enough to help them out on Wednesday, and because of it, they lost a winnable series in Houston again.