On a night when the Nationals could not get much going offensively, they still forced the Reds into extra innings. The Nats mustered just three hits in a 9-4, 10-inning loss.
The bullpen allowed five runs in that final frame, helped along by two errors, one a rare fielding miscue from Bryce Harper.
Harper, similar to when Ryan Zimmerman said “everyone just needs to calm down” back in April, stressed that the bullpen is fine.
“Sometimes it just happens like that and it’s just part of the game,” Harper said. “When it does happen, people freak out. It’s just part of it. It’s not the end of the world.”
Manager Dusty Baker said he thought the bullpen did well to keep the team in the game.
“We had a couple of guys picked us up tonight,” Baker said. “(Felipe) Rivero picked us up big time, innings-wise. We’re still in pretty good shape. They are predominantly right-handed. (Yusmeiro) Petit tomorrow. We didn’t have (Shawn) Kelley today, that’s why we didn’t use Kelley.”
Plus, the Nationals get their ace back Sunday. For the first time since June 15, right-hander Stephen Strasburg will start. He has won 21 of his last 28 starts and is 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA this season.
The Reds counter with 25-year-old southpaw John Lamb (1-4, 4.60 ERA). He has made only 34 major league starts in two seasons and has never faced the Nationals.
It is likely Baker will rest a starter or two the next couple of days with today’s game beginning at 1:35 p.m. and tomorrow’s Independence Day contest starting at 11:05 a.m.
The Nats have played at home on July 3 every year since 2009 and are 3-3 in those games.
CINCINNATI REDS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, WUSA-TV 9, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy, 72 degrees, 15 percent chance of precipitation, wind 5 mph in from left field
CF Michael A. Taylor
LF Jayson Werth
RF Bryce Harper
2B Daniel Murphy
C Wilson Ramos
1B Ryan Zimmerman
3B Anthony Rendon
SS Danny Espinosa
RHP Stephen Strasburg
SS Zack Cozart
LF Jose Peraza
1B Joey Votto
RF Jay Bruce
3B Eugenio Suarez
2B Brandon Phillips
CF Billy Hamilton
C Ramon Cabrera
LHP John Lamb