The fourth-inning blues (Werth leaves game, Nats lose 7-6)

For the second straight day, a Nationals starter didn’t made it out of the fourth inning.

Yesterday, it was Dan Haren getting pulled after 3 1/3 innings, having allowed six runs on seven hits.

Today, it’s Ross Detwiler handing the ball to Davey Johnson after 3 2/3 innings. Detwiler allowed seven runs on nine hits (including two homers) with one walk and three strikeouts.

Haren left to a heavy chorus of boos yesterday. Detwiler left to mild applause today.

Ross Ohlendorf was able to pick the Nats up by throwing 4 2/3 innings in relief yesterday, saving the bullpen. The Nats will need a similar type of effort from Craig Stammen, who comes in to replace Detwiler.

Stammen entered with the bases loaded and allowed a single to the first batter he saw, Michael Cuddyer, tacking two more runs on to Detwiler’s line.

Luckily for the Nats, they have tomorrow off, so if they need to dip deeper into the bullpen, they’ll be able to rest guys a bit before opening a three-game series with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Cuddyer has gone 3-for-3 with a homer and four RBIs through the first four innings.

Speaking of the first four innings, while the Nats have yet to bat in the bottom of the fourth, they’ve been outscored 13-0 in the first four frames over the last two days.

No bueno.

Update: Jayson Werth has been pulled from today’s game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Werth reached base on a single to right, but jogged very slowly down the line. Roger Bernadina then came on as a pinch-runner.

Werth was scratched from yesterday’s game with what Johnson called flu-like symptoms. He returned to the lineup today and went 2-for-2 in his two at-bats, but is now out less than halfway through this ballgame.

A right hamstring strain pushed Werth to the DL in early May, and he missed 28 games due to the injury. Werth has hit .274 in 62 at-bats since coming off the DL on June 4.

The Nats got two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a Chris Marrero RBI groundout and a Kurt Suzuki sac fly. They now trail 7-2 going to the fifth.

Update II: It’s still a 7-2 Rockies lead after seven, as the Nats have gone 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

Their most recent scoring chance saw them load the bases with two outs in the seventh. Instead of pinch-hitting Adam LaRoche, who is on the bench today, Johnson decided to let Chris Marrero bat in that situation. Marrero flied out to right on the first pitch he saw, ending the inning.

I know Johnson has talked about wanting to get his bench guys some more at-bats, but the game’s on the line in that spot. The Nats are down five in the late innings, and they had a chance to get back in it. I’m surprised Johnson wouldn’t rather have LaRoche at the plate against a left-hander (who surely would’ve come in had LaRoche indeed pinch-hit for Marrero) than Marrero up against right-hander Matt Scahill.

Not a great last two days in NatsTown.

Update III: It’s a ballgame again, but the Nats still trail going to the ninth.

A four-run eighth inning has brought the Nats to within 7-6, as Ryan Zimmerman’s two-out grounder to short kicked off Josh Rutledge’s glove, bringing in two runs, and Jhonatan Solano’s pinch-hit, first-pitch, two-run double up the gap scored two more.

The Nats were unable to complete the comeback, however, as Ian Desmond struck out swinging to end the eighth, leaving Solano in scoring position. It’ll be Marrero, Kurt Suzuki and Steve Lombardozzi in the ninth, unless Johnson decides to use LaRoche.

Update IV: That’ll do it. The Nats went down in order in the ninth and fall to the Rockies 7-6.

The loss drops them back below .500 at 37-38 and leaves them stuck with a split of this four-game series after they had taken the first two. They went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

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