After winning a franchise best nine consecutive series, the Nationals dropped their third straight after falling 6-3 to the Cubs in the finale of this weekend’s four game set.
“Am I concerned? No, I’m not concerned,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “What we need to do is play every day. It’s the same team that was really good in May. It’s been a little rough for us recently, but there’s no reason that we can’t pull out of that, too. It’s the same team that was rough in April. It’s the way the game goes sometimes. That being said, I’m not worried. We’re going to come to work on Tuesday and we’re going to be aggressive like we always are and we’re going to go after them and see what we can do.”
The Cubs banged 10 of their 14 hits against Jordan Zimmermann, who allowed four runs in five innings.
“I just wasn’t locating. I was leaving the balls over the middle,” Zimmermann said. “My breaking pitches were terrible. It’s gonna happen when you don’t have all your pitches. I just wasn’t sharp today.”
The Nats figured to rely on Zimmermann today, but the right-hander labored throughout his 12th start. The Cubs had at least one base runner in each of Zimmermann’s five frames.
“Just working out of jams all day,” Zimmermann said. “It should’ve been a lot worse than it was. I guess I can take that out of it. 12 base runners in five innings and they only got four runs, which was halfway decent. Leadoff guy was on and just making stupid pitches at the wrong time.”
The Nationals pulled to within one in the fifth behind an RBI single from Yunel Escobar. But, the Cubs widened the gap against Blake Treinen in the sixth. Treinen retired the first two batters and then fell apart. He battled major control issues, walking three and surrendering two hits, as the Cubs plated two more runs. Treinen’s ERA has ballooned to 4.60.
“It’s pretty obviously frustrating,” Treinen said. “I think we’re all better than what the public eye may perceive and we know that. Especially myself, I need to be better and more consistent.”
Ian Desmond gave the Nats an early lead with a two-run homer in the second. But, Escobar’s RBI was the only offense the Nats could muster the rest of the way. They’ve now lost nine of their last 12 games and have fallen a half game behind the Mets, who lead the National League East.
“We’ve just gotta get consistent,” Desmond said. “We score runs one day and don’t score runs one day. We pitch well then don’t. We play good defense and then don’t. Just going back and forth right now and having trouble finding that rhythm. This is a good ballclub. Not to say that these games are do or die, but we’ve got to start playing a little better. Definitely gotta start swinging the bats, me included, if not at the top of that list.”
The Nationals are on their way to New York where they’ll get a much needed day off before a quick two-game interleague set with the Yankees beginning Tuesday.