By Jason Smith
The struggles continued for the Nationals this week. Injuries and poor pitching from the bullpen seem to be yearly storylines. The good news is the Nationals should be getting Anthony Rendon back shortly and hopefully Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy won’t be far behind.
Monday, April 23rd – Gio Gonzalez got the first start of the series in San Francisco. Gio cruised through the first three innings; however the Giants hitters got to Gio their second time through the lineup. At 94 pitches, Martinez pulled Gio from the game after the 5th inning and Gio was not very pleased with that decision. The Nationals offense struck first in the game with a sacrifice fly from Howie Kendrick in the 3rd inning. Unfortunately the Nationals offense produced only two runs in the game which was not enough. Nationals 2, Giants 4
Tuesday, April 24th – Game two of the series in San Franciscosaw Tanner Roark take the mound to try and stop the three-game losing skid. Roark was able to make it through six innings but he allowed four runs and that is the Giants would need in this one. The Nationals scored all three of their runs in the fourth inning, led by Michael A Taylor’s three-run homerun. Nationals 3, Giants 4
Wednesday, April 25th – In the final game of the series Max Scherzer took the mound looking to help the Nationals avoid the sweep. When Scherzer gets the ball in the midst of a losing streak, that losing streak typically comes to a halt. Scherzerstruck out 10 batters through six strong innings, however the Nationals offense was the story of this game. The Nationals exploded for 15 runs with big games from Trea Turner, Matt Adams and Andrew Stevenson. The three batters combined for 12 of the Nationals 18 hits. Nationals 15, Giants 2
Friday, April 27th – The Nationals went back home after a nine game road trip to begin a series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have been off to a great start this season and own the best record in the National League. The first game of the series saw Stephen Strausburg go up against Zack Godley. Neither pitcher was at their best, but Godley got the win as he only gave up four runs to Strausburg’sfive. Both bullpens shut down the other team’s offense and the Nationals fell just short again. Nationals 4, Diamondbacks 5
Saturday, April 28th – The Nationals stuck with Jeremy Hellickson as their fifth starter and he pitched well. Hellicksononly allowed two runs and left the game with the Nationals in the lead. The bullpen would once again let the Nationals down as the Diamondbacks tied the game in the 8th inning against Ryan Madson. The game would eventually go to extra innings where the Nationals bullpen would walk in the go ahead run in the top of the 10th inning. Unable to tie the game in the bottom half the Nationals would drop the second game of the series. Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 4
Sunday, April 29th – Going into the third game of the series, the Nationals were once again trying to avoid a sweep. GioGonzalez got the call and pitched seven important innings. With the Nationals’ bullpen being worked hard over the last week, Dave Martinez needed Gio to go deep into this game, as evidenced by his sending Gio back out to pitch the 7th inning even though Gio was at 94 pitches. Gio allowed a run in the 7thbut that would be all the Diamondbacks got in the game. The Nationals offense did just enough to win with home runs from Matt Wieters and Michael A Taylor. Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 1
Another tough week for the Nationals only saw them come away with two wins. Something needs to happen and happen quickly if they want to avoid getting buried in the standings. Luckily for the Nationals, the other NL East teams have also had a rough couple of weeks also. Hopefully Rendon will be back soon and can provide the spark this offense desperately needs.
Current Record – 12-16; Fourth place in N.L. East