WP – K. Lohse (4-6) LP – R. Detwiler (2-7)
S – F. Rodriguez (7)
The Washington Nationals hitting malaise continues to haunt them this season, as they managed only five hits against the Milwaukee Brewers’ Kyle Lohse and Francisco Rodriguez in a disheartening effort all around. This team prides itself on its ability to remain even keeled whether winning or losing, but that even keeled is beginning to come across as lack of passion, as several Nationals had effortless at bats. This team doesn’t seem to have an answer to why it cant consistently hit the ball or advance runners, especially early in the game.
Kyle Lohse pitched eight great innings, striking out seven as he helped the Brewers take a second game in this series. There were a couple of outstanding fielding plays behind him especially Carlos Gomez robbing Bryce Harper of an extra base hit on his second at bat.
Ross Detwiler provided six solid innings of work, giving up four runs but only two earned over that time. The damage was done in the fifth inning, when Sean Halton and Logan Schafer both scored on a Norichika Aoki single that got by the drawn in infield. In the sixth, the Brewers got two additional runs that scored after Bryce Harper made an error in left field on a line drive that he seemed to lose in the lights. Logan Schafer tripled to drive in Aramis Ramirez and Jonathan Lucroy after the Harper error.
The four runs would be all Kyle Lohse needed as he baffled Nationals hitters all night other than a solo homerun given up to Anthony Rendon, who continues to hit with power consistently since his call up last month from the minors. Rendon also had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning but came up just short on a drive to center field off Rodriguez. He finished the game 1-for-4 and his season average now sits at .312 with 2 HR and 9 RBI.
The biggest problem for the Nationals is that the top five batters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-19 in this game. That’s a whopping .052 average for the night. The Washington Nationals are going to have to do something to correct these hitting woes that consistently plague this team. It might take Davey Johnson losing his calm cool demeanor with this team or making a drastic change to the lineup. It might even require changing the hitting coach at this point.
I won’t claim to have the answer but if this trend continues much longer Johnson’s prophetic “World Series or Bust” will most likely be a bust. This team now sits seven games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, and six back in the wild-card standings, behind the St Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds.
The Nationals are now 42-42, and fall to 5-32 in games where they score fewer than three runs.
Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.