This was a big weekend for the Nationals. After winning six straight (by sweeping the Red Soxs and Blue Jays), the weekend series with the New York Yankees (who were also riding a six game winning streak entering the series) were going to be a test for both first place teams. The Nationals didn’t finish with their desired result, getting swept in the three games by the New York Yankees and losing 4-1 today.
It’s not that the Nationals didn’t play competitive or at a lower level than they had previously. Despite each of the weekend starters not giving up many runs, the offense was unable to score runners or to take advantage of opportunities. There was also defensive miscues and poor reliever performances that also contributed to the losses. (Granted a missed call did factor into Saturday’s game, costing the Nationals the win and turning the game into an extra innings marathon.)
Plus, there’s the added worry of Ryan Zimmerman‘s prolonged offensive slump. The third baseman is now hitting .229 and went 0-13 with two strikeouts, one walk and no RBIs in the weekend series. (Davey just wants to get Zim in “a happy place.”)
Also worth noting is 19 year old Bryce Harper who faced the Yankees for the first time went 0-7 on Saturday, causing many people to question if he was ready to really play. Today he rebounded going 2-4.
Brad Lidge, who had a poor outing in Saturday’s extra inning loss was designated for assignment today. In his place, reliever Ryan Mattheus was reinstated from the disabled list. Lidge has been unsuccessful in outings since his return from the DL earlier in June. He also had the worst ERA on the team at 9.64, allowing 10 runs in 9 1/3 innings. Lidge was signed to a $1 million deal in the off season to provide depth and veteran experience.
Another reliever plagued by injury, Drew Storen is on track to return by the All-Star break, which is in a little less than a month. Storen is throwing off the mound three times a week and slowly increasing his workload. The closer’s said he hasn’t felt any pain and his command is good and mechanics are still there.
But, today was also Father’s Day! For the Nationals, hear what they had to say about their fathers when asked by MASN sideline reporter Kristina Akra.
Also, another bright spot, the Nationals (now 38-26) still sit atop the NL East with a four game lead, due to the rest of the NL East being unable to take advantage of the Nationals bad weekend.