After eight straight wins both on the road and at home, the Washington Nationals were on the losing end of things yesterday in Arizona against the Diamondbacks. They battled back from a 7-0 deficit to make things interesting in the top of the ninth inning, bringing the tying run to the plate but ending up with a 7-5 loss.
The Nationals have now finished the first two legs of a cross-country road trip and are set to take on the San Francisco Giants for the first game of a three-game set tonight. After this series in San Francisco, the Nationals will have their first day off in what seems like forever this Thursday, and then head home to face the New York Mets and the second-place Atlanta Braves (who are only 4 1/2 games behind the Nationals).
Michael Morse has continued hitting well, Steve Lonbardozzi and Danny Espinosa are doing OK, and even Jayson Werth is somewhat hot after coming off the Disabled List. But guess who is struggling? The Nationals’ newly-acquired catcher!
Kurt Suzuki, recently acquired by the Nationals from Oakland, is batting just .143 (3-for-21), struggling both at the plate and behind it as well. Suzuki is 0-for-8 throwing out runners since joining the Nationals, and his throwing error while trying to catch a runner stealing yesterday allowed an unearned run to score. When the Nats traded for Suzuki, they went on and on about his defensive abilities. All you heard was about how Suzuki has a great track record throwing out runners, blocking pitches and handling a pitching staff, blah, blah, blah. Really? Were they referring to his high school statistics when thay made these statements? The Nationals’ season-long, behind-the-plate woes continue, and it seems to be known all over the land that runners can run on the Nationals. How will this impact them if they make the playoffs? Sigh!
Meanwhile, tonight's pitching matchup in San Francisco promise to provide an interesting game; too bad it starts at 10:00 at night, which means I probably won’t watch past the third inning (as much as I love baseball, I love sleep even more). Two of baseball's top pitchers will be facing each other - Gio Gonzalez looks for his 15th win of the season for the Nats, while the Giants will send Ryan Vogelsong, who leads the National League with a 2.27 ERA to the mound. The Giants' righty has gone at least six innings in every start this season, while Gonzalez is coming off the first nine-inning complete game of his career. But dang, those west-coast games are so late!