The new era of Washington Nationals baseball has many questions to answer in 2019, but one has been answered already: the Nationals bullpen will cost the team wins.
With the first two series in their rearview mirror – a three-game set against the New York Mets and a two-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies – the Nationals find themselves trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding in the eighth inning.
In their five first games of the season, the Nationals have allowed 14 runs in the eighth inning. In contrast, they have only allowed 20 runs in the remaining 40 innings of those five games combined. This is how some of it has unfolded.
The Nats were tied with the Mets with a score of 4-4 going into the eighth inning of their March 30 game, only to give up four runs and sink themselves into a hole that they were unable to climb out of. The next day, they were beating the Mets 5-2 and allowed three runs in the eighth frame that tied the game. Fortunately for Washington, they were able to win it in walk-off fashion in the ninth via a Trea Turner home run.
Earlier today, Washington was ahead of Philadelphia 6-4 entering the eighth inning, only to see that advantage vanish by allowing four runs to go down 8-6. The Nats recovered in the bottom of the eighth by tying the game, which they won in the ninth via walk-off walk by Jake Noll.
Responsibility for the team’s pitching woes is shared, but perhaps the pitcher who has struggled the most to start the season is Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal has yet to retire a batter while allowing seven runs – all earned – in three appearances.
Starting Off on the Right Foot?
But baseball is a team sport, and this pitching staff will have to get out of this funk as a unit if the Nationals are to play meaningful baseball in late September. The Nationals won’t have much time to regroup and turn things around. They travel to New York tonight to take on the Mets tomorrow for their home opener.
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.