Nats Offense Blows Save

One run in the ninth wasn't enough

Good news, Nats fans: The bullpen didn't blow a save in yesterday's loss!

Instead, if anyone blew the save, it was the Nats offense.

The Nats entered the bottom of the ninth trailing by a run.  The blowpen had already done the impossible.  They had pitched three scoreless innings -- mostly on the ancient arm of Ron Villone.  The chances of them throwing another shutout inning?  Nigh impossible.

So everyone watching -- the three or four hundred in the stands and the four or five hundred watching on MASN -- knew it was going to take two runs right then to win the game.

With one out, Nick Johnson ripped a triple off the wall in centerfield.  The Pirates pitched around Ryan Zimmerman, wanting no part in him, which put the winning run on first.  There was a chance!

With the Bucco pitcher on the ropes, the Nats looked like they were going to pull it out -- to do what their blowpen had done so often.  He threw a wild pitch, and the tying run scored, and Zimmerman's winning run moved to second.

Dunn was up, and it seemed possible.  But as he sometimes does when the pressure's on, he waved through a crappy breaking pitch.  Willie Harris struck out to end the inning.

And with the Nats turning it back over to the pen, it was effectively the end of the game.

Manny Acta tried to get another inning out of his situational lefty; three runs scored.  And in the bottom of the inning, with his team down to its final out, Acta sent up Alex Cintron (he of the .083 batting average) to make an out.  Game over.

The bullpen pitched about as well as it's capable of pitching (which isn't saying much) and the Nats still went down in flames.

The Nats are now 11-27.  They're on pace to go 47-115.  It's a worse start than Manny Acta's first year.  They were 13-25 then.

It has to get better than this.  Doesn't it?

Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He's borderline certifiable since he's still watching most of these games.

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