THE RESULT:  At 10:30 am Friday, Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo uttered the two words no one in the baseball world wanted to hear:  Tommy John.

At 4:00 pm, the 22-year old for whom that dreaded procedure was ordered told everyone -- in no uncertain terms -- that he would be back better than ever.

And at 7:05 pm, the team went out and put on display many of the traits that have them on pace for 93 losses:  shaky starting pitching, porous defense, bad base running and dreadful batting with runners in scoring position.  It all added up to a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals before a subdued crowd of 22,871 at Nationals Park.

The story of this game really has to go no further than the outrageous number of runners left on base.  The Nats got 12 hits and six walks on the night, yet went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners stranded.

Scott Olsen wasn't bad, allowing 3 runs -- just one earned -- on five hits and one walk, striking out five.  But the Nats found themselves down 3-0 after three innings, after watching another Albert Pujols home run, and they never could dig themselves out of the hole.

The Nats committed two errors, including a circus play at first where Adam Dunn booted a ball, then compounded his mistake by throwing the ball away. 

And Nyjer Morgan managed to get picked off in the eighth inning, just ahead of Willie Harris' seventh home run of the season.  It's the 11th time Morgan has been picked off this season, combined with his N.L. leading 14 times caught stealing.

So it was a day full of bad news for the Nationals.

The loss drops the Nats season record to 54-75, a .419 winning percentage.  Extrapolated over 162 games, puts the Nats on a pace for a 69-93 final record.

But it's worse than that.  Since the All-Star break, the Nats are 15-25, a .375 winning percentage, a pace for 61 wins.  And more recently, the Nats have lost 14 of their last 19 games.

And now their best pitcher is done for the year, weakening the roster that much further.

Friday, August 27 was a dark day in NatsTown.

THE GOOD:  Ian Desmond was 3-for-5 with a run in the ninth inning, scoring on a passed ball.  He is now hitting .283 for the season.

THE BAD:  Morgan.  With his suspension pending, and the Nats eyeing the future, every mistake he makes is a step closer to potential irrelevance.

THE UGLY:  Adam Dunn.  His slump has reached epic proportions.  He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, lowering his average to .258 for the season. Add on the errors tonight, and the team really has to be considering if they think it's worht the effort to extend his contract considering Strasburg will miss the entire competitive portion of 2011 at best.

NEXT GAME:  Saturday at 7:05 pm.  Livan Hernandez (8-9) against Kyle Lohse (2-5).


  1. Anonymous // August 28, 2010 at 8:38 AM  

    They need to get Dunn out of the game. He is an automatic out. A pitcher would have a better chance of getting on.