We lost to the Nationals. The Nationals are like the Orioles: historically terrible but somehow good this year, at least for now. Seriously, what is up with this baseball season?
Doubront, who has been arguably our most consistent starter this year, had a bad day. To be precise, it was probably his worst start of the year. He only pitched four innings and threw eighty-two pitches. So you know it wasn’t his best work. He gave up six runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out one. He gave up three runs in the third via small ball and three more in the fourth via small ball plus a long ball.
He just didn’t throw well. His four-seam, changeup, and cutter were weak; his two-seam was phenomenal and his curveball was fantastic, but he threw roughly the same amount of the former three as the latter two, and when half a starting pitcher’s pitches are off, it’s not always good enough that half of them are on. As with his pitches, half his game was good and half was bad; he threw fifteen pitches in the first, thirteen in the second, thirty in the third, and twenty-four in the fourth. He’d thrown a whole game’s worth of pitches before half the game was over.
And then Albers came in and pitched the fifth and most of the sixth, when Hill took over with two out and allowed his inherited runner to score. Hill was then replaced by Atchison with two out in the seventh. Atchison pitched through the eighth, and Miller pitched the ninth.
We scored in the second; Papi walked, Sweeney singled, and both came home on a double by Aviles. Gonzalez led off the eighth with a solo shot on a sinker, the fourth pitch in the at-bat, which he rocketed to straightaway center. In the third, he was robbed of what looked every bit like a beautiful solo shot into the bullpen in the third with one out by Xavier Nady, who reached into the bullpen for it. But he got all of this one in the eighth for the two hundredth homer of his career. He totally just golfed it out of there. He made sure nobody could catch that. And lastly, Punto walked in the ninth, advanced to second on fielding indifference, and scored on a double by Nava.
We had the bases loaded in the sixth with one out but nothing materialized. That isn’t to say that the incident was not without its drama. Youk was called out on strikes to end the inning and argued balls and strikes with home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Youk was angry, heated, and vocal and was summarily ejected. He did not go down quietly. Bobby V. came out to talk to Eddings and looked like he had no idea what was going on. Honestly, the pitch was low. Youk should never have struck out; he should have walked, and had he walked, not only would the bases have still been loaded, but we would have scored another run. The pitch was low. And it’s easy to know that the pitch was low because, when the catcher caught it, he elevated his glove so it would look like it wasn’t low. The whole thing was shamefully ridiculous; it’s not about whether we would have gone on to win or lose because of that one run; it’s about the fact that it’s the players’ jobs to play and the umpires’ jobs to umpire, not to interfere.
Anyway, we had two on in the seventh with two out and nothing materialized. The innings I’ve mentioned were all the innings in which we had at least one runner on base. So in every inning during which we did not have a runner on base, we went down in order.
So we lost, 7-4. Nava and Gonzalez each went two for five. Defensive highlights include a tricky catch by Sweeney for the first out of the third, during which he ran and then slid down at just the right time for it; an almost identical catch by Sweeney to his other side for the second out of the seventh; and a tricky catch by Salty for the first out of the fifth, during which he reached into the crowd on the third base side.
Mostly, though, we just lost.