The fact is, this team had been very lucky, winning a majority of its games while not scoring all that many runs. There's nothing like 11 scoreless innings followed closely by a good, old-fashioned disaster start to bring us all back down to earth. The Nationals have often been described as "scrappy." This may be true, but the Reds just beat the "s" right out us.
I don't take all these losses too hard, though. If we finish the season over .500 and/or in front of the Mets, I'll be ecstatic. Even if we don't -- hey, remember when we didn't have a team? Instead of worrying about being competitive, I tend to worry about a select group of players I root for particularly. It all depends on which guys I argued for before the season; I want them to make me look good. This has been a bad series for my pet causes.
- Livan Hernandez is my favorite player, so much so that I attempt to reflect his dynamic awesomeness by rendering his name as ¡Livan!. Tiresome gimmick? Heartfelt tribute? Why not both? Regardless, my man had a less than stellar game on Tuesday, but it wasn't his fault. In the first inning, Felipe Lopez was picked off second and thrown out at third yet called safe both times. That extra out allowed Austin Kearns to hit the bases-clearing double that produced the only Cincinnati runs of the first 13 innings. ¡Livan! still has a 3.70 ERA and is on pace for 265 innings, so I'm not sweating it too much.
- Brendan Harris is holding his own. After starting his season with a pinch hit home run, he came into last night's game late and went 0 for 2, leaving 3 men on base. He bounced back today, getting 2 hits in 4 at-bats while filling in for Old Man Vinny. Unfortunately, Nats beat writer Barry Svrluga thinks he won't be with us long. Harris may no longer be on his previous 300-HR pace, but he's still more useful than Baerga.
- Ryan Church has been a cause celebre with many of the bloggers, and I promise that's the last French you'll see here for a while. Specifically, we were sick of seeing an immobile, useless, and possibly dead Jeffrey Hammonds playing instead of Church against lefty pitchers. This problem became less urgent with the acquisition of Marlon Byrd, who is both right-handed and ambulatory. Still, it would be nice to see if Church can hit lefties, and we'll never know unless he gets to try. He finally got his chance last night, and it didn't go well. Soul Patch struck out twice against Brandon Claussen and stranded 5 before being lifted for a pinch hitter. Well, my mind reminds unchanged. Church looked much better in his second try against the southpaw, working the count full before looking at a called third strike -- he was making adjustments. More importantly, it was only two at-bats. Brad Wilkerson went 1 for 7. Do we sit him? Two at-bats are nowhere near enough to make a decision, and Church should continue to be sent out there regardless of the handedness of the opposition.