The Nats hopes for an eighth victory were washed away as the Nats blew another late inning lead to the Houston Astros in the rain Monday night.
Up 10-9 heading into the top of the 9th, the Nats must have thought for sure that the game was there's after having taken the lead for the third time in the contest. Kip Wells was on the mound and hadn't allowed an earned run in his last five appearances, and already had pitched most of the eight flawlessly. However one extra base hit, a well-placed grounder and a fly ball to center and Houston tied the game on a sac fly.
Typical. The Nationals blew yet again another 9th inning lead, this time en route to a suspended game as the contest was halted in the 11th inning, still tied. Rain may have washed the game away but the pain is still there.
Up until last night Kip Wells had been the only one immune the 9th inning bug, the last man standing in the Nationals bullpen who wasn't tainted with the stench of failure that has plagued the club. Following the unsettling 9th, Wells was able to pitch a scoreless 10th before turning the ball over to former closer Joel Harahan. It's frustrating, Wells pitched flawlessly in the 8th and 10th, but made on costly mistake in the 9th. We must be cursed.
The top three
The good news from last night was the production of the top Nats lineup. Cristian Guzman, Nick Johnson, and Ryan Zimmerman combined for 7 hits in 16 at bats, 5 runs and 4 RBI. In the last five games these three are averaging .354 in what has been an offensive flurry, Nationally speaking. They have scored over 7.7 runs a game over this stretch.
This is obviously very good, but the Nats have allowed 6.03 runs per game this season, the most in the National League.
Even the Nats best hitters are striking out at a way too high rate. A sixth of the way through the season, the Nats have five players on pace for 100 strikeouts this season. Absurd. Is Adam Dunn contagious?