Oh Joel Hanrahan, blowing saves is the opposite of what you’re supposed to do.
In back-to-back games now the Washington Nationals have lose to the Florida Marlins in extra innings. This pair of heartbreakers can be put on the shoulders of one man, the pitcher that is supposed to be the most reliable on the field, our closer, Joel Hanrahan.
Friday night saw one of the best performances of the Nats all season. The team batted .300 on the night (12/40), they got production from their entire line-up from Hernandez to Gonzalez, and John Lannan pitched with the bulldog tenacity we have come to expect and appreciate(6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 8 K). Even the bullpen had produced. With Julian Tavares, Mike Hinckley and Jason Beimel pitching two scoreless innings.Then in the top of the ninth, in one fell swoop; a single Cody Ross swing took the wind out of the Nats sails and the lead off the scoreboard. In an intense, pressure filled moment, Joel Hanrahan hung a fastball and blew the save.
The Nats lost in the 10th.
The loss was much more painful for the Nats than it was the Marlins. It would have been a simple loss to a team that only had one on the season for Florida, but instead it was a crushing blow to a club that has had a harder time finding a win this year than an out-of -owner finding their way out of Anacostia.
Fast forward to this afternoon and the Nats were up 6-3 going into the 9th. The top of the line-up again produced combining to go 5/13 with 2 RBI and 3 R. The Nats line-up in general tagged Josh Johnson, one of the MLB’s hottest pitchers to the tune of 6 runs and six hits. Scott Olsen bounced back from two atrocious starts and locked down his former team for six inning only allowing two earned and striking out five.
Soon the pain from Friday night would be gone with the simplicity of a fundamentally sound victory. That’s what’s so special about baseball after all. The pain that was there yesterday can just as easily be gone tomorrow.
Not so fast. It must have been Déjà vu for the Nats loser as he took the mound as it was for all of us as he walked off of it. Hanrahan again took the mound with a lead in the ninth and left it with the game tied following a Jeremy Hermida three run shot.
Another Hermida shot in the 11th inning gave the Marlins their 5th victory over the Nationals this season, and Washington’s 10th loss.
No analysis needed.