Despite another strong output from the developing Nationals offense, the Nats fell again to the Braves 8-5, finalizing their second consecutive sweep.
Pitching once again stymied the Nats winning effort. Scott Olsen repeated another poor performance, 5 IP 5 ER 3BB 6 H, and the bullpen couldn't keep it close. Sadly for the Nats this has been the story so far for 2009. Unlike their anemic 2008 offense, their club is putting runs on the board, unfortunately they don't have the surprises on the hill that they had of 2008.So far there has not been a single quality start from the pitching staff. In fact the closest thing they've had was Shairon Martis's three run effort, but he only pitched three innings due to rain. While it's still early and it may just be a poor start, or a poor go-around, one thing is for sure; the Nats can't have pitching like this year-round.
In today's game the Nats allowed 14 Atlanta base runners, 8 scored. They allowed three doubles, and two triples. Even Brian McCann stole a base. The bottom line here is that in the field, the Nats aren't being effective with the glove or on the mound. Triples are a rarity, but when they happen this frequently in 6 games, it's a sign of a bad bad defense.
Can we consider the Austin Kearns experiment over? Another 0-4 night with three runners left on base has lowered his average to .167.
We get it Acta, he was hot in spring training, now he is not.
The Nationals need to get back to their original plan of Dunn, Dukes, and Milledge patrolling the outfield. Dunn is a no brainer, he is the teams best hitter and highest paid player. Dukes for some reason lost his starting spot to Kearns at the beginning of the year, but to anyone who knew anything about the Nationals this was considered foolish. Dukes is a freak talent with freak tools who put together and incredible season last year after a terrible first month, all at the age of 24.
This leaves Milledge and Kearns. Neither are hitting well yet this season. This means the question has to go to who has a bigger impact on the teams future. Which player has better tools, is younger, has more upside, and is more likely to learn as opposed to fade away. Clearly that cat his Milledge.