Same result, different day. Less than 24 hours after the Nationals lost a game by the score of 8-3 and had their starter's record fall to 5-4...the Nationals lost a game by the score of 8-3 and had their starter's record fall to 5-4. Washington (31-36) dropped its third straight game to the Detroit Tigers (36-29) with little to show for it. Adam Dunn was two for four with a home run and two runs batted in; however, the Nats had little to hang their hats on beyond that. Rookie starter Luis Atilano gave up five runs on nine hits over 4.1 innings, while Doug Slaten and Tyler Clippard allowed two and one runs, respectively. The Tigers received a quality start from Jeremy Bonderman (seven innings, five hits, two runs, seven strikeouts) and the offense exploded for 19 hits. Every Tigers' starter except centerfielder and ninth batter Don Kelly recorded multiple hits, led by four from shortstop Ramon Santiago and three from right fielder Magglio Ordonez.
This past series is a continuation of a troubling trend for the Washington nine. After sweeping the Pirates to pull within one game of .500, the Nationals have dropped five of their last six games against their two AL Central opponents (Cleveland and Detroit). The Detroit series saw the Nationals fall to the Tigers in just about every statistical category. In three games Washington was outscored 23-10, outhit 38-22, struck out 32 times to the Tigers' ten, drew three walks to Detroit's 11, and committed four errors against two by Detroit. No National recorded a quality start, whereas the Tigers were a Gerald Laird throwing error away from three quality starts.
Washington now returns home to face the surging Chicago White Sox, winners of three straight games and eight of their last ten. Following the White Sox into the nation's capital are the Kansas City Royals who, though nine games below .500, have won five of their last seven and boast the second best team batting average in the league. The Nationals' pitchers need to bear down and the offense needs to reawaken in order to avoid digging a deeper hole in the cutthroat NL East.