Does someone want to tell me why I keep watching this baseball team?
The Nationals dropped a series opener to the Atlanta Braves today by a score of 5-3, despite the best efforts of a 407-foot homer from Josh Bell. The Nats have now dropped their last 5 and 6 of their last 10, 6.5 games back of the NL East lead and dead last in the division.
Joe Ross was on the mound again on Monday:
L (2-5), 5.0 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 1 HR, 5.40 ERA
The Bad News:
The first inning. That’s the bad news in a nutshell.
Joe Ross took the mound in the bottom of the first and immediately gave up a leadoff single to Ronald Acuña Jr. followed by back to back walks to Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies. A sacrifice fly by Dansby Swanson and a William Contreras single later (which was interrupted by another walk issued to Abraham Almonte), the Nats were down 3-0 before the first inning was even over. A home run cranked into right field by Acuña in the next inning made the score 4-0, a lead the Nats were unable to overcome.
Point blank, Joe Ross has completely fallen off. All the early season hype surrounding him has reasonably evaporated, and he has instead trapped himself in a cycle of giving up runs and struggling to settle in. 3 walks in the first inning shows how Ross is struggling to keep command of his pitches, and losing his confidence. It really doesn’t help at all that Ross is likely thinking that regardless of how he does, the terrible streak the offense has been putting together lately might make it so that it doesn’t make a difference how well he does. Ross is now the 3rd Nats starter with an ERA over 4.90. Talk about a recipe for disaster.
After giving up 3 runs in the first, Joe Ross’s ERA is now 5.68.
Three of the Nationals five starters currently have ERAs of 4.90 or greater. Corbin (6.23), Lester (4.91), and Ross (5.68). For a team built on its starting pitching, that’s not going to get it done.
— Matt Holleran (@HolleranMDH) May 31, 2021
The Good News:
If there’s any good news, it’s that the bullpen for the most part kept it together, aside from a sixth inning RBI single from Guillermo Heredia. That and the Bell bomb in the 3rd inning is all I can really think of. A poor start, an offensive stallout, and a failure to win. All optimism has died.
Stephen Strasburg takes the mound again on Tuesday night against Max Fried. Maybe the offense can show up tomorrow. If we’re lucky, Stras can put on a show. Here’s to trying again.