St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Edward Mujica (44) celebrates with catcher Yadier Molina (4) after beating the Washington Nationals 2-0 at Nationals Park
The Washington Nationals lost their fifth straight game at home, falling to 10-10 overall, as this nightmarish start to a once-promising season continues -- mostly because the Nats bats have gone utterly silent. Pitcher Adam Wainwright of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals blanked the Nats 2-0 for his fourth consecutive win of the season, giving up only five hits and one walk against 9 strikeouts in 8 and 1/3 innings.
Left fielder Bryce Harper managed two hits and reached on a walk, but he didn't have much help, as Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche all went 0-4 at the plate. Harper's double was the only extra base hit of the night for the Nationals.
With Adam LaRoche hitting so poorly [.172 avg, .262 OBP], the Nats are really missing Ryan Zimmerman's bat right now, Anthony Rendon, went 0-3 tonight and is now batting .091 for the season. LaRoche is a legendary slow-starter, but the Nats can't afford that right now with other bats also silent or just out of the lineup.
Manager Davey Johnson was clearly angry and frustrated during a terse press conference after the game, but he did make it clear that changes are coming and he will shake up the lineup tomorrow.
Ross Detiler got the start on the mound and while he wasn't as dominant as he has been in other starts this season, he certainly pitched well enough to win tonight. He gave up four straight hits in the fourth inning, which accounted for the Cardinals' offense, but other than that, Detwiler was strong and consistent, giving up 2 runs and 8 hits in 6 innings. He was pulled not for performance but so the team could get a pinch hitter in the 7th and try to inject some punch into the anemic offense.
Speaking of pinch hitters, Roger Bernandina is now 0-16 with 7 strikeouts this season.
About the only good thing to say about the Nationals tonight, apart from some good pitching, was the defense. Coming into the game last in the Majors in fielding, the Nats committed no errors and turned 4 double plays. Maybe they're getting that fixed.
The Nationals will try to salvage something from this series and take the final game tomorrow afternoon, with a 1.05 start. Stephen Strasburg has lost three straight games, thanks, in part, to poor support, and he will try to turn it around on Wednesday.