Dan Uggla cost us huge in that game. Normally, I can't blame one player in particular for a loss, but in this case I can actually point to one particular play where we blew our biggest chance. In the 7th, Tyler Clippard came into the game for the Nats up 3-1 on the Braves. Pena got on base, Justin struck out, Freeman knocked Pena in, and then Clippard hit two straight batters with pitches. So with the bases loaded and one out, Dan Uggla just needed to get a hit to the outfield to tie the game. A base hit would have put us in the lead. Instead, Dan struck out with the bases loaded. After that CJ also struck out. So Clippard struck out 3 guys instead of the Braves tying the game up. Dan's by far was the most egregious because he's supposed to be our guy who can drive in runs. He's paid to drive in runs. However, this season he's hitting .125 with RISP out of 36 chances, with 15Ks. He and BJ have been absolutely the dead last guys you want to see with a rally on the line, and it cost us last night when he couldn't even get a sacrifice to the OF.
Here's the other dirty little secret that nobody is talking about. Justin has had a horrible May. It's almost as if what's been going on with strikeouts was contagious. In May Justin hit .211 with 32 Ks in 95 ABs. After blistering the ball in April, Justin only had 2 homers in the entire month of May. If you looked at Justin's May numbers in a vacuum, he had an OPS under .700, which is the indicator that you are having a bad month. Even worse, in the last week Justin's hitting .160 with 50% of his ABs as strikeouts. He's ready for the calendar to turn over to June, because the bad Justin showed up in May. Should we be worried about him? I think we should worry about his key ABs until the moment he snaps out of it, but not enough that he shouldn't be in the lineup.
Teheran didn't pitch well, or poorly. He gave up 3 runs in 6.2 innings, but two of those runs were in the first 2 innings, which always causes problems with the hitters. I can't really hang the loss on Julio giving up 3 runs, because that's a pretty average number for a NL game this season. The most shocking thing was how Craig Stammen came into the game after Strasburg was pulled with a back injury in the 3rd inning. Stammen, part of the Nats notoriously bad bullpen, pitched 4 innings straight of no-hit baseball. Seriously? How the hell did that happen Braves? I can't believe we had a shot at one of the worst bullpens in baseball for 7 innings, and we came up with dead-solid-nothing at the plate. Oh, the guys we worry about went hitless of course. Heyward got nothing, Dan got nothing, Justin got nothing, and even BJ came in for a pinch hit only to strike out.
Welcome to the rollercoaster of emotions, yet again. Tonight we hop in the front car again to see what happens with Tim Hudson on the mound. Will we get the good Tim?
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 6 - Nats 3
The Braves really like hitting Gio. The Nats are without their biggest weapon against Huddy. The only thing we need to do as a team is not let the Nats strike first. They had an almost unbeatable record when they draw first blood.