Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Game 3 Recap: Jackson makes one mistake, offense misses in the clutch


Jackson gets hit for 4 runs in 5 innings. Photo AP via

The title says it all.  Edwin Jackson missed his target in the 2nd inning, it turned into a 3-run homer (from a #8 hitter no-less) and that was more than enough offense than the Cards needed en route to peppering the Nats pitching staff for 8 runs and 14 hits in a game 3 romp 8-0.  One mistake is all it took, but you can’t make a mistake middle-in with two guys on base to a professional hitter.  There was no need to watch the game after the 5th inning; it was clear this team wasn’t going to get to Chris Carpenter nor whoever else the Cardinals brought in after he hit his pitch limit.

Where is the Nats offense?  More to the point, where is all our clutch hitting?   We had the lead-off hitter on three times; a runner on first with none out has an Run Expectancy of about .84; meaning we’d expect that runner to score 84% of the time.  Instead we got 0 runs out of any of those situations.  The team has to get something out of that bases-loaded first inning, has to get something out of the third inning rally.  We went 0-8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 guys on base.  Where is Adam LaRoche this series?  Or Michael Morse?  We need these middle-of-the-order guys to produce if we’re going to win games.  The St. Louis #8 hitter was clutch yesterday; our guys havn’t been clutch (arguably) in 3 weeks.

It doesn’t matter if we still had Stephen Strasburg in the rotation if you don’t score runs.  We’ve scored 7 runs in 3 games, four of which were essentially meaningless as we were getting killed in game 2.  Meanwhile the Cards now stand at 22 runs and counting, an eerie repeat of the late September blasting we took in the 3-game series in St. Louis.

Ross Detwiler gets a shot in a do-or-die game tomorrow.  Lets hope he finally gets some run support.

Written by Todd Boss

October 11th, 2012 at 9:20 am

5 Responses to 'Game 3 Recap: Jackson makes one mistake, offense misses in the clutch'

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  1. I’m as sick of this Strasburg bullsh*t as you are. As Boswell wrote in today’s column, the problem isn’t Strasburg—the problem is Gio, Jordan, and Jackson. This starting rotation had the chops during the regular season. What happened to them since then? I thought the tough schedule and drawn-out clinch was supposed to sharpen them. Instead, it seems to have drained them. And what they hell happened to the bullpen in the last two games? Stammen has three hit battters? How many did he have all regular season? Zero?

    But the bad pithcing is matched by the bad hitting. Seriously, Desmond and Zimmerman seem to realize that merely reaching the playoffs wasn’t the ultimate goal, but where is everyone else? The Nats have stranded 30 runners in 3 games! 30!!! Harper and Morse are overmatched, and Werth isn’t playing like a guy who’s been here before. Also, despite his great season, Adam LaRoche is playing himself off the team for ’13. (On the upside, no errors yesterday. Way to play defense, guys!)

    What annoys me most about all the Strasburg press is that he would not have made any difference in this series, especially if he pitched like he did later in the season. The real story here is what appears to be a team-wide choke (minus Desmond and Zimmerman). But that story has been done before many times in many sports (see: Atlanta Braves, Buffalo Bills, Washington Capitals, etc, etc), and so it isn’t as interesting as the Strasburg angle. This stinks.


    11 Oct 12 at 9:48 am

  2. Couldn’t agree more. I think I commented in this space how the team struggled down the stretch and quickly heard comments about how “momentum means nothing.” Well, you said it best; yes this team really looked just “tired” down the stretch, got swept in Atlanta, got wiped out in St. Louis. Inarguably having Strasburg instead of Zimmermann maybe means we’re in that game longer, but its no guarantee. Does St. Louis score 12 that game? Probably not, but I’d wager we wouldn’t score 4 either against a mostly indifferent bullpen.

    Todd Boss

    11 Oct 12 at 9:56 am

  3. Unbelievable: Tom Verducci actually has something non-hyperbolic to say about Strasburg.

    Todd Boss

    11 Oct 12 at 11:44 am

  4. Whoa… was that analytical objectivity I just read? Honestly, in today’s sports journalism climate, that’s like finding the Holy Grail.


    11 Oct 12 at 12:32 pm

  5. The Nightingale story in the usatoday is especially damning. It speaks of outright vitriol from rival GMs. Amazing. All because Rizzo and the team choose a conservative recovery path for a star pitcher.

    Todd Boss

    11 Oct 12 at 12:48 pm

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