Saturday, October 13, 2012

Nationals were so close, but implode in the ninth



The aftermath of the terrible loss by the Nationals on video thanks to the Washington Post


The Nationals were so close to victory last night, they could taste the champagne that was on ice in the locker room as they burst out to a 6-0 lead early last night, just to get caught short at the end of the game and lose it 9-7 to the Cardinals.

Several things happened last night in this game that should have handed the Division series to them, but somehow that didn't happen. I think Gio Gonzalez has left in the game a little too long, maybe it was the cold weather, or he just lost it, but there was a certain point in the game last night in the 5th inning where he should have been pulled, but wasn't. This was a Game 5 not just another game against the Cardinals.

The score was 6-1 in the 5th inning, and the Cardinals were down and looking bad. Daniel Delscalso, Cards second baseman, led off the inning with a double that sailed over Jayson Werth's head in right field. Another base hit from the Cards moved the Cards into scoring position with first and third. A pinch hitter was brought up for the Cards, Shane Robinson, worked a walk from Gonzalez and the bases were loaded with no outs. Here is where I would have yanked Gonzalez.

The 5th inning continued with Gio Gonzalez on the mound, a bloop out from John Jay to the second baseman for the Nats, gave the Nats the first out in the inning. There was 20 pitches thrown by now into the 5th inning from Gonzalez. Carlos Beltran was next up for the Cardinals, a wild pitch by Gonzalez scored a run for the Cardinals, and then Gio Gonzalez walked Beltran. Matt Holliday came up with a bases loaded set up, and there was no one up at that point in the Nationals bullpen. Holliday grounded into a fielders choice, Gonzalez went home with throw for a force out, still with two outs. Allen Craig then came up for the Cardinals, he was batting .333 with the bases loaded in 2012. Gonzalez almost threw another wild pitch but Nats catcher, Kurt Suzuki held on to it, but it didn't matter with the next pitch, Gonzalez walked in another run. No excuse for this, Gio should have been out of the game a long time ago.

All of this by Gonzalez didn't actually lose the game for the Nats, but it put them into a position to lose, not replacing Gonzalez sooner was a bad mistake by the Nats, and not even having a guy up in the bullpen while all of this was happening was even more puzzling from them.

Fast forward to the 9th inning, the Nats still had the lead 9-7 in this game. Then it all unraveled for the Nationals and they blew the game and ended up out of the playoffs as they didn't advance with the Game 5 loss. 

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