Nyjer Morgan had one of the best games of his career on Friday night in Baltimore in game one of the Battle of the Beltways. Morgan went 4 for 5, with 3 runs and an RBI. He reached base safely in his first 4 at bats. Nyjer was agressive and was just reading every Orioles pitcher as perfectly as you possibly could.
He was also lighting it up in the field, with one of the most amazing catches that I have ever seen, pictured above. T. Plush reached a ball that was easily 4 feet over the center field wall, which would have been a home run for Corey Patterson. After the remarkable catch, Patterson tipped his cap in recognition of the catch as a fellow center fielder. Nats starting pitcher J.D. Martin Miguel Tejada was less grateful when Nyjer stole extra bases from him a few innings later with a running catch.
The Nats were up 6-0 in the 5th and looked to be the dominant team. J.D. Martin pitched a decent game, one that was good enough to earn him a win, even if it was only 4 1/3 innings. And then, for reasons passing understanding, Jim Riggleman decided to use 6 of the 8 guys in the bullpen. Maybe just because he could? But after several great innings from the 'pen, Tyler Clippard came in and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in 1 1/3 innings in the 8th and 9th innings. Matt Capps came in to try to just keep the Nats in it with 2 runners on base and gave up an inherited run to his first batter in the bottom of the 9th for a walk off, earning Tyler Clippard his 4th loss on the season.
That's right folks. The Washington Nationals, after the remarkable start to the game, blew a 6-0 lead to lose to the worst team in all of baseball.
At the end, batters were over-swinging. They were frustrated. Maybe with themselves, maybe with the pitching disaster by Clippard. There is no excuse for giving up a 6 run lead to the team with the worst record in baseball and the 2nd worst RBI count. But Clippard did just that, and the Nats lost another game that should have been an easy win.
At this point in the season, you have to wonder, where has the confidence gone? Where is the swagger of this once passably decent ball club? If you find it, call Jim Riggleman. He needs your help.