The general feeling in NatsTown this morning is as low as it's been in while. It's not just one aspect of the game that has brought the team to this point anymore. It used to be solely the offense's fault. The starting pitchers and bullpen remained nearly unhittable. All of that is different now.
The Nats have lost 9 of their last 12 games; they've been shut out 3 times in the last two weeks; they've given up 7 or more runs 3 times in the last 4 games. It seems like nothing can go right at the same time. If the offense is clicking, the pitching is off. If the pitching is clicking, the offense can't seem to muster a single run. These things and more are clearly wearing on the entire ball club.
Tuesday night's 3+ hour slug fest in Milwaukee seemed to be another much needed jolt to the Nats, not unlike the 17-5 shellacking of the Orioles on Friday. 1B Michael Morse broke out and hit a grand slam, ended the night 3 for 5, and brought his batting average above .280. It wasn't meant to be, though, as the Nats bullpen gave up 4 runs in the 7th and 8th inning and walked away with a loss after carrying a 6-3 lead into the 7th inning.
True to form, the Nats were unable to capitalize on other opportunities throughout the game and were shut out after Milwaukee's starter, Chris Narveson, left the game in the 4th inning. Livan Hernandez pitched well, yet again, but ended up with another no decision because the bullpen simply couldn't hold on.
Adding insult to injury, Adam LaRoche was placed on the 15-day DL Tuesday and is likely on the road to season-ending rotator cuff surgery. Ryan Zimmerman is still hurt and likely won't even see a rehab assignment for several more weeks. Ian Desmond is still clearly nursing some sort of lower body injury, as he was seen limping around the bases the last few days. Tom Gorzelanny is plummeting back to earth, as Mac predicted a few weeks back. Jason Marquis lost his mind when he was pulled from Friday's game against the O's after just 4 ineffective innings.
The Nationals still have one of the worst offenses, both by feel and on paper, in all of baseball. The core of the lineup was supposed to be Werth, Zimmerman, LaRoche. Not bad. For the time being, it will be Werth, pick a name from a hat, pick another random hitter. Not good at all. Even the once solid bullpen is anything but solid at this point.
Typically, we here at CapBall try to find the best in almost every situation in NatsTown. In this situation, though, it's hard to find anything really positive to say. The Nats are firmly seated in the cellar of the NL East, with all but one of their big stars (Zimmerman, Strasburg, LaRoche, and Harper) nowhere to be found. The players that are with the organization are visibly frustrated and have been mostly ineffective.
The Nats broadcasts on MASN always talk about Defining Moments of the game. Well, this is a defining moment for the entire organization. The season is likely lost, simply because of the quality teams in the NL East this season. But the attitudes and relationships that the team develops in these circumstances will define the team beyond just this season, because many of the team's players will be back in 2012 and beyond. This team has to dig deep and find something, because right now, this organization is at one of it's lowest moments since 2005. And the fans are reeling.