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A Wet Doubleheader Sweep

Rain delayed the start of the first game and cut short the conclusion of the second game, but in between, the Washington Nationals managed to lose twice and score twice. Though Randy Johnson stole the main storyline by winning his 300th game, ascending into pitching's highest circle, the Nationals had to dwell on a descent. They could blame their doubleheader sweep at Nationals Park tonight -- they fell 5-1 in Game 1, then 4-1 in a rain-shortened Game 2 -- on their lineup's deep slump.

The Nationals have now scored two or fewer runs in six of their last 12 games, and that stretch has corresponded with a few notable cold spells. Adam Dunn today went a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, dropping his average to .261. Washington had a combined nine hits, good for a .180 average on the day. The team's hitting decline -- at one point in May, the Nationals scored five or more 10 games in a row -- was especially troublesome because it corresponded with strong, or at least adequate, pitching.

In Game 1 against the Giants, Jordan Zimmermann allowed just three hits and two runs in six innings. He walked none and struck out seven. "I felt great the whole night," Zimmermann said.

In Game 2, Ross Detwiler held the Giants to one run through four before falling into some problems in San Francisco's three-run fifth. He left a few change-ups high in the zone, but kept an efficient pitch count (76, through 5-2/3).

Even when they had every reason to score, the Nationals found ways to avoid it. Leading off the fourth inning of Game 2 against Matt Cain, Willie Harris smacked a triple into the right-center gap. But after that, Josh Bard flied to shallow center, Anderson Hernandez flied to shallow right, and Ross Detwiler struck out on a foul tip. That sequence was especially discouraging because the game was tied, 1-1, at the time.

"We knew what was coming," Acta said, referring to the rain. "We were playing for five innings. We have an opportunity to score -- runner on third, no outs, and we couldn't."

Any chance for the Nationals to come back in Game 2 was undercut by the rain. With two outs in the top of the sixth, at 9:52 p.m., as water puddled in the infield, umpires signaled for a rain delay. Some 67 minutes later, the game was called, and Washington lost for the 17th time in 20 games.

"It's been two very long, wet days," Acta said, "and they feel even longer after losing these two games."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 4, 2009; 11:35 PM ET
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Yeah we lost the first game and congratulations to Randy Johnson for reaching his milestone. But that strike call on Dunn with the bases loaded was complete BS. Totally different game if that call went the way it should have.

Posted by: BobBarker | June 4, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Umpires are going to help RJ of course. Up to the team to overcome that ... but they will soon have a 30 game under .500 deficit to attempt to overcome ..

Posted by: periculum | June 4, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

It was a really bad call. Shameful really. Had Dunn walked what are the chances we'd have scored enough runs to survive a Hanrahan 9th? Probably not great. The outcome probably wouldn't have been any different.

But still... really sucks.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 5, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

So . . . Manny. If you were playing for 5 innings, why not bat for Detwiler in the 4th? You're thinking, but you're not really thinking.

Posted by: paulkp | June 5, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sayin, I'm just sayin.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 5, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse


great comment.

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | June 5, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

If "you're not sayin" don't bother writing it.

Posted by: natsguy | June 5, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

If you're "not sayin" then don't write it.

Posted by: natsguy | June 5, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

He's say and ain't sayin' an he's right both ways.

Keep sayin' (and not sayin').

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 5, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

At least it's good for all the school kids... Kind of hard to demonstrate complete implosion in the chem lab...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 5, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

I guess it wasn't the pitching coach. Who decided to take Zimmerman out after 6 innings? Give the kid a chance to come back and win this game. Time to put Acta and Hanaran on waviers, but the beer was good last night.

Posted by: skygrunt | June 5, 2009 5:43 AM | Report abuse

Come on people, look on the bright side. By winning one of three against the mighty Giants we actually brought our winning percentage up. How's that for a half-full glass?

Posted by: truke | June 5, 2009 6:22 AM | Report abuse

A mere three beefs from last night:

1. Hanrahan should not be near a one run, two run or three run ball game.

2. Watching Adam Dunn at the plate is getting as bad as watching Austin Kearns at the plate. Watching him in the field is like...uhhhhh... there really is no comparison. I can't believe that Boswell is saying we should sign him for additional years. Someday we are going to have an outfield of three legitimate fielders and the positive chain of events that will follow will be amazing.

3. Watching the ump blow that ninth inning ball four call was just painful. Calls like that (and the New York calls) are the basis for conspiracy theories.

Posted by: driley | June 5, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse

For those of you that didn't watch the game - Dunn looked at a called 3rd strike in the 8th inning (not ninth) off of Brian Wilson (Johnson left after the 6th). Dunn was 10' down the line toward first by the time the ump made the call.

When Dunn protested the call, Manny came out. What? But Manny didn't argue the call, he directed Dunn away from the ump.

Hey Manny, it's the 8th inning. Show some fire. Get tossed. And then come out for game 2.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 5, 2009 7:06 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: comish4lif | June 5, 2009 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, congrats to Johnson and all but I was really upset with that call. What the?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

The 3-2 pitch to Dunn with 2 outs and the bases loaded symbolized the Nationals season so far. They CAN't get a break. That pitch was definitely a ball, but the ump didn't have the balls to call a ball, knowing that would deny Mr. Randy Johnson his 300th victory, at least until his next start! Seriously, did anyone other than the ump think that was a strike. Did anyone try to ask the ump about it after the game(s) or are the umps off limits to the media?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | June 5, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Ernie Banks: "Let's play two!"

Manny Acta: "Let's lose two!"

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | June 5, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Time to fire the pitching coach

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Time to fire the pitching coach

Posted by: Section506

Putting a major league defense in the field is going to make the pitching coach look like a genius.

Posted by: driley | June 5, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

hard to believe this team will probably be closing in on 50 "L's" around a week from now. There is absolutely nothing to look forward to as long as Acta stays in his current comatose position. As an STH its down right miserable.

In any other big leaue market the ground-swell to get this guy out of there would be over-whelming. Of course here in DC, the only outlet that talks sports doesn't even bother to about baseball or the Nats.
Nats-Talk live is an absolute joke, last night was really telling of the situation. People are calling in and laying it on thick and Byron Kerr says absolutely nothing. Gotta wonder if anyone in charge is even listening.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 5, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Jordan Zimmermann gets a L instead of a No Decision because of that phantom strike on Adam Dunn. Who knows what the outcome would have been after Dunn walks as the inning would have continued.

Hats off to the Giants on some really key defense except that Renteria error.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 5, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

when the Giants need history...they call the Nats.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | June 5, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

We should have named the team the Grays. It appears we have inherited the original Nationals' baseball acumen.

Posted by: Section506 | June 5, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

>Yeah, congrats to Johnson and all but I was really upset with that call. What the?

It wasn't so much the call, because you know the Nats will get screwed, lousy teams piss off the umps because they screw up and make them stand out in the rain, but the fact that Acta didn't even bother to come out and argue. So what - he gets thrown out for arguing balls and strikes, changes his uniform and comes back to manage the second game. The idiot couldn't even do that right. Next time they get screwed, guess what - Manny won't come out then either. 14-38 hear that abominable sucking sound on S. Cap.

Posted by: Brue | June 5, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Funny how the Nats seem to be the accidental tourists whenever a baseball super-star or a team on the verge of winning a division needs to get it done.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 5, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse in Washington has FINALLY arrived!!!!!!!

Posted by: bundy44 | June 5, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Of course here in DC, the only outlet that talks sports doesn't even bother to about baseball or the Nats. Nats-Talk live is an absolute joke, last night was really telling of the situation. People are calling in and laying it on thick and Byron Kerr says absolutely nothing. Gotta wonder if anyone in charge is even listening.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 5, 2009 8:16 AM

Ohh do I agree and let me add this about the two boys in the afternoon, one feels insulted if callers mention the Nats and the other loves to call them the Natinals with dripping snark in his voice.
Kerr last night was channeling Baghdad Bob, offering nothing but you have to think positive and it's nobody's real fault and look at all of these great things, When one caller made a great point at the opportunity, that is very lost now, to grab this towns attention from the Redskins was derailed by the FO's missteps all he could offer in response was they play at different times of the year.
It all feels that one is trying to express that there is a problem and they offer that the only problem is your thinking that there is a problem.

Posted by: CBinDC | June 5, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I was relieved that Dun got punched out. After all I had been through in the past 28 hours sitting trhough the delay on Wed. and schlepping the family down to the ball park twice in two nights, to have #300 blown by a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 8th would have really sucked. Don't get me wrong, I was rooting for the Nats. But to have history be that close and then lose it on something so lame...

This is the only time I think I've ever been happy to see Hanrahan come out of the bull pen. I knew that insurance for the Big Unit was on the way.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 5, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't Manny argue the Dunn call (which was absolutely HORRIBLE)?

Why did Manny put Hanrahan in to 'keep it close' (ha ha)?

Why did Manny's third base coach hold a runner with one out on a fly ball to left with Detwiler batting next?

Why didn't Manny pitch hit for Detwiler in the 4th under the weather circumstances?

Are any of these issues the purview of the pitching coach?

Posted by: raymitten | June 5, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

And, oh, by the way, I have nothing against Randy Johnson particularly, but I totally disagree with some of the posters and I was rooting hard for Johnson to lose this game and get his 300th win against someone else. I'm tired of the Mike Bascik/Washington Generals aspect of this team.

Posted by: raymitten | June 5, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Tippy Canoe: i was one of the callers during the rain delay in the second contest and the screener didn't know who was hosting the show and couldn't tell me how to pick up the broadcast on the internet(i'm in Atl.), and i'm thinking the ineptitude has spread to the call in show can it get any worse for this franchise?

Posted by: dargregmag | June 5, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

raymitten, I have nothing against Johnson, either, but I was also rooting for the Nats to win. Johnson pitched well during his innings but IMO it's more lame to save #300 with a blown call than to not get it because of a bases loaded walk.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 5, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

raymitten: I'm with you.

twinbrook: you give new importance to the definition of "loser". I'm appalled that you took your *family* out to teach them how to root against the hometown nine? I hope your children move to chicago and pittsburgh. Were you rooting for R. Johnson to win any of the previous 299 games just because he's a future HOFer? Just tell me you were wearing your Giants hat/jersey/stirrups.

History is made every night. Round numbers and records are fascinating but not particularly special. How much better it would have been to say that we *beat* the pitcher who beat so many others? Alas, our team stinks and we didn't ... no thanks to you.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 5, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Twinbrook you sound like some kind of front-running loser. You were rooting for the Nats yet you were happy that Dunn was called out on very bad call? You were happy to see Hanrahan because it would guarantee a San Fran victory?

You are a hypocrite and will probably not attend a game the rest of the year but brag to your friends that you were "there".

To be honest I don't see the big deal. Twenty-four other pitchers have done the same thing. I didn't even realize he was still in the league which shows how much I care about this guy.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 5, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

If you think this is embarrassing now, wait until the Red Sox come in later this month and all those Ivy Leaguers with high-level jobs in D.C. take over Nats Park to cheer them on, humiliating us "townies."

Posted by: VPaterno | June 5, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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