Yeah, manager Davey Johnson’s face pretty much says it all right there.
The Nationals dropped the final game of a four game series against the Chicago Cubs 10-9 at Nationals Park. The Cubs avoid the sweep, but still go back to Chicago losers so congratulations to them on retaining the “loveable loser” moniker they’ve based their whole existence on. The Nationals record turns to 45-44. Their win streak is broken at three.
Hey, it happens. Losses happen. Streaks end. Thursday’s loss is just a loss– of franchise historic proportions. The Nats nabbed seven runs in the third-inning and followed up the next inning with another to make it 8-0. Everything was going great. The team was hitting, it was taking advantage of mistakes, the defense was making great plays and starter Livan Hernandez was throwing smoke. Then came the sixth-inning–
The offense shuts down, the Nats can’t seem to get an out and Livan Hernandez drops his jock and soils the mound by giving up six runs in the sixth-inning. 8-6, okay, no problem. The Nationals bullpen is usually pretty solid these days. But Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are overworked and need rest, the team’s most reliable and dominant pitchers. So manager Davey Johnson throws in Sean Burnett– who gives up a two-run bomb. 8-8. Okay, Nats can still win it. The Cubs score a run in the last two innings while the Nationals only score one and leave the tying run stranded on third base in the ninth. Game over. Nationals lose 10-9.
The Nationals just suffered the worst blown lead in franchise history. You know, I’m tickled pickled as is, but this performance might deserve another drink.
Holy bejesus, Nats, I think I voice all of Natstown by asking, “WTF was that?” A total and epic meltdown, that is what. The Nationals win the series and take 3-of-4 from Chicago, but somehow a loss of this much fail sort of erases the positive feelings about the series as a whole. I mean, blowing an eight run lead? I know we always joke that “no leads is safe when you are the Nationals” but maybe we shouldn’t. This game really puts that statement to the test. There is some real serious problems when a team does something like that.
From the looks of things a good portion of the message boards, social media and blogs are putting a lot of heat on reliever Sean Burnett for giving up that two-run shot. Some are asking for him to be tied to a burning tractor and tossed off the cliff in the mouth of a sperm whale and they would be justified in feeling that way. But really, the culprit and true goat of this game is Livan Hernandez.
We know Burnett is not the Burnett of 2010 and we expect a measure of bad pitching, but Livan? Livan is better than giving up six runs in one inning and putting Burnett even a position to fail. Old reliable, workhorse Livan. “Mr. National” gives so many in Natstown good feelings and good memories. Well, now he’ll also give you some nightmares like Thursday’s historic meltdown or at least he should. It is totally unacceptable for a pitcher of any kind to give up six runs in one inning, especially after your offense gives you more than enough to work with. Perhaps Livan grew a little too comfortable with an eight run lead, perhaps he got a little too lazy and sloppy. Whatever the case, this game needs to be hung on his head whether you love the guy or not. Unacceptable on any level.
Blowing an eight run lead? Just when you thought you’d seen it all the Nationals wheel a giant cake in front of you and pop out wearing nothing but Mickey Mouse ears and socks on their junks yelling, “Surprise!”