Existential crisis for Nats fans after latest bullpen meltdown

Ben Krimmel
May 23, 2019 - 9:30 am

Well, it happened again. 

The Washington Nationals had a lead late in the game, but the bullpen couldn't hang on to it. Wednesday night it was the 8th inning (as it always seems to be) when Kyle Barraclough and Sean Doolittle combined to allow six runs to score in the Nats 6-1 defeat. Washington is now 19-30 on the season.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer outdueled Mets' ace Jacob deGrom, scattering four hits over six innings while walking two and striking out 9. He dropped his ERA to 3.41 on the season, but Washington fell to 2-9 in games he starts. 

After Barraclough sandwiched a double with a strikeout and a groundout and the Nats were one out away from escaping damage. But after a two-out walk, manager Dave Martinez turned to Doolittle to get the four-out save. But the Nats closer hit the first batter before allowing a bases-clearing double to Juan Lagares. The Nats were crushed.

And then it got worse. After an intentional walk, Rajai Davis hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat with the Mets.

“I’m really frustrated,” Doolittle said after the game. “I’m disgusted with myself. I let the team down and it hurts.”

“It’s a tough spot to come in,” Doolittle said. “And with the context of how our season is going, it hurts even more.”

The Nationals bullpen ERA has now ballooned to 6.89, the worst in all of baseball. Nearly one run worse than the hapless Baltimore Orioles.

“It was shocking. That’s a good word for it,” Martinez said. “He’s the best, the best we have and he comes through in those moments.”

“I tell them all the time: This thing will turn around,” the Nationals manager said. “It’s going to turn around, but we have to believe that it will. We have to will it. It’s time that we just believe that we’re good enough to play here, cause we are. And we’ve got to make it happen. We’ve got to make things happen. And stay strong. Stay together. Stay strong. Pull for your teammates. And this thing will turn around.”

“No one likes to lose. Everyone hates losing. Everyone in here hates to lose,” Scherzer said. “You don’t have time to feel sorry for yourself. You got to come out tomorrow and just compete. There’s nothing else you can do.”

The bullpen is getting most of the blame, but the Nationals offense hasn't performed either.

Nearly one third of the 2019 season is gone and the Nats are totally adrift in a sea of trobles.

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