Defense lost Friday night’s game for the Washington Nationals. Left-handed starter Scott Olsen was by no means of Cy Young caliber on the mound, but he pitched a decent game. His problems weren’t his control or pitch count; it was his team’s errors in the field and inability to provide run support.
In the span of five batters, the Nats committed three errors in the third – one of which was rescored later in the game by officials – against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“The first couple innings we didn’t play tight defense. We weren’t sharp defensively, we made [Olsen] throw way too many pitches,” Riggleman said.
Olsen threw six innings and only gave up one earned run after striking out five and allowing a towering homerun off the bat of Albert Pujols to reach the outterbanks of the outfield.
The Nats stranded a season high 14 base runners in last night’s contest which means they had more than an ample opportunity to change the eventual 4-2 outcome where St. Louis wins.
“The opportunities are out there,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “I certainly would rather be out there [and] not have them come in than not be out there at all because then it means we’re competitive with tough pitchers and tough ball clubs that we’re facing.”
Washington tried to rally late after an unlikely Willie Harris pinch-hit solo homer to the right field bullpen broke up the shutout. Michael Morse knocked a hard hit triple to right field as well but was left stranded at third to end the game.
“It can get a little frustrating. I know our ball players are frustrated. We’re all disappointed, which we said the other night about where we are in the standings and what are our record is, but we got to take a something from the fact that we’re not there yet ,” Riggleman said.
Tonight: St. Louis RHP Kyle Lohse (2-5, 6.47) faces off against RHP Livan Hernandez (8-9, 3.36) in game three of the series from Nationals Park at 7:05.