Want to feel the full weight of time. Attend a baseball game where 20 runners are left on base with a combined six runs scored and an one hour rain delay. However long it took the Nationals came out on top and they did so by scoring runs in the fourth inning on a Wilson Ramos ground out that scored Desmond from third, in the sixth inning on a mammoth Adam LaRoche two run homer, and finally in the eighth on a Kurt Suzuki sac fly.
This was not a game that anyone would call a fine display of baseball. The score was low and the Nats were able to win a tight game, but there were long innings for pitchers all night and base runners in almost every inning. Between the Giants and Nationals there were four 1-2-3 half innings all night. This was a game that wanted the viewer to feel the weight of time. Wanted them to understand how baseball can drag, but in the end the Nationals won.
The offense of the Nationals is either starting to come around, regress to the mean, or having a blip of good fortune depending on your view, but over the four game winning streak they have scored a total of 27 runs. They have done this before this season. The Nationals are a team that scores in bunches and then goes into extended slumps.
On the pitching side of the game Gio Gonzalez started the game and struggled through four scoreless innings and then the rain came and he and Bumgarner were washed from the game. Tanner Roark came in and pitched two innings allowing one run before giving way to Abad in the seventh. The use of Abad was to specifically get Brandon Belt out. Belt was the third batter of the inning. Before that Abad had to face a pinch hitter and a right hander. He got the pinch hitter out and gave up a hit to Arias. Mattheus then entered, allowed a run to score, and was bailed out on a sinking liner by Denard Span.
Davey Johnson’s bullpen usage has been puzzling all game and it always feels like he is saving a reliever for something else. Perhaps he didn’t trust Mattheus against the left handed pinch hitter that would have pinch hit instead of Brett Pill or he didn’t trust Abad and was certain someone would get on and bring Posey to the plate. Whatever the case was it felt like the order of pitchers should have been reversed.
It was a length game. A game that made the entirety of time ever apparent, but it was a game the Nats won, and a game the Nats needed to win. If they hope to crawl back into the NL Wild Card race they have to win as many games as possible. They have to have a near miraculous run. They have to come close to doing something that has only rarely been done in the history of baseball, and these ugly wins are something that have been missing for the Nats all season. They have either won blowouts or dominate pitching performance. The middle has been missing. It is August. It is too late to be finding it, but in order to win long stretches of games ugly not well played games must every now and then be wins.