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October 8, 2012 / Nat Anacostia

NLDS game two

This was one of those games we’d all like to forget about and move on. The Cardinals have the type of offense where this type of game is always a risk – in seven regular season games, the Nats gave up 10 or more runs in three of them.

None of the Nats pitchers looked sharp. They were leaving stuff over the plate. Jordan Zimmermann tends to keep the ball in the strike zone, which is generally an advantage (since he gives up few walks), but the Cardinals were able to take advantage and hammer his pitches. He seemed to be keeping stuff up in the zone, and when he missed his spots, they were ready to hit it. I was surprised to see Davey Johnson call on Craig Stammen again – he didn’t look sharp yesterday and was no better today. At least Christian Garcia had good stuff, but he was unusually wild too, walking two batters.

While most commentary has seen the extra game played by the wild card teams as a disadvantage, I can see that there’s also a sense in which the extra days off is a disadvantage for the division winners, as pitchers (especially) struggle to find the zone after the extra days off. The extra adrenaline from playing in the post season is probably also a factor.

The bottom line from today’s game is that the Nats were simply outplayed. The pitchers didn’t have good command; they made errors in the field and—in the case of Bryce Harper—on the base paths; and the batters struggled a bit.

The first game win is especially important now, as the series returns to Washington with the Nats still in a good position to win. But to do so, they can’t afford another game played like today’s.

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