Being your typical superstitious baseball fan I didn’t want to vocalize it by writing it here, but my greatest fear going into the 2014 playoffs was that the Nats’ offense would revert to its previous frustrating ways, namely failing to get hits in the clutch and mostly scoring via (usually solo) home runs. It was formula that we saw all too often from this team during the first two-thirds of last season and much of the first half of this one.
Fittingly it was Ian Desmond, the Nats hitter who most epitomizes an all-or-nothing approach at the plate, who was this big goat in their 3-2 game one loss. Up twice in the the later innings with a total of five runners on base, Desmond struck out meekly each time, doing so in the second at bat by waving at two pitches so far outside they practically crossed into the left-handed batter’s box.
Given his first chance on the big stage, Stephen Strasburg also reverted to his subpar form of earlier this season, but he was able to limit the damage and overall the pitching staff did its job by holding the Giants to just three runs (only two earned). All it would have taken to win this game was one timely hit. But the Nats, especially Desmond, just didn’t have it in them.
This is also why I hate the short five-game NLDS format. We’re only one game in and already the Nats’ backs are up against the wall. Hopefully, things will go better offensively tomorrow with me in the stadium for my one ticketed game of this series. They have to, or the Nats will be unlikely to return from the West Coast with any more games remaining to be played this season.