Matt Williams cost the Nats the game last night (April 21). In the 8th inning Tyler Clippard was on the mound. An Angels rally was gathering steam with two dangerous left-handed batters coming up (Aybar and Raul Ibanez). Ibanez is a well-known “Nats-Killer”. Everyone knows Clippard is having serious problems with Lefties, especially this year. The Nats had 3 left-handed pitchers in the pen and Cedeno was all warmed up. But Matt stuck with Clippard! I was screaming at my TV! I think even my 5-yr old grandson would have brought in Cedeno 🙂 So the bottom line is the Angels proceeded to score 4 runs as both batters came through with base hits, and Ibanez hit his over Bryce’s head in left field!
Ian Desmond’s 2 errors in the inning didn’t help! But errors happen, while manager decisions are avoidable.
The game on April 17 was the Nats worst since before they got hot in August 2013. I could see from their body language that by the fifth inning they had given up. Starting pitching was supposed to be a team strong point, but it certainly hasn’t been this year. The starters’ ERA is near the bottom in all of baseball. The Nats are losing the first two innings by a huge margin as their pitchers try to get comfortable with their pitches and feel for the release-point. Manager Matt Williams stressed defense during Spring Training, but the team has more errors than any team in baseball right now. He also emphasized aggressive base-running, and the Nats have only stolen one base thus far and their star third-baseman Ryan Zimmerman ran himself right onto the DL with a broken finger. Adam Laroche has been thrown out at home three times already. One wonders what the third-base coach is smoking when he keeps waving the slowest guy on the team towards home! In 17 games I have stopped counting the base-running miscues.
After the game, knowing the manager had called a team meeting right after the last out, he was then asked by a sportswriter what they had discussed. “That’s for me and my team to know” was his red-faced response.
I rest my case.