Stephen Strasburg's teammates let him down again in loss

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After getting stuck with a loss and a no-decision despite allowing one run in each of his previous two starts Stephen Strasburg’s teammates let him down again last night versus the Braves.
The lineup failed to score a run in seven innings, shortstop Ian Desmond committed his 19th error by booting a double play that at least would have kept the score 0-0, and Sean Burnett allowed both inherited runners to score after coming on in relief.
Don’t let the box score fool you. Strasburg was good. His teammates stunk.
He’s now just 2-2 in five starts despite a 2.27 ERA, .216 opponents’ batting average, and 48/7 K/BB ratio in 31.2 innings. And if Desmond makes that play or the Nationals don’t completely implode behind Strasburg after the botched DP his ERA would still be under 2.00.
Strasburg is every bit as amazing as even the most ridiculous hype claimed he would be, but he’s still not good enough to make up for the other 24 guys on a team that has lost nearly two-thirds of their games over the past three seasons.
Finding a way to give him proper offensive, defensive, and bullpen support yet this season is probably asking too much, but hopefully the Nationals can make some major strides this offseason so the early years of Strasburg’s career aren’t littered with losses and no-decisions in games he pitched brilliantly.
With even average support Strasburg could easily be 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA right now.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.