The Nationals continued the slump they started in San Diego, getting blown out by the San Francisco Giants, 8-0, in game one of a three game set in San Francisco.
The Nationals bats were especially cold tonight, amassing only three hits all game. That combined with the pitching styles of spot starter Zach Duke and fellow long men Craig Stammen and Henry Rodriguez and the Nats did not have much of a chance all night.
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong entered the game with an 8.06 ERA and 1.839 WHIP, struggling mightily to find the form that made him one of the best comeback stories in Major League Baseball in 2011 and 2012.
In the Nationals offense Vogelsong found a cure-all. He stymied the Nats bats for five innings, before leaving with a hand injury from getting hit by a pitch. Vogelsong allowed just three hits, all singles, while walking just one batter and striking out two. The Nationals most effective batters against Vogelsong were pitchers Duke and Stammen, who hit a single and drew a walk in their respective at-bats against him.
Despite the hitting success, neither Nats pitcher could find the same success on the mound. Duke was only able to go 3.1 innings, just getting into the 3-5 inning range Davey Johnson gave for him. Duke gave up two runs on his own, both earned, on seven hits and one strikeout. He left the game with runners on first and third and that’s when Stammen entered.
Stammen proceeded to allow both of his inheirted runners to score, upping Duke’s tally to four, before giving up a run of his own. Stammen gave up another run in the fifth inning when he gave up a home run to Giants first baseman Brandon Belt. Stammen exited after 2.2 innings, giving up seven hits as well, while striking out one and walking none.
Henry Rodriguez entered in the seventh inning and ran into trouble of his own. Two walks and two hits led to two runs, as the Giants extended their lead to 8-0.
Despite throwing 21 pitches on Sunday and 30 in the seventh, Rodriguez came back out for the eighth inning. He did much better, allowing only a single to Buster Posey and walking Hunter Pence, before ending the inning for a scoreless eighth. Between Sunday and tonight Rodriguez threw 68 pitches, a gutsy performance for a guy not used to firing so many bullets.
To add injury to insult it was announced after the game that reliever Ryan Mattheus broke his hand after punching his locker Sunday after giving up five runs to the Padres and will go on the disabled list. With a short bullpen due to the spot start, relievers Fernando Abad and Yunesky Maya will come up from AAA, with outfielder Eury Perez heading back down.
The Nationals look to get back on track in game two, with Stephen Strasburg taking the mound, facing off against Matt Cain.