The Nats overall are 8-4 in one run games and that might lead people to believe that they have done a good job of winning the close ones, and while they did end up winning yesterday, the way they went about it is not the path to success. Against Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner the Nationals scored a combined three runs. That by itself may not sound good and no one is denying that the Nats offense has been scuffling, but Matt Cain holds a career 3.35 ERA and is one of the best pitchers in the NL. Madison Bumgarner is a rising star and has been the Giants best starter this season and his career 3.17 ERA isn't too shabby either, and while they Nats struggled to score runs against Cain and Bumgarner the Giants scored a combined one run against Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. In other words, the Nats starters were just that much better.
In both games the Nats entered the late
innings with a one run lead and handed the ball to a bullpen that was believed
to be one of the best in the NL and in both games the Nats bullpen blew it and
forced the game into extra innings. The Nats ended up splitting these two
games, but they should have won both of them. These
games represent what playoff baseball is like. Whether it is
Strasburg vs. Cain, Gio vs. Bumgarner or Strasburg vs. Cueto, Gio vs. Latos or
Strasburg vs. Wainwright, Gio vs. Miller; if the Nats starters out-duel the
other team’s top pitchers they have to win the game. This is how the Nats are
ultimately going to win a World Series. While the lack of offense and ability
to score runs is very alarming the more alarming aspect of these last two games
was the Nats inability to close out games, and this isn't the first time it has
happened this season.