The Nationals are still in the midst of a roller coaster type season. Up one day, down the next and yesterday's game against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates was no exception.
In losing to the Pirates 5 - 3, there were some bright spots in the losing effort. Despite struggling through the first five innings, the later innings showed improvement and a sense of urgency. It was just too little, too late.
Pittsburgh's James McDonald chalked up 10 strike outs in the first 5 innings alone. In those 5 innings, only Zimmerman, LaRoche and Espinosa were able to hit the ball out of the infield.
Nationals Manager Davey Johnson said of Zimmerman, "That was his worst outing of the season. He was rushing. That's not typical Zimm."
In the sixth inning the Nationals started to figure out McDonald and scored three runs. The Pirates made it a two run game in the top of the seventh, with Juan Cruz pitching.
The team had opportunities to put the Pirates away and just never capitalized on them. However, it shows they weren't willing to go down without a fight, something that many fans would say was missing from this team's efforts in the past.
They're playing with a sense of pride and expectation. With so many young players in place, it's up to Davey Johnson to guide them towards consistency.