Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
None of the Nationals looked comfortable at the plate tonight.
Of course, the way things have been going for the last month, you just had a feeling they'd find a way to miss out. And sure enough, when Ivan Rodriguez came to bat in the sixth with the bases loaded, nobody out and right-hander Peter Moylan fresh out of the Braves bullpen, that dreaded moment occurred.
Rodriguez took a hack at Moylan's first pitch and smacked it right at shortstop Yunel Escobar, who set in motion the 6-4-3 double play that all but killed any chance the Nationals had of winning this game.
"I think that's a good pitch to hit," Rodriguez said. "In that situation, with guys like that who throw sidearm, they're very difficult to pick up the ball. Sometimes, you've got to jump early, and the first pitch he throws for a strike you've got to make a swing at it. That's what I did. I hit it hard, right at him."
There's no sense debating hitting philosophy with a guy who may become the first catcher in history to join the 3,000-hit club, so you have to give Pudge the benefit of the doubt here. But the squandered opportunity did expose one of this team's biggest weaknesses: They