Good, Bad and Ugly: Washington Nationals Lose to Atlanta Braves, 1-0

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2009

ATLANTA - APRIL 11: Pitcher John Lannan #31 of the Washington Nationals throws against the Atlanta Braves on April 11, 2009 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Michael Hinckley issued two walks in the top of the ninth, the second of which forced in the only run of the ballgame, and the Washington Nationals (3-11) lost to the Atlanta Braves, 1-0.

The loss ruined a terrific effort from their starter John Lannan. Lannan threw seven innings of five-hit shut out ball, walking just two and striking out four. But as it happened all last season, and once already this season, the bats fell silent during Lannan's start.

Nick Johnson continued his torrid pace, going 2-for-4 and raising his average to .380. But the Nats only managed four other hits, one of which was from Lannan himself.

Braves starter Jair Jurrjens deserves a fair amount of credit for that. He went seven and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits and two walks with four strikeouts. But twice the Nationals got lead-off doubles, only to strand the runner without damage.

Gotta feel for Lannan.
He was in the bottom 10 in terms of run support for starting pitchers last year, and it looks like it's happening all over again this season. But the last two times out, he's looked like the John Lannan the Washington Nationals expected, and frankly, needs.

John Lannan. Your already saw the stats. Nick Johnson; 2-for-4.

Again, ninth inning pitching. Garrett Mock breezed through the eighth, but allowed to come back in the ninth giving up a hit and a walk. Hinckley walked both batters he faced, forcing in a run. Not good.

THE UGLY: Kearns. Pinch-hitting in the seventh with a runner on second and two outs, he swung at the first pitch and popped out to end the inning. Yo, Austin: Take a pitch!

NEXT GAME: Nats are off Thursday. They travel to New York for a weekend series with the Mets at brand new CitiField.
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