Good, Bad & Ugly: Nationals Bullpen Implodes (Again) in Loss To Pirates

Dave Nichols@@DaveNicholsDSPSenior Analyst IMay 19, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 12:  Manager Manny Acta of the Washington Nationals sits in the dugout during a rain delay before the game against the Atlanta Braves April 12, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

"If I have to keep a Double-A guy out there because I don't want to go to my big league bullpen, then that's really scary."Manny Acta, May 19, 2009

THE RESULT:  Ross Detwiler, making his second-career appearance and first major league start, pitched well enough to win, and his offense scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to give him a chance to win.

Unfortunately, that left four innings up to the bullpen. And as they have all season long, the bullpen provided no relief whatsoever, giving up a total of nine runs, and the Washington Nationals lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 12-7 before an announced crowd of 14,549.

Detwiler, 23, the Nationals first round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, went five innings and gave up four hits and no walks, striking out six. He gave up three runs on a single, hit-by-pitch, and three-run home run by veteran outfielder Craig Monroe.

The youngster threw 84 pitches, 61 for strikes. The story of the game should revolve around him.

What will linger on sports radio and in blog comments sections will be how bad the bullpen was once again.

Garrett Mock relieved Detwiler in the sixth and promptly walked the first batter he facedon four pitches!

That batter, Adamn LaRoche, took second on a wild pitch, and Mock hit catcher Robinzon Diaz with his very next offering.

After a successful sacrifice, Mock gave up a two-run double to light-hitting Jack Wilson. Wilson would be Mock's last batter.

Jesus Colome entered, but he would be no better. He was hit hard for two doubles and a single, and three more runs.

Just like that, a rookie's first win turned into another miserable night at the ballpark for anyone wearing a Nats hat.

Adding insult to injury, newly re-appointed closer Joel Hanrahan was torched in the ninth for three runs on two hits and two walks, further fouling the moods of the few that stuck around to the end.

THE TAKEAWAY:  It would be hard to take seven pitchers and ask them to be this bad.  The Nats bullpen is a combined 1-13 with a 6.68 ERA.  Washington has now lost 10 games this eason when they've scored six or more runs.  They have lost six games when scoring seven or more.

In the last nine games, the Nats have averaged 6.3 runs per game.  Their record:  1-8.

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THE GOOD:  Ross Detwiler. He threw strikes. He kept his head down when ridiculous errors were being made behind him. He showed poise by striking out the next batter after giving up the home run.

He probably won't be in the bigs long, as the team plans to sent him back out to Syracuse. But he showed enough tonight to show he'll belong here when he gets back.

THE BAD:  Take your pick. Mock. Colome. Wells. Hanrahan. They're all a mess.

THE UGLY:  For the love of god, where the hell was Cristian Guzman's head in the top of the first? Two completely indefensible errors behind a pitcher making his first major league start. I could have made either play.

They were both slow hit rollers that Guz barely had to move his feet on, and he kicked them both. Probably cost Detwiler an inning because of all the extra pitches he had to throw.

Hernandez/Bard turned an out at home into another error, and Nick Johnson let a pick-off throw hit him in the chest.

Washington has now committed 41 errors in 39 games. 

NEXT GAME:  We get to do it all again tomorrow! Shairon Martis (5-0, 4.10) takes on Jeff Karstens (1-2, 5.06).

NOTES:  Guzman had two hits to raise his average to .385. He finally drew his first walk of the season, getting a fifth-inning pass in his 122nd plate appearance.

Ryan Zimmerman continued a 36-game on-base streak with a monster solo home run.

For more coverage of the Washington Nationals, please visit Nats News Network.