Patrick Corbin had his struggles very early on tonight. Yunel Escobar hit the third pitch Corbin threw on the night for a solo home run to get the game started for the Nationals. Then, a single and a double by Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper respectively put runners on second and third, and no one out. Rendon scored and Harper moved to third on a Ryan Zimmerman single to put the Nationals up by two, but they weren't done yet. Jayson Werth grounded into a force out for the out of the inning, bur Harper scored, and Werth took first on the play. The Nats got another baserunner in the inning, but Corbin was able to end the inning without more damage, but not before all nine Nationals went to the plate.
In the second, Corbin's struggles on the night continued. Escobar lead off the inning again, but this time only managed a single off Patrick. Rendon flew out. However, Corbin walked Harper to put two on, one out. Chip Hale saw enough at this point, and pulled him very early in favor of Josh Collmenter. Josh came in, and almost immediately ended the inning, thanks to Zimmerman grounding into a double play. 3-0 Nationals.
Now, if you thought that the Diamondbacks were doomed giving up a three run lead so early on, while facing Max Scherzer, you could be forgiven. However, even the best pitchers can have a bad inning, and tonight was Scherzer's turn. His bad inning came in the fourth when he allowed eight Dbacks to go to the plate. Somewhat surprisingly, the inning started off with Paul Goldschmidt striking out, continuing one of the worst slumps of his career. Peralta got the inning going better with a one out walk. Jake Lamb followed that up with a single, putting runners on first and third, one out. Jarrod Saltalamacchia got an RBI single to put the Diamondbacks on the board. Chris Owings was up next, and hit a double down the line. It easily scored Lamb, and was deep enough, and the throw home was bad enough, that Salty was able to score, tying the game. Nick Ahmed would walk, but Scherzer would return to his old form and strike out the next two batters to end the inning in a tie.
There it would stay for a while. The Diamondbacks bullpen kept the Nationals scoreless in innings two through seven, while Max Scherzer did the same to the Diamondbacks. What ended up being the difference tonight was the eighth inning. David Hernandez was brought in and fell victim to one of the most inconsistent strike zones I have seen in a long time. I'm really not sure what he could have done with the umpire taking away a huge chunk of the zone from him and the Diamondbacks. Ultimately, he gave up two runs, and that ended up being the difference in the game.
The Dbacks did add one off Jonathon Paplebon in the ninth, but they weren't able to rally back. The final ended up being 5-4 Nationals, setting up the rubber game of the series tomorrow.
If you will allow me to editorialize for a moment, it's nights like this that make me not mind players "showing up umpires" if I can use a quote from GuruB in the GDT (no disrespect meant, Guru :-). The umpires, more and more frequently, are becoming part of the game in decisive way. They are not meant to be the show, and yet, somehow, they are becoming the show. Now, I'm honestly not sure if Robotumps are the way to go, or even if the concept would truly work in a real word scenario, and I'm not necessarily calling for them, however, if this trend of horrible umpiring continues, we really need to expect, and honestly support, outbursts from players. I'm going to go ahead and say it. When one man, who isn't playing the game, can influence the outcome of the game so completely, intentional or otherwise, it negatively impacts the integrity of the game. If I can look at my Twitter timeline every single day and see at least one, usually more, baseball games being marred by horrendous officiating, something needs to be done. I don't have the answers, nor do I claim to, but MLB needs to do something, before the umpires in baseball become a complete joke, similar to what has happened in the NBA.
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-08-04&team=Nationals&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-08-04&team=Nationals&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
Robot Umps: Josh Collmenter, 18.0%, Andrew Chafin, 15.3%
Actual Umpires: David Hernandez, -34.6%, Patrick Corbin -27.3%
There were 523 comments on the night, split between 23 commenters. All present were:
AzDbackfanInDc, Craig from Az, DeadmanG, GuruB, Jim McLennan, JoeCB1991, Makakilo, MrMrrbi, Re Tired, SedonaRed24, SongBird, asteroid, danzews7, freeland1787, gamepass, hotclaws, imstillhungry95, noblevillain, onedotfive, piratedan7, preston.salisbury, shoewizard, thunderpumpkin87
As for COTN, I'm going to give it to onedotfive for basically saying my thoughts on how the team played, if you take out the bad umpireing