Major League Baseball is a six-month marathon. So does Bryce Harper get frustrated in April, the first month of that marathon?
“Me personally? There are times at the plate you get frustrated,” outfielder Harper said after the Nationals lost 2-1 on Friday night to the Colorado Rockies.
Now may be one of those times for his team.
Considered pre-season division favorites again, the Nationals were held to just four hits and lost on a gorgeous 81-degree evening at Nationals Park.
The Nationals (6-8), who have dropped three straight, have lost six of their first eight home games and are six games back of the New York Mets, who won their ninth game in a row Friday.
The Nationals have scored 21 runs in the last nine outings. Washington had no extra-base hits and struck out 10 times in the loss against the Rockies before a crowd of 32,702, the largest since Opening Day.
“We are going to hit. I know that,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said after the loss.
“It has been magnified. It has hurt us,” Martinez said of errors in key spots.
Harper, batting with the bases loaded in the fifth, had a sacrifice fly to score pitcher Tanner Roark (1-1) and tie the game at 1-1.
“I had an opportunity with the bases loaded,” said Harper, who wanted to drive in more than one run in that situation. “You have to keep grinding.”
Gonzalez gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead when he hit a solo homer off Roark with two outs in the fourth.
Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hit a long foul that had home run distance before flying out to center to end the third inning with two runners on base.
Zimmerman is hitting .116, catcher Matt Wieters is batting .100, center fielder Michael A. Taylor has an average of .160, Turner is at .208 and even Harper has seen his average drop to .267.
Anthony Rendon (.286), the Nationals third baseman, had two walks and a single in three trips to the plate before he was replaced after he fouled a ball off his toe. X-rays were negative and Martinez is not sure if he will be able to play Saturday.
Roark went six innings and allowed two runs on just three hits, with just one of the runs earned.
Colorado lefty pitcher Kyle Freeland entered the game with an ERA of 5.56 this season and had struggled in a previous outing against the Nationals last year. But he gave up just one run in four and two-thirds inning Friday and the Colorado bullpen shut down the Nationals from there.
Washington ace Max Scherzer, trying to snap the losing skid, will face the Rockies on Saturday at1:05 p.m. He fanned 10 with no walks and gave up just two hits in a shutout win at home Monday over the Atlanta Braves.
Murphy on the mend
Washington second baseman Daniel Murphy, on the disabled list, took batting practice on the field before Thursday’s game with the Rockies. He may make a minor league rehab assignment at some point in the next week or so, according to Martinez. Murphy had knee surgery in October and did not appear in spring training games in Florida.
Turner plans youth clinic
Nationals shortstop Turner will give a baseball clinic at Annandale High School in Northern Virginia on July 30 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration and more information is available at TreaTurnerCamp.com.
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