Natspos 8, Braves 1

ESPN.com – MLB – Box Score – Nationals at Braves

E: A LaRoche (2, ground ball)

For a while there — when it looked like a shutout was in order — I was kind of hoping that the Braves could give up one more run, so they could lose 9-0, the official score of a forfeit. That would perfectly symbolize how Adam LaRoche gave up on a play, leading to a blowout.

The situation: The Braves trail 1-0 on Soriano’s solo homer, his twelfth of the season, all of which seemingly have been against the Braves. Thomson gets the first two of the fifth, then gives up a two-out single to Vidro. No biggie, because he gets Nick Johnson to hit a soft groundout to first.

Except that Adam LaRoche, who is coming dangerously close to the Lockhart Line, decides that it’s not important to actually get Johnson, and walks — no, shuffles — to the bag. Johnson, who is a real major leaguer, hustles to the bag and beats him. Essentially, Johnson runs 90 feet in about the time it takes LaRoche to go 15. According to a precedent set with Andruw in 1998 — in a game the Braves had much less chance of winning — LaRoche should have been pulled right there. Except that Bobby didn’t pull him. Maybe he thought that LaRoche would get enough punishment, or that the team had a better chance of winning with LaRoche (who was leading off the next inning) than without.

Except that the wheels completely came off right then. Thomson didn’t get another batter. Three hits later, it’s 5-0, and he only got out of the inning when McCann threw out Zimmerman trying to steal. Thomson has to deserve a lot of the blame, and it’s really kind of ridiculous that in an inning in which he gave up four hits none of the four runs were scored as earned, but Good God, LaRoche has to make that play.

After that, the Braves didn’t mount a threat — their only real scoring opportunity was in the third when Chipper struck out on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded two out. It was a heckuva a pitch, though. From then on, they really didn’t look interested, and who can blame them. Maybe it was the pink bats. Betemit hit a pinch-homer in the ninth for their only run.

Moylan stunk up the sixth, though frankly I was pretty sure a comeback wasn’t in order, allowing three runs. (His ERA is now 9.53.) McBride, Remlinger, and Paronto finished it without any further damage, but it really didn’t matter.

Everything should be fixed tomorrow, but I don’t know what shape the new comments system will take. We’ll learn together, I guess.

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