After Nationals starter Taylor Jordan left Sunday's game due to a fever, relievers Ross Detwiler and Aaron Barrett had trouble picking up where he left off.
Inheriting a game tied at one, Detwiler and Barrett combined to give up three runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched, the deciding difference in the Nats' loss to the Padres.
Detwiler gave up four hits and a walk, and also had a wild pitch, while Barrett allowed another hit and two walks, both to bring runners home with the bases loaded. Detwiler left with three earned runs, while Barrett walked away wondering if a change in his mechanics is needed.
Manager Matt Williams was direct in his description of both pitchers' problems.
"Lack of command," he said.
On Detwiler, Williams thinks his current role as long reliever may need to be adjusted to get him back on track. The lefty has now walked nine batters in eight appearances.
"It's difficult with Det because we try to get him into situations where he can go one-plus, but it's been sporadic," Williams said. "We'll look to get him in there more often, on a more regular basis. With the game today, we have to get him in there to get multiple innings. We need a long man in case we get back in the game."
Williams thinks the walks are a result of his transition from starter to reliever.
"The only thing that I can think of is the more he pitches, the better feel he's got. Being a former starter, he's got that routine certainly. Up until today he's walked some guys, but he's done really well. It's been sporadic though. If the games go our way, we'll see if we can get him in there in some lefty-lefty matchups on a more regular basis."
Detwiler said he felt fine in the bullpen before the game, but once he took the mound he didn't have a good feel for his pitches.
"I couldn't throw a strike," he said. "It's something where you go out there and you have to make an adjustment. I didn't and it pretty much cost us the game."
Detwiler gave up a run in the fifth inning on a single by Chris Denorfia. The hit scored Everth Cabrera who had just moved from second to third on Detwiler's wild pitch.
Detwiler then allowed a pair of one-out singles in the sixth inning before being replaced by Barrett. Barrett, who has been an early season surprise for the Nats, had perhaps his worst day in the majors so far.
Barrett gave up a quick single to a pinch-hitting Nick Hundley to load the bases before striking out pitcher Ian Kennedy. Then, with two outs, Barrett walked both Cabrera and Wil Venable to score two runs.
"I let the team down," Barrett said. "This is the big leagues and there's no excuse for it. I had the opportunity to leave those guys there and I didn't get it done. We could have tied that game. I didn't do my job, but I just gotta keep getting better and go get them next time."
Barrett, in fact, thinks his throwing motion was a bit off on Sunday. He watched film immediately after leaving the game and hopes to correct it before his next appearance.
"I looked at some film. I felt like I was rushing, rushing pretty bad," he said. "My leg drive was going forward before my arm even had a chance to catch up. Just something small that's mechanical that I gotta fix. At the end of the day, no matter what you're doing mechanically, mentally or physically, you gotta find a way to get guys out and I didn't do that today."