Instant Analysis: Reds 15, Nats 0

Instant Analysis: Reds 15, Nats 0
April 5, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Game in a nutshell: Hmm, remember when everyone was debating whether the Nationals' pitching staff would ever give up a run? Yeah, not so much anymore. The Reds feasted on everybody Davey Johnson sent to the mound on this night, racking up six home runs (most ever surrendered by the Nats) and 15 total runs (most allowed since 2007). Dan Haren, in a debut performance he won't want to remember, made it through only four innings, serving up the first four homers. Zach Duke, Henry Rodriguez and Ryan Mattheus then couldn't stop the bleeding. When it was all said and done, the Nationals had suffered the most-lopsided defeat in club history (2005-present) and pretty much erased all the good vibes from their 3-0 start to the season. Sure, it's only one game, and it won't mean anything tomorrow. But this was a legitimate, old-fashioned beat down at the hands of a very good opponent.

Hitting lowlight: With an 0-for-3 night, Adam LaRoche now finds himself in an 0-for-13 funk to begin the season. LaRoche, of course, is a notoriously slow starter (except for last season) but this doesn't appear to be one of those cases. He has legitimately hit the ball well through the first four games, especially during the home series against the Marlins. This feels more like a case of bad luck than a bad hitting approach, but the longer the 0-fer continues, the more possibility there is of this getting in LaRoche's head and perhaps turning into something more significant.

Pitching lowlight: Though Haren might well become a major contributor for the Nationals this season, something about this matchup just felt ominous for the veteran right-hander. He hadn't pitched in 10 days. He was facing one of the most-potent lineups in the NL. And he was doing it in one of the majors' smallest ballparks. That indeed proved to be a bad combination. The Reds hammered Haren, crushing four homers over a 10-batter span between the second and fourth innings. In his defense, three of the four barely cleared the short fences here at Great American Ball Park, and two of them might have been aided by fans reaching over the fence. Still, Haren grooved way too many pitches and continued his disturbing trend of giving up home runs from spring training. It's only one start, and he'll get to take the mound at Nationals Park next week against the White Sox, but this was about as bad a debut as Haren could have imagined with his new club.

Key stat: Dating back to last season, Nationals pitchers have now surrendered nine home runs in their last two games at Great American Ball Park.

Up next: The Nationals won't have much time to stew over their first loss of the season. They'll be right back here at 1:10 p.m. Saturday, with Ross Detwiler making his season debut against right-hander Mike Leake.