On the last day of last August, the Nats enjoyed a fabulous Friday night at home. Gio Gonzalez threw a complete game shutout, the first of his career. Ryan Zimmerman homered. Jayson Werth had three hits. Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche both drove in two runs. And the Nats routed the Cardinals, 10-0.
Since then, Friday nights have turned into a horror show for the Nats, a night of sadness and regret, a weekly helping of spoiled milk and moldy crusts, a long and terrifying stare into the existential abyss.
In what must be one of the wackiest streaks going in Major League Baseball, Washington has now lost eight straight games on Friday — four in September, three this April, and one particularly nasty game in October, which you might remember, if the meds have worn off.
And yet, in non-Friday games since Sept. 1, the Nats are 30-16, a winning percentage of .652. (That includes 10-5 this season.) Small sample size, sure, but no MLB team has finished with a winning percentage that high since 2001. That’s some high-quality baseball being played, but only Saturday-Thursday.
Overall, of course, the Nats are a .555 team since Sept. 1. My pal Neil Greenberg says the chances of a .555 team losing any eight particular games is about 0.2 percent.
And the scores on Friday have been ghastly: A 12-2 rout in St. Louis. A 15-0 thrashing in Cincinnati. A 7-1 loss to Matt Harvey and the Mets. And that aforementioned pile of vomit from October.
In total, the Nats have outscored opponents 218-184 on non-Friday games since Sept. 1. On Friday games? They’re getting outscored, 64-24.
The Reds are in town this Friday night. Pray for rain. Pray for snow. Pray for a plague of locusts, or a cicada invasion, or a water main break, or Pete Kozma accidentally tripping over a cord, causing a massive power outage throughout the city. Just pray that the Nationals do not have to play an actual baseball game.