One after the other, Washington Nationals players tried and failed to field the baseball last night at Turner Field. It began with Michael Morse, who was unable to handle a liner at first base in the first inning that bounced off his chest. Then he made the situation worse with an errant throw to pitcher Livan Hernandez, who was running to cover the bag.
Also in the first, shortstop Ian Desmond misplayed a ball that should have been a routine out, and in the second, Morse committed his third error this season after having made one since 2006.
The fielding meltdown was complete when Ryan Zimmerman, the 2009 Gold Glove winner at third base, had a ball roll through his legs in to the outfield in the sixth, allowing Atlanta to extend its lead.
Following a game in which Washington matched its season high for errors, some players said the surface was producing unwieldy bounces. Apparently it didn’t affect the Braves, who played errorfree.
“I don’t like to talk about fields a lot because people put in a lot of hard work to make that field and keep it” playable, said Zimmerman, who made his sixth error this season. “It’s interesting right now, I guess you could say.”
The last time the Nationals made five errors was on June 28 in an 11-5 loss at the Los Angeles Angels. But they didn’t have four days off before that game, and it wasn’t on a surface with which Washington fielders ought to be familiar considering the volume of games they play in Atlanta.
Both Morse and Desmond said they had no explanation for the errors, with Morse calling it just another typical baseball game.
“I don’t think anybody did anything differently,” said Desmond, who has 13 errors this season. “I don’t think anybody was by any means scared of the ball. It’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.”