5 People Nationals Fans Should Blame More Than Pete Kozma

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Pete Kozma has invited the wrath of Washington Nationals fans for his role in The Worst Thing That Ever Happened, otherwise known as Game 5 of last season’s NLDS.

Human beings love to scapegoat.  The rest is just nonsense.  Here are five people more responsible than Pete Kozma for one of the biggest collapses in baseball history.

5. Gio Gonzalez

Gio had a 6-0 lead in the top of the fourth and a 6-1 lead in the top of the fifth.  If Gio had simply thrown strikes, he likely would have cruised into the later innings with a significant lead.  Instead, he walked 4 batters over those two innings, letting two walked batters score.  Gio left the game with a 3-run lead in the sixth inning, turning the game over to a tired bullpen.

4.  Ian Desmond

People forget that the game-tying hit in the ninth inning just missed Desmond’s glove.  A quicker shortstop would have kept the tying run at third base, and better positioning would have ended the game.  Desmond’s defense has drawn scrutiny this season.  Perhaps the scrutiny should have started last October.

3.  Carlos Beltran

Beltran reached base all five times he batted that night, scoring twice.  He also started the ninth inning rally with a double deep to right centerfield.  If Beltran had simply grounded out in his final at-bat, we might have seen a 1-2-3 inning, and a Nationals on-field celebration.

2.  Daniel Descalso

Pete Kozma would have never batted had Daniel Descalso not tied the game with the aforementioned hit off Desmond’s glove.  It was Descalso batting with two outs and the bases loaded down 7-5, not Kozma.  Descalso broke the Nationals back with that game-tying hit.  Kozma merely put them out of their misery.  Additionally, Descalso hit the home run narrowing the score to 6-5 in the top of the eight inning.

1.  Drew Storen

Gave up 4 runs in the ninth inning.  Case closed.  Couldn’t throw a strike when a strike would have ended the game.  Entrusted to close it out and he couldn’t do it.

Honorable mention: Davey Johnson for refusing to intentionally walk Kozma with the pitching position due to bat next.  At a minimum, walking Kozma would have forced Cardinals closer Jason Motte out of the game, giving the Nats a chance to win in the bottom of the ninth with the top of the order batting.

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