All year long the Nats have scrapped, fought, and picked up their fallen teammates. None of that has been apparent in the last two games of their NLDS with the Cardinals. Game 3 was much the same as Game 2, except the Nats showed even less determination and focus.
Peter Kozma crushed a three-run homer off Edwin Jackson in the second inning to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. It was more than enough. The Nats got baserunners, but none scored Instead, with men on base, the Nats' bats wilted and died. A terrible call by Jim Joyce on a Danny Espinosa bunt single in the second, didn't help matters (Joyce has already shown us that he can't handle the big moment).
Jackson settled down by the third and coasted through the fifth when he was lifted. Craig Stammen and Christian Garcia each gave up a run in relief and Ryan Mattheus relinquished two. No Nats starting pitcher has seen the sixth inning. I don't remember another point in the season when the Nats had three consecutive games where each starting pitcher threw five innings or fewer. The bullpen has not picked up the starters.
On offense, it has been the Ian Desmond show. Ryan Zimmerman has also been consistent. But every other starter has faltered, either the entire series or when men are on base. The defense has been uncharacteristically poor as well (Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond excepted).
Winning this series is still with in reach. It only takes two home wins. But, for that to happen, the team needs to develop the old fight that has been prevalent all season long.