WASHINGTON -- Without All-Star closer Zach Britton for the foreseeable future, the Orioles looked to be in a good position with Brad Brach getting the majority of the chances and Darren O'Day another capable option.
Brach, who was an All-Star last season, has had some recent struggles. And they were on full display in Wednesday's blown save, as the right-hander surrendered three runs in the Orioles' 7-6 loss to the Nationals.
"I think just not throwing fastballs down in the zone," said Brach, who has allowed eight earned runs over his last eight games, with two blown saves. "Earlier in the year, I was kind of getting away with some pitches that maybe [had] a little bit more life on my fastball, and now just kind of leaving it up and just not executing when I need to.
"And falling behind, walking guys. I think that was the big key to [Jayson Werth], I fell behind there and had to come back in the zone and he got to see everything that I threw. Unfortunately, when you have 11-pitch at-bats against guys like him, he's going to take advantage of it."
Up two runs, Brach lost an 11-pitch battle to Werth, who hit a solo blast to bring the Nats to within a run to begin the ninth. Bryce Harper followed with a double and, one out later, Daniel Murphy drew an intentional walk. Brach surrendered a bases-loading single to Anthony Rendon before former teammate Matt Wieters smacked a two-run single into right field.
"[Brach's] not a whole lot different, stuff-wise, just command in a couple spots," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the difference between Brach earlier this year and now. "He put together a few good sequences. Brad will be all right. He's good at this. Tonight a very good club just got him."
Brach, who has now allowed runs in three of his last four outings, has seen the majority of the O's closing work without Britton available. On Wednesday night, Showalter said O'Day wasn't available to pitch, which is why the O's bullpen was quiet as the Nats rallied.
"I think it's just the pressure you put on yourself," Brach said of getting the final three outs. "I've been trying to do my best to not think about the inning. I just think it's more so just not really executing, more than anything else. I'm just kind of falling behind a lot of these guys, and that's [not] doing myself any favors."