Last night proved to be a game of inches. The Nationals opened the scoring with two unearned runs after Matt Kemp seemingly overran a flyball from Anthony Rendon that went deep in the leftfield corner, and the ball clanked off of Kemp’s glove as he reached back.
The Braves scored two runs that started both times with runners on 2nd base that were able to move up to 3rd base with less than two outs due to pitches that Pedro Severino could not handle. Reynaldo Lopez had some serious movement last night on his pitches that resulted in a passed ball, and later a wild pitch.
In time, Pedro Severino will work on the finer skills of keeping balls in front of him. Wilson Ramos knows all too well that catching for the hardest throwers with major movement on their baseballs like Max Scherzer and Blake Treinen tests your blocking skills, and it is one reason Scherzer can feel confident that he can spike a slider in the dirt as a chase pitch because he has Ramos behind the plate. This is a skill that Severino must work on, and this was the difference between a Reynaldo Lopez shutout and the final result of two runs scoring (one earned run).
We sometimes take for granted the blocking skills of a catcher, and we saw on display last night what could have very easily been a 1-0 game heading into the 8th inning if Kemp caught that flyball and Severino made all the plays securing pitches.
Baseball will always be that game of inches.
In Other News
Ryan Zimmerman was cleared of any wrongdoing based on an Al Jazeera report that linked Zimmerman and other athletes to PEDs. MLB Baseball completed their investigation and cleared both Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard.
In Minors news, the Nationals have reacquired Sean Burnett from the Minnesota Twins and assigned him to Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals have not added Burnett to the 40-man roster as of yet. The lefty was in big league camp with the Nationals in Spring Training. No players changed hands in the trade, just cash considerations. This move being prior to August 31st could make Burnett available on the active roster in the post-season, but you can expect that Burnett will make the Nationals roster before that time as the Nationals are expected to add to their active roster on September 2nd.