The youngsters on this team continue to impress. Tonight it was A. J. Cole who really seemed to pitch better than the boxscore. He gave up 4 runs over 7.0 full innings, and was pitching in a stadium that plays small, and he gave up two home runs that were costly, but only the Trumbo home run was a mistake pitch. Cole struck out 8 batters on the night and only gave up 5 hits. Cole got twelve swing and miss strikes tonight out of the 108 pitches he threw.
The Nationals on offense had numerous opportunities to blow the game open, and did not execute in four separate situations to move runners over. Daniel Murphy led-off the 8th inning with a double and represented the tying run. For reasons unknown, he took off to 3rd base on a comebacker to the pitcher and was thrown out trying to get back to 2nd base. On that same play, Bryce needed to pull the ball to at least advance Murphy to 3rd and that didn’t happen.
For good batters, the execution wasn’t there many times tonight for the heart of the Nationals batting order. Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa both had home runs, and Murphy knocked in Trea Turner in the 1st for the three Nationals runs, but the Nats squandered other opportunities tonight. With runners on 3rd and 2nd and 2 outs, Ryan Zimmerman struck out in the biggest at-bat at that point in the game adding to the perplexing question, what is wrong with Zimmerman when runners are in scoring position? Zimmerman continues to wilt in RISP spots as he is batting in the .170’s with a .271 OBP. When bases are empty, Ryan Zimmerman is better than league average at .262/.316/.445/.762. If you know what is going on with this disparity, please let us know.
The Nationals had 11 baserunners tonight and were only 1-9 with RISP, and the one hit was from Daniel Murphy’s single in the 1st inning. Harper and Ramos both left 3 runners on base. Speaking of Ramos, he looks tired. He is back to grounding out with frequency and on balls hit to rightfield, they are not carrying which are signs of fatigue for a player who has been one of the best hitters in the Majors all season.
A.J. Cole has not been seen on a Nats mound since May 23rd of 2015, and his mechanics last year were not good where the ball was easily seen by hitters. This year he exhibited a new wind-up and it was impressive. Good job by the Minor League staff to fix his mechanics, and a well called game by Wilson Ramos.
Trea Turner stole his 14th base tonight in 15 attempts, and scored the first run of the game.