Baseball has redemption as Jose Lobaton went from the outhouse to the penthouse in consecutive at-bats. Lobaton with bases loaded and one out in the 2nd inning swung at the first pitch and bounced into a doubleplay as the ball went only 60 feet back to the pitcher for an easy 1-2-3 doubleplay. Then Lobaton dropped the ball on a sure out on a play at the plate on a throw from Bryce Harper. It almost felt like Lobaton gave up 2 to 3 runs between his offense and defense, but Lobaton got up in the 4th with Daniel Murphy and Danny Espinosa on base and Lobaton jacked a home run into the visitor’s bullpen for the 3 RBIs and the difference in the game. Redemption is a dish best served warm!
The pitching by the Nationals bullpen was great again today as they have now combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings and each reliever had some Hi Leverage pitches they had to throw.
Dusty Baker believed in Jose Lobaton’s 3-3 lifetime record against Rich Hill, and the move was looking like a bad move until Lobaton took a 73.1 mph curveball up in the zone on a 1-1 pitch from Hill, and Lobaton hit it just far enough through the cutting wind like Wilson Ramos had done so many times this year in dramatic fashion to win a game for the Nats. This was no doubt Lobaton’s biggest hit as a Washington National.
Some might say Daniel Murphy was the offensive star today as he went 3-3 with 2 RBIs with 2 RISP hits and a run scored and was on-base for Lobaton. Trea Turner got two hits today, and Bryce Harper had a RISP hit to add to his post-season resumé. In fact all Nats starting position players had a hit today except Espinosa and Rendon. Danny Espinosa got on-base twice with two hit-by-pitches.
The Nats starter was Tanner Roark who struggled all game with his command giving up 2 runs in 4 1/3 innings, but got some big outs when he needed it.
Player execution made Dusty Baker look very smart today as he hooked Roark early and moved 5 of the 7 Nats relievers in and out of the game today as Mark Melancon earned his first career post-season save.
On to Los Angeles now, game time local for L.A. will be 1:08 tomorrow with a 4:08 start time in D.C..
BABIP worked for the Nationals almost the entire game, but calls from the homeplate umpire Chris Guccione was as poor as we have seen all year. The calls were just short of being called borderline incompetence or worse.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 9, 2016
MLB Network’s Dave Valle, a former catcher, analyzed the play at the plate where Jose Lobaton dropped the ball and made the tag with the empty mitt, but Valle points out where Lobaton should have been playing and receiving the throw.
Here is the distance the throw beat the runner by which was estimated at 12 feet.
You can see the ball loose (circled in red)
A great photo of the sea of red!