This was a great team win that was almost given away twice. The Nationals offense came alive in defense of the Nationals’ starter Tanner Roark in the 6th inning to score 3 runs with a Trea Turner triple to score 2 runs and then with a Brian Goodwin sacrifice fly the top of the inning was handed to Tanner Roark with a 3-1 lead. Roark then gave those 2 runs back and in a 3-to-3 game the Nats’ bats scored 3 more runs on a Ryan Zimmerman home run to make it a 6-3 game. As Roark’s pitch count was nearing 100 pitches, Dusty Baker left Tanner Roark in the game and he gave 1 run back to make the score 6-4. Baker pulled Roark and gave the ball to the closer Koda Glover to get the 3rd out in the inning with a runner on 2nd base. Glover got that 3rd out after an Adam Lind nifty diving play to save a run and recording the 3rd out.
The Nationals offense in the top of 9th inning scored 5 add-on runs to push the lead to 7 runs, but the inning was so lengthy that there seemed to be a consensus that Baker needed to go to someone else to start the 9th inning with that lead. Baker did his thing and brought Glover back out for the 9th inning. Glover struggled right from the start of the inning as he put four batters on by hits and the 5th batter was walked without recording an out. The laugher turned into a nail-biter as Glover departed in the 11-6 game with bases loaded. Shawn Kelley was brought in and got the 1st out of the inning but then gave up a grand slam to Matt Joyce to make it a 1 run game. Kelley then got Pinder and Lowrie for the last 2 outs and preserve the win.
Then Tom Boswell posted a tweet calling out Baker using harsh words like “Awful managing” and “crazy”:
“Awful managing by Baker. Crazy to bring back Glover [with] 11-4 lead after long wait between [innings]. You can’t trust [bullpen with] 7-run lead?”
Dusty Baker seemed prepared for the criticism, and here is his response to bringing Glover back out for the 9th inning:
“That’s American League baseball. You know what I mean. A lead is never safe. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t take Koda out — because that’s American League. Any games I’ve seen with big comebacks has been most time — American League. You never know which run is going to be the run that wins the game. You seemingly think you have the game in hand and in the bag but you never do.”
Help me out here. What does that mean? There has not been a 7-run lead lost in the American League this season in the 9th inning. The games played in Colorado are National League games, and we know those are never really safe until the last out is recorded, but when did American League games not become safe with a 7 run lead in the last inning?
Ryan Zimmerman has already exceeded his home run total (15) and RBI totals (46) of last season, and he accomplished this feat on June 4th of this season with his 16th home run and 48th RBI. Zimmerman now leads or is tied for all 3 parts of the Triple Crown. Zimmerman is tied for the home run lead with two other players and now has the lead in RBIs by one over Blackmon. Zimmerman has a large lead in batting average.
“Now I just try and get something in the air,” Ryan Zimmerman said with Trea Turner on 3rd base. “And if it’s basically anywhere out of the infield, Trea’s gonna score. So that makes it easier for me to approach that at-bat. I just had to do the best I could to lay off that sinker in. He left a changeup over the plate. I was just trying to hit a ball in the air and honestly just get a sac fly.”
Trea Turner not only had a 2-RBI triple to start the scoring for the Nationals, and he also had 2 steals in the 8th inning to frustrate Ryan Madson who then promptly served up the 3-run home run to Zimmerman 1 pitch after Turner stole 3rd base.
“Speed does that,” Dusty Baker said. “If you don’t have to pay attention to that guy over there then all your focus goes on the hitter. You are more likely to make mistakes in concentration.”
The Nationals won this series against the Oakland A’s, but there are several players hurting like Jayson Werth who is on crutches to keep weight off of his foot. The x-rays were negative so he gets added to question marks on this team. Matt Wieters took a broken bat off of his knee while in the on-deck circle. Then we still wonder what Mike Rizzo and Dusty Baker do with Joe Ross and even we have to wonder if Koda Glover is available tomorrow after throwing 22 pitches over the span of two partial innings.