This game took a turn for the worse from a 3-2 Nats lead in the 6th inning. The top of the 6th inning finished with a 5-3 deficit and Ross departed with 5 2/3 innings in the books. Ross wasn’t sharp the whole night, but was good enough for the first 5 innings to only surrender 2 runs. Joe Ross gave up 5 runs in total on his line for the night, and on this night the other facets of the game were up to the task. The Nats offense came roaring back in the bottom of the 6th inning.
The Nats scored 10 runs in total while the bullpen went 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball to bring home a win! If the Nats offense and bullpen didn’t save this game, there is not telling how NatsTown and the media would react today after Joe Ross was pitching on fumes and well over 90 pitches was allowed to remain in the game and promptly gave up the go-ahead 2-run home run.
It wasn’t how you pencil it up, but it worked tonight. The offense came through big having Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup after 3 days off nursing his back and Zim delivered 2 tape measure home runs.
The defense also came up big having a couple Web Gems from Daniel Murphy who turned a nifty doubleplay on Matt Kemp and showed off some other slick fielding to go with his 3-hit night.
On this night, the offense bailed out Joe Ross and Dusty Baker and Mike Maddux. On this night, Enny Romero threw his 9th straight scoreless appearance although it came at a price as he was asked to pitch 2 full innings throwing 31 pitches. After throwing that many pitches, you generally need two days off. Blake Treinen was up throwing in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings but was never called into this game begging the question, is there a plan?
On the baffling side, why is Bryce Harper playing so shallow in these games lately? Look where Harper is running from on this Swanson flyball and where the ball ultimately lands. That ball has to be caught with normal effort if Harper is playing normal depth. Yes, playing at normal depth will surrender some singles on shallow bloops, but you won’t allow these extra base hits that are becoming too commonplace. If Harper catches that ball, the inning doesn’t continue and Joe Ross moves into the 6th inning with a lower pitch count and a shutout!
The real baffling move of the game was when the Nationals had scored 5 runs in the 6th inning with no outs and Taylor on 1st base and Matt Wieters on 3rd base — Taylor went out to his huge lead and was easily picked-off. Taylor has a history of getting picked off. Why has his coaches allowed this reckless type of sandlot showboating? Nobody takes a 15 foot lead unless it’s against a pitcher who refuses to throw over to 1st base. Luke Jackson is right-handed and did not even make a great move and it did not have to be to pick-off Taylor and snuff out a huge inning. Luckily the Nats would add-on more runs after that, but as we know, most leads are never safe.