Today is the day when many of the Nationals players who have New York based agents take care of some business. The CAA and Aces agencies both have thriving NYC locations which covers players like Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy and several others. Dusty Baker has been asking his players to treat these road trips like business trips where they aren’t doing sightseeing excursions in the morning or losing sleep with children in the hotel rooms. It worked great last week on the California trip and last night in New York, the Nationals looked like the Nationals we want to see. The mistakes were few, and not worth accentuating and this team’s success almost always requires great starting pitching and offense from the 3-4-5 hitters in the batting order which were excellent last night.
Tonight’s match-up between Max Scherzer and lefty Steven Matz is only the second game back from the disabled list for Matz, and he pitched well in his first start back. Matz has also pitched well against the Nats in a very small sample size. In this type of match-up small ball seems to have better results. Daniel Murphy is 2-for-6 against Matz with a home run, and Michael Taylor is 2-for-5. Other than that, Harper, Rendon, Zimmerman, and Turner all need to get some hits off of Matz.
Of course it all comes together with the great starting pitching and the hope continues that Max Scherzer pitches like a shutdown ace.
The weather for tonight in New York City will be on the chilly side as temperatures after nightfall drop below 70°F. The area is experiencing scattered showers this afternoon.
Last night Dusty Baker had the opportunity to rest Enny Romero and Matt Albers which was important as they make up the most reliable part of this bullpen. In a small sample size of 3 appearances, Jacob Turner has a 0.00 ERA and a .100 BAA in the 9th inning. Could he move to a more prominent role in this bullpen? He also has been best in his 1st inning of work and pitch counts under 20. Once Turner’s pitch count goes above 25, his stats deteriorate. It again goes to why he isn’t coached to his strengths which has pummeled his stats recently, but in all fairness, Jacob Turner has been an enigma his whole career. He went from top-prospect with the Tigers as the 9th player selected in the 2009 draft to a player who was free for the taking the last two off-seasons. If the Nationals can figure out the best uses for Jacob Turner, they will be the first team to do that. The mop-up role and pushing for more from Turner has been counter-productive.
Finding the right roles for the 8 men in this bullpen is the key. Every one of them has a distinct set of strengths and weaknesses. It is steering to the strengths and away from the weaknesses while putting these players in their best roles to succeed for the team and themselves is the key to righting this bullpen situation.
The way Trevor Gott was used on Wednesday was not a good situation for that young man or the team. He was not a pitcher who had been pitching in back-to-back games except once this year for the Syracuse Chiefs and throwing that young man for 52 pitches on Wednesday borderlines on a level that should get someone fired. It’s not right, it shouldn’t have happened, and there was no accountability other than demoting Gott back to Triple-A. Nobody in the media even asked why that young man was subjected to that workload on Wednesday. He had never pitched more than 29 pitches in an outing in his entire career. That is how arms are ruined and this was a 24-year-old with arm troubles last year. Instead, it just added more fuel to the fire of why the bullpen is so poor. Six runs scored in that inning against the bullpen and 5 of those runs against Trevor Gott’s statline.
The next time you criticize the player, just please ask yourself if that human being was put in their best opportunity to succeed for the team and himself. I commend Ray Knight for sticking up for Trevor Gott and bringing much of this to our attention to write about it because it deserved more from us than just some words in our comments section.
Washington Nationals at New York Mets
Stadium: CitiField, Queens, New York
1st Pitch: 7:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN, ESPN (out-of-market), SNY, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)
Line-ups (subject to change without notice):
- Trea Turner SS
- Ryan Raburn LF
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Max Scherzer RHP