The Nationals fell to the Dodgers by a final score of 3-to-2, but it was a battle until the end. The Dodgers had their #3 pitcher on the mound, Rich Hill, against minor leaguer call-up A.J. Cole. The Nationals had a chance to win the game in the 8th inning with speed on the bases with pinch-runner Rafael Bautista on 2nd base and Trea Turner on 1st base and Daniel Murphy up at-bat. Murphy hit a low liner to right-field off of lefty reliever Tony Watson and rightfielder Yasiel Puig dove forward to make the play and record the last out of the inning.
The Nationals offense was delivered Anthony Rendon on a solo home run and a Trea Turner RISP single. Howie Kendrick went 0-for-4 in the game and left 3 runners on base. Honorable mention to Adam Lind who entered in the 8th inning as a pinch-hitter with Wilmer Difo on 1st base and shot a grounder past Corey Seager which was ruled an error by the hometown official scorer — it sure looked like a clean single getting under Seager’s backhand stab. The Nats were only credited with 4 hits and two were from Anthony Rendon and the other two were from Trea Turner and a pinch-hit single from Wilmer Difo. The Nats went down quickly in the 9th to closer Kenley Jansen 1-2-3 on groundouts by Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon and a Jayson Werth pop-up to end the game.
The Nationals bullpen had 4.0 innings of shutout baseball today, and what was impressive was how easy they made it look. Oliver Perez took over from starter A.J. Cole and inherited two runners with no outs and got 3 straight outs facing two right-handed pinch-hitters to start his outing. Perez has now allowed just 5 of 31 inherited runners to score this season. 16.1% is good for 7th in MLB and 3rd in the NL. He has been asked many times to fix some difficult situations and came through again.
The Nationals bullpen is now unscored upon in 10 2/3 innings against the Dodgers in these last 2 games and in the season series unscored upon in 17 2/3 innings now against the Dodgers.
The strike zone all game was erratic. The beginning of the game was marred by some awful ball/strike calls by homeplate ump Gary Cederstrom.
Call hurts #Nationals
Strike 2 should be ball 3
Bot 2 Hill vs Werth
0% call same
6.1in from edge pic.twitter.com/mIjtIeB5F9
— Nats Strike Zone (@NationalsUmp) September 16, 2017
If you missed Dusty Baker’s unedited post-game presser, here it is in its entirety: