The Nationals were being no-hit through the 5th inning and then in the bottom of the 6th inning the Nationals exploded for 4-runs to take a 4-2 lead in the nightcap of this doubleheader. Instead of going to the bullpen for the top of the 7th inning, Max Scherzer came out for one more inning and dominated to finish up his night at 121 pitches. Scherzer had not pitched for 8-days due to days-off and rainouts.
This game started with Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill removed after just 2 pitches with a blister and then watched the Dodgers bullpen no-hit the Nationals for 5 innings. The Nationals woke up in the 6th inning, and this is why you play to the end. The bleak start and poor weather seemed to go together on this day along with more injury news for the Nationals who lost Howie Kendrick for the season. When the Nationals offense exploded in the 6th inning it charged some electricity into a Nationals Park in the gloomy weather with the 4-run inning.
When the Nationals bullpen took the ball for the 8th inning, it was Sammy Solis not Ryan Madson or Brandon Kintzler who got the start to the inning against a tough switch-hitting Grandal and then the lefty Bellinger. When Solis came in, it was Kintzler not Madson who warmed up. Solis gave back 1-run on a missed location fastball to cut the Nationals lead to 4-to-3 before Kintzler was called in to finish the inning before heading to the bottom of the 8th inning. Ryan Madson never got up at all in this game. Where was Madson I asked during the game? Was something wrong with him? It was possible as Nationals radio voice Charlie Slowes said that maybe Madson was not available.
The Nationals offense other than the 6th inning would not score the remainder of the game. It was closer Sean Doolittle who would get the ball for the the 9th inning to face the Dodgers bottom of the order. Doo could not strikeout the first 2 hitters who he had in 2-strike counts and both got hits — one line drive hit and one bloop and they both look like line drives in the boxscore. With no outs, Matt Kemp entered to pinch-hit and promptly smacked a double for the game winner and Doolittle’s first blown save in ten save opportunities.
“This was just a great, competitive ballgame from both teams,” Scherzer said. “We did a good job of competing. We were down early, found a way to rally, scored and got the lead. They competed and found a way to win the game.”
Like Max Scherzer, many members of the bullpen had not pitched in seven or eight days. There was a lot of rust and this was a fear with the roster. Losing the nightcap was a gut punch after the effort of Scherzer and the 6th inning offense.
This game could have been a celebration of an impassioned comeback by the Nats in the 6th inning that began with a lead-off Trea Turner double followed by a Bryce Harper hit-by-pitch and an RBI double by Mark Reynolds. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts intentionally walked the bases loaded putting Michael Taylor on-base which should have been a managerial error to cost the Dodgers the game. Roberts walked Taylor who was batting .185 to face Pedro Severino who could be replaced by a pinch hitter and that is exactly what Nationals manager Dave Martinez did as he countered with lefty pinch-hitter Matt Adams who stroked a clutch 2-run single. Max Scherzer then singled for the Nationals 4th run of the game.
“That’s a tough one to swallow,” Doolittle said. “Because that would’ve been such a big win for us on a day losing the first one, losing Howie, Max digging deep for us.”
Onward to Sunday and Sunday could include Juan Soto on the Nats roster. He was pulled from the Saturday night Double-A Harrisburg Senators line-up in Richmond, and the rumor is that he has driven to Nationals Park to be activated tomorrow. After the game, Davey Martinez announced the bad news on Howie Kendrick that he ruptured his achilles tendon which could mean he is done for the season. He was asked by the media as to who would replace Kendrick and he said Adrian Sanchez would stay up and did not mention Soto.