The Nationals made their way through this game with a win while stressing their bullpen as Gio Gonzalez only lasted 3 1/3 innings. When Gio departed with one out, he also left behind bases loaded for Justin Miller who worked through it swiftly while holding a 5-to-4 lead for the Nationals then Miller threw a scoreless 5th inning to get the ball to his bullpen mates. The Nationals would only surrender one run over 5 2/3 innings from the bullpen in a 7-to-5 Nationals win in front of over 37,000 fans on “Stanley Cup” celebration day at Nationals Park.
Unfortunately for the Nationals and their bullpen, they suffered another injury in this game as Brandon Kintzler will also head to the DL. Our sources have told us the injury is to his forearm which stiffened up on him. The hope is that it is nothing major as Brandon Kintzler has had his share of arm injuries in his career. One of the reasons he returned to the Nationals as a free agent was because he cited the medical staff as a major plus.
The Nationals got a jolt as Adam Eaton returned after 61 days on the disabled list. He immediately made an impact with his bat and legs. Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, and Matt Adams added quite a bit of offense themselves from the top of the order that has been lengthened to where the first 6-spots in the batting order from Eaton to Juan Soto average an impressive .895 in OPS which is the best in baseball for today’s line-ups, and only the Red Sox when Mookie Betts returns from the DL can compare as they are at .817 without him. The Yankees of course are the best from top to bottom at an .800 team OPS and it helps being an AL team without your pitchers batting on a regular basis.
Every Nationals’ position player reached based twice except Wilmer Difo who did have a hit. Spencer Kieboom had two hits and jumped above Mendoza while adding the final score of the day on an RBI double. Juan Soto was the only hitless Nats starting position player — but he reached twice on walks. Bryce Harper‘s day was quite good as he smashed his 19th homer of the season which leads all NL batters by a 4 HR margin, and a h/t to DCNatsFan who pointed out the last time Bryce Harper started in centerfield on October 3rd of 2015 he also hit a home run and did it again today.
“A win is a win is a win is a win,” Dave Martinez said. “The boys held on. We scored early. We held on. Gio had a high pitch count, and I didn’t want him throwing over 100-pitches. The bullpen came in and held them down.”
Once again the Nationals bullpen came up huge after 7.0 innings in relief of Strasburg last night, they ate up 5 2/3 innings this afternoon in yeoman’s work. Great work as mentioned by Justin Miller and Sammy Solis pitched a perfect 6th inning. Ryan Madson took the 7th inning and the Giants were first pitch swinging and got a run off of him. Tim Collins was used as a LOOGY for the first batter in the 8th inning and Brandon Kintzler took over and was injured after only getting one batter out. Sean Doolittle had a 1 1/3 inning save to preserve this win, and it was Doo’s sweet 16th save of the season. The Nationals were able to not use Matt Grace and Shawn Kelley today so Dave Martinez will have some fresh arms for tomorrow as well as getting an extra arm or two to Nats Park for tomorrow.
The Nationals after the game said they were placing Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation that was revealed on an MRI which was probably the best case scenario given all of the other outcomes that could have been much worse with a shoulder injury.
Tomorrow the Nationals will make at least two roster moves for Strasburg and Kintzler. Now the Nats have a few hours to get ready for the Dream Foundation Gala which is attended by the entire team.