Not since September 11th of 2011 have the Washington Nationals been 10-games below .500 until tonight as the Nationals lose on a walk-off infield single by the final score of 6-5. This was another game that was lost in the bullpen, and tonight the blown save and loss was tagged on callup Tanner Rainey who threw 33-pitches in the game but only 19 strikes. Rainey gave up 2 costly walks and the first batter he walked scored the walk-off run. The Nationals came back in this game twice, but the Nats gave up 3 leads in this game.
The Nationals offense came through with key hits in the game including a go-ahead two-run bomb from Brian Dozier, and a moonshot over the upper deck seats by Juan Soto. Unfortunately Eaton’s hitless streak continues, and Anthony Rendon and Victor Robles were hitless in this game.
As important as this game was to win, Wander Suero was used in the 6th inning after a very nice 5.0 inning one-run performance from Erick Fedde. But Suero came out for the 7th inning and gave up a 3-run home run that erased the Nationals 3-1 early lead in this game. Suero threw 25-pitches in this game, and then Tanner Rainey was used too long and faltered and Sean Doolittle never entered the game.
“It’s frustrating. It really is,” manager Dave Martinez said . “The guys are battling. We have to finish games. It’s a nine inning game. We have to start finishing games. We’re right there, but we have to win. The bottom line is we have to start winning games.”
Manager Dave Martinez could have gone with Sean Doolittle as soon as Rainey began to struggle as he had already taken the blown save for serving up a 99-mph heater down the middle that Pete Alonso smashed for the game tying home run in the 8th inning, and when Rainey walked his first batter with one out in the 9th inning you have to pull him, right? Clearly the decision was not simple, but the top of the order was ready to come up so you lose with a callup instead of using your best reliever and improvise from there.
“I thought about [inserting Doolittle]. I really did,” Martinez said. “You get one run or the game stays tied, and you don’t have Doo.”