There is a reason you play the games. The Marlins had their ace going today in Caleb Smith, and the Nats smashed him for 5-runs and knocked him out of the game in the 3rd inning as the Nats won this game to make it 3-wins in a row for the first time this season. The Nationals offense would add four more runs off of the Marlins bullpen to make it nine runs in total today. The Nats starting pitcher, Erick Fedde, did his job throwing a 5.0 inning shutout. It was Fedde’s ERA that went down to 2.18 from 2.87, and Smith’s ERA went from 2.38 to 3.05. Smith’s ERA was second in the Majors among all left-handed pitchers before he was rocked in this game.
There was some drama in the 9th inning as James Bourque‘s debut did not go as planned and he allowed a 9-2 game go to 9-6. Wander Suero had to finish out the last out in the 9th inning with Sean Doolittle warming behind him.
Not the debut I envisioned but we’ll learn from this and come back better tomorrow. Appreciate all the family and friends that reached out over the last 24 hours, especially those that made the last minute trip to DC. We’re not done yet!
— James Bourque (@jamesbourque) May 26, 2019
Luckily Suero turned the game into a final as the Nats head into the final game of this four-game series tomorrow in a Memorial Day game that begins at 1:05 pm.
When the Marlins review this game, the 3rd inning changed in an instant when Miguel Rojas with no outs was sacrificed to second base by the pitcher then Rojas tried to steal 3rd base with a lefty batting. Rojas was thrown out as catcher Yan Gomes had a clear lane to nab him. With two outs in the inning, the Marlins loaded the bases, and you could visibly see that Fedde was breathing heavy in the 88°F temperature. Pitching coach Paul Menhart came out for a well-timed mound visit to give Fedde a breather. It worked as the Nats righty struck out Neil Walker in a 3-2 count preserving the 1-0 lead. That was a turning point in the game and possibly the career direction for Fedde who is only in the rotation due to injuries to Anibal Sanchez and Jeremy Hellickson.
“My job here is to make it as tough for them to send me down,” Fedde said. “Whether they want me in the rotation or the ’pen, I’m happy just to help this team get some wins.”
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Howie Kendrick who already had a home run in the game busted the game open with a bases loaded single scoring two runs all with two-outs in the inning. The Nats sent Caleb Smith packing with a 5-0 deficit, and the Nats continued to add-on runs on the Marlins bullpen to make the score 9-0 going into the 8th inning.
The Nats bullpen gave up 2-runs in the 8th inning because of course it was the 8th inning, and the 9th inning was given to Bourque for his MLB debut. He had a hard time finding the strike zone then got a fortuitous doubleplay to clear the bases, but he loaded the bases back up with 2-outs as Brian Dozier could not handle a ball in the hole for the final out. Bourque was charged with 4-runs and finished the game with a 54.00 ERA.
For the offense, the Nationals were led by Kendrick and Dozier who tormented the Marlins left-handed pitchers today for 3-hits apiece. In fact all of the Nats position players had at least one-hit except for Victor Robles who reached of course on a hit-by-pitch. Juan Soto extended his hitting streak to 10-games, and Michael Taylor entered the game as a pinch-hitter and was 2-for-2 as he stayed in the game.
Onto tomorrow for the final game of this four-game series as Max Scherzer and Jose Urena are scheduled to be the starters. With this win, the Nationals got back to 9-games under .500, and look to get greedy tomorrow to close-out this series.