There will be a lot of second-guessing in this one as Erick Fedde exited after the 6th inning with a 2-1 lead but a low pitch count of 66 pitches. Only manager Dave Martinez can give his reasons for pulling Fedde when he did, but the bottomline is Wander Suero blew it in the 7th inning and that is on him. Suero gave up a lead-off walk and some hits and quickly the 2-1 lead was a 4-2 deficit. The rest of the bullpen imploded behind Javy Guerra and Matt Grace who allowed the game to unravel with a 9-2 loss. The Nationals could have picked up a full game on the Braves who lost earlier. This was a day of missed opportunities. For Fedde’s efforts, he lowered his starter’s ERA to 3.53 and his overall ERA which includes work in the bullpen to 3.50.
“It’s the first time he’s pitched in two weeks, and that was good enough,” Martinez said. “He got us through the sixth inning. We had Suero ready to go, but Fedde did well. I knew I didn’t want to stretch him out that far, knowing he’s had two weeks off.”
It was also disclosed after the game that Wander Suero was dealing with some personal issues from earlier in the game although no further details were given. Maybe that was weighing on the young man’s mind because he was not focused.
This was a team loss as the offense did not do much beyond Adam Eaton and Trea Turner in a game where the Nats only had 5-hits. The Nats had a chance in the 8th inning in the 4-2 game as Howie Kendrick had two men on-base and got a mistake pitch down Broadway, and Kendrick swung late at the fastball and fouled it off. That was the pitch, but not the result you wanted as Kendrick then tapped an inning ending groundout to leave the Nats off the board.
“Tough baseball,” Eaton said. “Played well — not well enough to win. We got to score more runs, especially early on. … Bases loaded there early on. It is what it is. Tough go.”
The game was delayed a little over an hour and a half due to rain, and the Nats looked lethargic for most of the game in a mostly empty stadium with little energy. They let a winnable game slip away. Sure, Wander Suero did not do his job, but why was he allowed to stay in the game as long as he did to allow it to unravel? Martinez said after the game that if he pulled Suero for a lefty to face Chris Davis that he believed the Orioles’ manager would have pinch-hit for Davis. Was Davey Martinez aware of Suero’s personal issues?
“Physically, I’m fine,” Suero said. “Physically, I was able to go out there and perform. Just mentally, I got some bad news before the game and it took away a little bit of my concentration out there.”
A special mention that Yan Gomes had a good game behind the plate with a pickoff and a caught stealing, and Trea Turner turned two nifty doubleplays which helped Fedde who got all but two outs via balls-in-play and the outs on the bases.
The #Nats bullpen had been headed in the correct direction ⏬ then last night happened and they flip-flopped with the Orioles for worst bullpen supremacy as the Nats bullpen ERA jumped to 5.99 after surrendering 6 earned runs in just 2.0 combined innings. pic.twitter.com/VKufU4zxlH
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats2) July 18, 2019
The Nats will now fly through the early hours to get to Atlanta due to the late start time and the rain delay and are expected to get to their hotel near 4 am. It was within the Orioles power to make this an afternoon start time on a getaway game, but they opted for a night game.