Fortunately, this is just one ugly game, and the Nats can win tomorrow and even up this best-of-five NLDS series. The Nats had as many hits as they had errors in this game, and this was actually a 2-0 deficit into the top of the 7th inning until the Nats bullpen imploded. Patrick Corbin walked four batters in the first inning, but then settled down and kept the game at 1-0 until Howie Kendrick‘s second error of the game made it a 2-0 game. Corbin went 6.0 innings and gave up 3 hits and five walks and one earnie, and he struck out 9 batters. It was the bullpen that changed things quickly, but the Nats could not score any runs even with their opportunities going 0-5 with RISP including a bases loaded situation.
The question many Nats fans will wonder is why manager Dave Martinez went to Tanner Rainey for the 7th inning in a 2-0 deficit instead of going to Sean Doolittle or go situational batter by batter. Rainey gave up two hits and he was relieved by Fernando Rodney who could not “Houdini” out of it. In the eighth inning, Hunter Strickland looked like he was throwing in a Home Run Derby.
Davey: Every game I will manage like a one-game playoff.
Puts in the B bullpen against the Dodgers in a 2-0 Game 1.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) October 4, 2019
As mentioned, the Nationals only put together two hits in the game, and while some of their strikeouts could be attributed to poor umpiring by Will Little, to be fair, most of it was swinging at balls well out of the zone. The Nats best opportunity of the game had Asdrubal Cabrera up with bases loaded and two outs, and he was thrown two curves under the zone, and Cabrera swung and missed at the first pitch which was in the dirt, and the next one was thrown below his knees, and he weakly bounced back to Buehler for an easy third out.
“Chased a lot of bad pitches,” manager Dave Martinez said. “I think at one point, I have to look, but we were way over 20 pitches that we chased, and that’s uncharacteristic of our team.”
The only hits of the game were from Juan Soto and Trea Turner, and there was not even much bad luck on balls put in play, it was weak contact and strikeouts. At one point, Adam Eaton struck out while seeing seven pitches and only one was close to the zone. The little bit of positives from the game came on defense, and Eaton was the defensive star with nailing a runner at the plate and a sliding catch in the gap on the warning track. Anthony Rendon had a beautiful diving stop but could not throw out the baserunner, but an “A” for effort there.
While Kendrick had two errors, he also had a potential doubleplay ball hit hard to his right foot and he did not have to move an inch but it was a reaction play and he could not glove the ball, and of course that was ruled a hit. It might have been Kendrick’s worst game of the season, and he was seen spiking his glove in the dugout. There was a lot of frustration and mostly with the umpire to start the game then to Patrick Corbin walking batters then to some awful at-bats by Nats batters.
The Nats had a chance to spoil the shutout in the 9th inning after a lead-off double by Trea Turner who was standing on 3rd base with one out, but Rendon and Soto both struck out to end the game with a final score of 6-0. The Nats 9-game winning streak was snapped, and they need to get it going tomorrow.