The Nats will be boarding a happy flight on the way to Arizona shortly. The team meeting last night sent a different looking squad out there today who got a much-needed 5-1 win this afternoon at Nationals Park.
The Nats needed a pitching gem, and Patrick Corbin delivered with his best outing of the season: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K on 102 pitches. Keep in mind that the only run scored on a horrible throw to home by Josh Bell on a double-steal — but Bell made up for it with a 2-run 445 foot blast in a 4-run inning that included a Kyle Schwarber oppo 2-run home run.
Of course no Nats win is without some drama as reliever Tanner Rainey put the first two Phillies batters on-base in the 8th inning, and he was quickly relieved by Daniel Hudson who struck-out Bryce Harper and then got a weak grounder from Alex Bohm to keep the Phillies off the board. Austin Voth pitched a perfect 9th inning to close the door on the Phillies. It was good to see the bullpen put up zeroes in this one, and get some rest for the over-used portions of the ‘pen.
“There’s going to be times where me and J.B. are 0-for-4, whatever it is. The other guys are going to pick us up,” Schwarber said. “There’s going to be times when Juan Soto is 0-for-4, and somebody else is going to pick him up. … Other guys are going to pick each other up. And when this thing hits on the same cylinder, I mean, watch out. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Well, Soto didn’t have an 0-4 today although this was a game that Trea Turner did nothing offensively. Today it was Schwarber, Bell, and Starlin Castro who led the offense to their five runs. It was good to see the big offseason acquisitions make an impact at the beginning of a game.
Winning certainly is made easier by getting closer to scoring 5.0 runs per game from the offense with a starting pitching staff that has averaged 2.93 runs per 9 innings — that gives you separation when you hand the game to the bullpen. It is easier to win with balance. When you are not getting balance then you have little risk for mistakes.
In the last ten game span through today, the Nats are 3-7, but if Brad Hand didn’t have his late inning issues this past week, this team could have been 6-4 instead. When the Nats margin of error is razor thin, mistakes are devastating to the outcomes.