Those blown saves that turn into losses is like taking a 3-hour project on your computer and watching it get erased because you failed to hit the save button. Nobody expected Brad Hand to be perfect all season, and last night’s loss is shared as a team loss with only 2-runs scored with one coming on the Phillies playing Keystone Cops. Seriously, the Washington Nationals offense went 1-13 in RISP spots last night.
“This is the way I look at it,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re going to win together. We’re going to lose together. Brad Hand did not lose the game, so we’re going to stick together. I talked to the boys tonight, and we’re going to stay positive. Hey, we’re going through a rough time as a team. We’re going to get through this.”
While Hand has handed out four earned runs in his previous three appearances, it is the timing of these meltdowns that hurt. You can’t hand your division opponent a gift victory like we saw last night.
Plenty of blame to go around, and Kyle Finnegan turned in another poor performance. If you think Finnegan’s 5.06 ERA is an issue, take a look at the 63% of inherited runners he has allowed to score. He was excellent last year in his debut season, and was expected to be a key part of this year’s bullpen. Sure, he notched an immaculate inning last week, but much of the rest has been a whole lot of bad. He singlehandedly ruined teammate Sam Clay’s ERA when Clay exited with two outs and bases loaded in a game last month, and Finnegan’s first batter cleared the bases with a double for 3 earnies on Clay’s ERA. Finn is no longer the guy you want to come in with runners on-base. He has only had 4 clean innings of his 17 appearances.
Finnegan is there to get strikeouts and of the last 13 batters he has faced, he has one K, one walk, and batters are hitting .500 off of him at 6-12. His 94.2 to 97.0 MPH fastballs have looked like batting practice pitches and his sliders aren’t keeping batters off of the fastball.
But the Nats offense should really take the blame in this one for only scoring two runs with all of the opportunities they had. If Hand entered in a 3-1 game, the Nats go home victorious at 3-2 instead of losing another one that they let get away.
Fans want someone to blame. Hand and Finnegan are the obvious targets. But should Finnegan have been put in that spot? The other choices were not great unless you go to Austin Voth there as Martinez probably did not want to thrust Wander Suero into that game after just coming off of the IL, and Tanner Rainey has been the team’s worst reliever with an -0.4 WAR.
Here we are in another salvage game of a series. The Nats have lost 7 of their last 8 games. Health should no longer be an excuse. This is about execution. Today is a new day, and time to get the first win to begin a long winning streak.
The Nats have Patrick Corbin on the hill for this early afternoon game, and the Phillies counter with Zach Eflin who has been one of their best pitchers this season.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBCSports Philly, MLB Network (out-of-market only), MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
1. Trea Turner SS
2. Josh Harrison 2B
3. Juan Soto RF
4. Kyle Schwarber LF
5. Starlin Castro 3B
6. Josh Bell 1B
7. Yan Gomes C
8. Patrick Corbin LHP
9. Victor Robles CF