There are few easy wins. When you watch sports long enough, you know that. This game between the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs tested your blood pressure on both sides. In the end, it was the Nats who came across in this one victorious by a single run with a final score of 4-3, and the game was filled with its share of drama. This was another competitive start by Max Scherzer who only lasted five innings as he departed with a 4-2 lead, and he escaped a bases loaded mess of his own. Scherzer entrusted his bullpen with the final outcome.
The tension was high in this one as the Nats bullpen had to hold this 2-run lead or at least give up no more than 1-run to notch the win. It was Kyle Finnegan and Daniel Hudson who each went longer than an inning, and bench coach Tim Bogar had to take over in the dugout after manager Dave Martinez got ejected for arguing a Trea Turner run to first base and called out on obstruction. For Nats fans, it was a case of déjà vu that involved Turner, Martinez back to the sixth game of the 2019 World Series. The rule was never changed after that one was a controversial call, and so the judgment of umpires will continue — and it makes little sense to reward poor defense in both cases.
“It was a brutal call,” Martinez said after the game. “Where do you run? He threw the ball behind the runner. … The second part of the rule is a judgment call.”
The Nats had multiple opportunities to add-on runs and between the obstruction call and poor execution by the Nats, they didn’t increase their lead after the 5th inning. The heat was ratcheted up when closer Brad Hand gave up a run in the 9th inning and had the tying run to work-around at second base. Hand bent but didn’t break and earned his 5th save of the season.
To look back to that 5th inning, the winning RBI came via a Juan Soto long home run off of the rightfield scoreboard at Wrigley. That run held up, and the Nats did not score again, and partially because Soto was caught stealing in the 9th inning with a runner on 3rd base and only one out. The birthday boy, Victor Robles, had a nice night but had to exit the game early after he twisted his ankle and he went to get X-Rays after the game. He was replaced by Andrew Stevenson who had a spectacular running catch in centerfield that made the highlight reels on a day where there were quite a few. Turner had another multi-hit night, and his sixth game in a row with an RBI.
There was some Scherzer history set tonight as he moved into sole possession of 19th place on the all-time strikeout list and passed Jim Bunning tonight. The 3-time Cy Young winner also notched his 179th win of his career.
DAVEY MARTINEZ JUST THREW THE BASE OUT.
WHAT A MOVE
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) May 20, 2021
As expected, the late night sports shows were all showing the Martinez argument with the umpires. On MLB Network, former first basemen Carlos Pena and Sean Casey did a “diamond demo” on the play and showed that the first baseman had cutoff Turner’s lane to the foul side of the base, and Turner did the right thing to avoid a collision. They felt that the umpire erred in his judgment. Bottomline is that the rule has to change.