The Washington Nationals won’t go 19-31 this season as they just earned their 20th win of the season in a 3-game sweep of the team from Baltimore. Starting pitcher Patrick Corbin struggled in the first inning and his offense backed him up to get enough runs to get him the win. While the back of the bullpen had worked two games in a row, Daniel Hudson and Brad Hand combined to keep the 6-5 lead and turned it into a Curly W!
The offensive star had to be Kyle Schwarber who hit the 2-run homer and add in the five Nats batters who had two-hits each with Alex Avila at the top followed by Josh Bell, Trea Turner, Andrew Stevenson, and Josh Harrison.
The managing had to be questioned in this one. The first tough managerial decision was made to allow Corbin to bat for himself with bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning when Corbin’s pitch count was at 88 pitches. He lasted two batters into the 6th inning and was pulled for Wander Suero. The other decision was in the 9th inning with first base open and the Orioles best hitter, Trey Mancini, stepping into the batter’s box. Martinez put the potential winning run on first base, but the move worked out as closer Brad Hand struck-out Anthony Santander to end the game.
The first bad baserunning play was when Bell ran to third with a ground ball in front of him and he was easily thrown out by the shortstop. The other one cost the Nats a run when Juan Soto popped up a ball by homeplate with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd. Soto did not run immediately to first base and the ball landed fair and he was thrown out by a few steps. Obviously if he ran he would have been safe and the run would have counted. After the game, manager Dave Martinez spoke to him.
“I already talked to him about it and told him it was embarrassing for the whole club,” Martinez said. “He understands that. I made him apologize to the team. And I told him it doesn’t happen again.”
Soto finished a hard luck 0-5 but maybe he made his own bad luck because he would have received a gifted RISP single on that popup if he ran. For Bell, his big series pushed him above Mendoza at .203, and Schwarber finished the day 2 points from an .800 OPS. The middle of the lineup certainly is stepping up.
The team will have a replacement on the roster on Tuesday for Victor Robles who was placed on the 10-day IL without a replacement player brought up. It is mind-boggling that the team did not plan this ahead of time.