The Washington Nationals are at a season high two games over .500, and that came from a win in a game that did not start well — but it sure finished well with a Nats 15-6 blowout win over the Tampa Bay Rays in a sweep of this two-game series. The star of this game was the birthday boy, Trea Turner, who hit for his third career cycle which tied an MLB record. It was Jon Lester who started this game, and the only reason he earned the W was because his offense out-slugged the Rays. Lester gave up five runs, and lasted the required five innings to qualify for the win.
One of the best parts of the timing of this blowout was that manager Dave Martinez could rest the overused portion of his bullpen and did not have to use Brad Hand, Austin Voth, and Sam Clay.
We got Nats’ debuts of Andres Machado and Kyle Lobstein out of the bullpen, and Machado was good. Lobstein statistically was not good, but he seemed to be squeezed by the ump and gave up a ground ball single through a crease.
Almost surprising was Kyle Schwarber didn’t have a home run in this game, and the Nats still put up two touchdowns with a two-point conversion. Today it was Turner, Josh Bell, Juan Soto, Yan Gomes and Starlin Castro who carried the offense, and Turner scored four runs and Castro drove in four runs.
The Nats offense had 18 hits, took 6 walks, and Schwarber was hit by a pitch. That is 25 runners and 15 scored. Another first in this game was Jordy Mercer hit his first home run as a Nat and he had two hits in the game.
On Turner’s historic day, which was dampened when news came out in the postgame that he jammed his middle finger on his left hand, he had two stolen bases to go with his cycle. He had the single, double, and home run, and just needed the triple when he went track star to stretch what would be a double for a mere mortal and Turner ran it in exactly 11.1 seconds (a maximum sprint speed of 30.3 feet per second) to do the 90 yards from the batter’s box to 3rd base to complete the cycle. It is the 3rd fastest sprint ever recorded for a triple by Statcast.
“I’m thinking triple out of the box,” Turner said. “And just hoping he doesn’t pick it up right away and get it in.”
The other three MLB players who have hit for three cycles since 1900 are Adrian Beltre, Babe Herman and Bob Meusel. Trea is in good company. The fact that Turner hit this cycle on his 28th birthday is very special. He put his athleticism on display as you generally need speed and power and the hit tool to get the four part of the cycle.
This current winning streak is now at 4 games, and the team has won 14 of 17 games in this hot streak. When scoring at least 4 runs in a game, the team is 28-7 this season and that is a tremendous .800 winning percentage. Nats will await the late games to go to completion to see who they gain a game on after the Phillies-Miami and Atlanta-Mets games go final. If the Mets lose, the Nats would be just 2.0 games from first place.
Here are some of the photos of the Trea Turner triple that was the last piece of the cycle today. At one point, Trea was literally flying 🛬 #Nats #Cycle #SCTop10
📸by Sol Tucker for TalkNats pic.twitter.com/ypgU4nZ8ON
— Talk Nats ⚾ (@TalkNats) July 1, 2021