It is just a broken record this week on the three losses — that it is not only the errors that show up in the box score, but also the misplays and miss-reads that don’t show up with the “E” like the routine flyball off the bat of Freddie Freeman to Joey Meneses in right field that just was not caught and helped lead to a four run inning for the Dodgers advantage. We say it all the time that the Washington Nationals just are not good enough at this point in the their rebuild to make unforced errors and survive it. Actually, we wrote that exact sentence yesterday. It bears repeating.
Add dugout strategy to part of the issue yesterday. The Nats clawed back into the game in the top of the seventh inning to make it a 4-3 game. But instead of manager Dave Martinez going to his “A” bullpen which is very rested, he returned Andres Machado to the mound for the seventh inning, and things blew up quickly. Two runs scored off of Machado and all of that positive momentum was flushed down the drain.
To think in the top of the seventh inning, the fairweather Dodgers fans were booing because the lowly Nats had the audacity to score two runs off of their bullpen after Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts hooked his starter Tony Gonsolin after a 70-pitch count and 6.0 full innings of work. Imagine that. Seems like what we saw in Miami a couple of weeks ago. Yes, you don’t have to push your starter for 90+ pitches each start. Dodgers’ reliever Alex Vesia got hit hard by the young Nats. But Roberts didn’t allow the bleeding to last long as he went straight to his “A” bullpen and extinguished the Nats’ momentum.
Speaking of use and usage, the Nats’ starter today, Patrick Corbin, was pushed in his last start with a 9-2 lead over the Royals to trudge through not only the sixth inning but also the seventh innings five days ago. Corbin pitched to a season-high 108 pitches, and he finished the game giving up six earnies (instead of two) and exited with a slim lead. It was just one of those questions of why? How will Corbin look after tossing so many pitches? His previous high pitch count was 97 this season.
Last year, when Corbin was pushed to a season-high pitch count, he was fine for one more start, then the wheels came off in his subsequent six starts going only 21 2/3 innings giving up 30 runs and a 12.46 ERA. The arm isn’t a machine. Keep redlining it, and it will breakdown. But hey, we will see how this goes with Corbin. This has been a Martinez issue his entire managerial career pitching starters like they are all Max Scherzer. There is only one Scherzer.
So this is another salvage game in a horrible series, and the Nats face a pitcher that the fans know all to well: Noah Syndergaard. Once nicknamed the mighty Thor when he was with the Mets, now he is just an extra starter for the Dodgers while they deal with injuries in their rotation.
The bats were hitting deep fly balls which looked good to finally see some progress but the Nats came up short 10-to-30 feet six times in the game. Hitting the ball to straightaway center field looked great off the bat until they were caught near the warning track. By the way, whose decision was it to play Meneses in the field? Asking for a friend.
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Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Stadium: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
1st Pitch: 4:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app
Line-up subject to change (without notice):