The Washington Nationals got a reality check yesterday that their front of the bullpen is absolutely horrible. Three pitchers, Amos Willingham, Joe La Sorsa, and Thaddeus Ward, gave up four runs each for a cool dozen. On the good side, the final three pitchers in were good. Cory Abbott threw a scoreless inning, and Jose Ferrer in his MLB debut had an 18 K/9 1-2-3 inning while striking out J.T. Realmuto and inducing a weak 6-3 groundout from Bryce Harper. Position player Ildemaro Vargas pitched the final frame and went 1-2-3 on the Phillies. Okay, La Sorsa got BABIP’d badly, but Willingham and Ward both got rocked by hard contact and three combined home runs. In all, the Nats lost 19-4 after starter MacKenzie Gore had a blister and was abused for seven earnies — his worst career start.
In perspective, it is just a loss even though it looks like a lopsided football score. Is it better to have an embarrassing loss like the Nats or lose a 1-0 game that you should have won? Today is a new day. Turn the page and win and have a happy train ride back to Washington, D.C.
The only question would be whether we see any roster moves today. CF Derek Hill is batting an abysmal .132 with a .333 OPS in 40 plate appearances, and DH Joey Meneses is batting .179 with a .440 OPS since June 13. But where did CabaJoey‘s power go? He has just two home runs for the whole season! The front of the bullpen is just awful, and Ward hasn’t looked right for a while. Those are just three of the players that need to go off of the roster — and Meneses has minor league options remaining and just needs time back in Rochester to find himself again. Give Blake Rutherford, Jake Alu, and a fresh bullpen arm a chance.
The Nats have the veteran Trevor Williams going today with a rested back of their bullpen, and the Phillies have LHP Ranger Suarez on the mound. The Nats are 5-3 on this long three-city road trip that began out west in San Diego through Seattle and finishing in Philadelphia. A Nats win today, and it is a dominant 6-3 road trip. But if the Nats lose today, it would still be a 5-4 road trip. The Nats have a 4-game series starting tomorrow with the hot Cincinnati Reds.
“Can’t get outs. We left some hittable balls over the plate. Just a rough day for the young [relievers]. But Ferrer came in for the first time and did really well, so that’s encouraging. He threw strikes, good changeup, and had good movement on the fastball. So that was really good to see.”— manager Dave Martinez said after the previous game
The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.54 for 20th best in MLB. Gore’s poor start sent his ERA into orbit at 4.48. His up and downs and inconsistencies between starts has been evident. If it was the blister, then fine, but if it was, why not pull him sooner?
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Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: Citizen’s Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 1:35 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app