The Washington Nationals got to rest most of the back of their bullpen, and that was not by design, unfortunately. The Nats had a narrow 1-0 lead until Andres Machado gave up the lead in an instant with a two-run homer. Machado had been nails since his recent callup — so we will have to see how he pitches in his next appearance. An inning later, the 1-0 lead was a 6-1 deficit, and we quickly learned that using Joe La Sorsa for two innings might not be the way to utilize him in the future. Lessons learned, as the surging Nats were on a 4-1 road trip until they took losses on Wednesday and Thursday to return to D.C. with a 50-66 record.
Clearly the follow-up question should have been asked, “Why did you send a shaky bullpen lefty out there for a second inning of work in a 1-0 game to face two righties to begin the inning”? It was not asked and as you know the result — La Sorsa gave up 4-runs in that seventh inning via two home runs to push the game out of reach.
While Patrick Corbin had no earnies on his record yesterday on one-hit, he did give up 7-walks, in a start that included a Houdini act to get out of a bases loaded jam with no outs and no runs surrendered. Tonight with the Oakland A’s in town for a weekend series, the Nats are going through their second turn in trying to employ a six-man rotation with Joan Adon with maintaining a 7-man bullpen until rosters are expanded in three weeks on September 1.
On the subject of six starters and the situation with the starting rotation, the Nats have slid to the bottom-third in starter’s ERA, and a 4.76 mark won’t cut it. The target needs to be a 4.20 staff ERA for starters and only Josiah Gray is better than that. Part of the fix is to put MacKenzie Gore in the pitcher’s lab this offseason and replicate what Gray did last year by adding a two-seam fastball and a cutter at a minimum, and keep working on bettering the changeup which Gore is throwing. Besides that, the Nats need to be looking for a free agent starter who can stay better than a 4.20 ERA. That’s how you better your staff — one player at a time.
Here is how they rank:
No. 6 Starter: Trevor Williams 5.00
No. 5 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.93
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 4.85
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 4.62
No. 2 Starter: Joan Adon 4.50 (starter’s ERA only)
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 3.69
Here is your Baseball Savant Statcast Link for the game.
Oakland A’s vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app
Of note, Oakland A’s fans are asking Nats fans to join them in solidarity by yelling, “Sell the Team” mid-game. That was a call that many D.C. fans heard from fans of the Washington Commanders football team. As most know, the current A’s ownership is attempting to move the team to Las Vegas.