Game #16 Mitchell Parker debut on Jackie Robinson Day in Los Angeles

The Washington Nationals left Las Vegas Oakland a lot poorer. The Nats were just 11 outs from victory, but had a blow-up in the 6th inning that turned a 6-1 lead into a 7-6 deficit against the Oakland A’s. All of that turned into a tough luck loss. A game of inches. What could have been. The team got another good start from Trevor Williams who departed in that 6th inning with one-out and two runners on-base. He finished with three earnies on his record.

Today is a new day and the Nats woke up in Los Angeles to play at Dodger Stadium tonight on Jackie Robinson Day. Tonight will be the MLB debut for left-hander Mitchell Parker. We have seen him through the years from his humble beginnings in Fredericksburg.

We broke some news yesterday that catcher Drew Millas flew to meet the team in Los Angeles yesterday. Unless catcher Keibert Ruiz has a miraculous recovery from a week of suffering from the flu, it will be Millas who is activated and Ruiz placed on the 10-day IL with retroactive time. With the 10-day option rule, the only way Millas could be eligible for a callup would be due to an injury since he was just optioned on April 11. The Nats have literally been playing games without Ruiz available and Ildemaro Vargas as the backup catcher. If Ruiz is able to play, Millas will be on the team’s taxi squad.

When we put the “eyes” on a tweet about Nick Senzel not being in the Harrisburg lineup on Sunday — or seen in the dugout, he was either on the move to Triple-A or back to the big leagues. He certainly didn’t get many swings in minor league games with just seven at-bats, but the Nats called him up anyway and sent Trey Lipscomb back to Triple-A. While Lipscomb was not hitting with a strong exit velo, his OPS was only .564 and mid-game yesterday he was batting just .200. He finished up at .224 with a timely hit to finish on a good note in this stint. His glove will be missed as he was a top defender on the team only trailing Joey Gallo in OAA at a +1.0.

Parker, 24, is a Top-20 prospect in the Nats’ system and was their final pick in the shortened 2020 “Covid” draft. He was a JuCo player at San Jacinto which is a top baseball school. He was added to the 40-man roster after last season to protect him from the Rule-5 Draft. The lefty has pitched at all levels in the Nat minor league system and had his best showing at High-A Wilmington with a 2.88 ERA in 2022. He has been a high K/9 pitcher at 11.4 in his career.

If the team uses the days-off to skip a fifth starter, here is a possible upcoming pitching schedule:

  1. Monday: Mitchell Parker vs. Dodgers
  2. Tuesday: Patrick Corbin vs. Dodgers
  3. Wednesday: Jake Irvin vs. Dodgers
  4. Thursday: Day-off
  5. Friday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Houston
  6. Saturday: Trevor Williams vs. Houston
  7. Sunday: Corbin vs. Houston
  8. Monday: Day-off
  9. Tuesday: Irvin vs. Dodgers
  10. Wednesday: Gore vs. Dodgers
  11. Thursday: Williams vs. Dodgers
  12. Friday: Corbin vs. Miami
  13. Saturday: ? vs. Miami
  14. Sunday: Irvin vs. Miami
  15. Monday: Gore vs. Miami

The Nats have two spots to fill for starters on Saturday April 27 in Miami, and Thursday May 2nd in Texas unless they stick with Mitchell Parker going forward. With the days off, they could even option Parker after the game like the team did with Joan Adon last week. That would allow the team to go with 9 relievers. The Nats also need to get Cade Cavalli on a rehab assignment soon to get him ready to return in June. The team is going slow with Josiah Gray who is dealing with a muscle strain in his forearm. He could also be cleared soon to start a throwing program. In the meantime, Jackson Rutledge in Triple-A took a hard grounder to his ankle, and DJ Herz is the last piece of the Rochester Triple-A group on the 40-man roster who has not made his MLB debut.

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has Jesse Winker and Hunter Harvey on top at 0.6 WAR with MacKenzie Gore and Williams at +0.5. Followed by CJ Abrams, Riley Adams, and Luis Garcia Jr. at +0.3. There are five Nats now at +0.2. As many players are surging up in value, Lane Thomas had a great day and got back to 0.0 WAR. Joey Meneses, Eddie Rosario, and Kyle Finnegan are the bottom three with a combined -1.1 WAR.

After pitching three days in a row, you would think Jordan Weems is not available today. You would also think that Derek Law is unavailable after his stressful outing yesterday and going two games in a row. Dylan Floro and Matt Barnes both pitched yesterday too.

The Nats will face the Dodgers best active pitcher tonight in Tyler Glasnow. He can be inconsistent so we will see which Glasnow we see. The Nats will face Shohei Ohtani for the first time in a Dodgers uniform. Parker will have to get through this Dodgers big-3 of Mookie Betts, Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman, and there isn’t much let-up in his Dodgers lineup.

“It’s funny how this game is because we were worried about offense, and today we go out there and score six runs. Then we can’t finish the game. We’ve got to forget about this one — and go back and do it again tomorrow.”

— manager Dave Martinez said yesterday

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 5.61 for 29th in MLB. Obviously sample sizes are miniscule at this point. Still a lot of work for the Nationals to improve in the rankings.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Josiah Gray 14.04
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 8.44
No. 3 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.24
No. 2 Starter: Trevor Williams 3.45
No. 1 Starter:  MacKenzie Gore 2.81

Washington Nationals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Stadium: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
1st Pitch: 10:10 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app; In Spanish on DC 87.7 FM and La Pantera 100.7 FM/1220 AM. On Sirius/XM, the Nats will be online only, and the opposing team on Channel 188.

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

TalkNats is Celebrating the 5 and 100 year anniversaries of World Series Wins by providing Game-by-Game Summaries.
Game 16:
The 2019 Nationals won on 4/17 against the Giants and moved their record to 8-8 on that date. with home runs from Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick, Matt Adams, and Kurt Suzuki. Maybe all of those home runs were some foreshadowing. Another good start from Jeremy Hellickson too, but we know how that ended. Box Score / Standings
The 1924 Senators lost on 5/3 against the New York Yankees resulting in a Senators’ record of 7-9 on that date. It was a 2-run homer by Wally Pipp in the 8th inning that was the difference in the game. Box Score / Standings

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