Game #24 Salvage game to go 3-3 in the season’s series

The Washington Nationals were crushed last night 11-2 in the final score. But when you dig into the numbers and watch the game, two key plays that weren’t made at first base resulted in three runs. Two runs came off of a scoop of a throw that Trey Lipscomb couldn’t handle at first base from Luis Garcia Jr. Another on a double down the line past a lunging Lipscomb put up another run. Other plays were hard grounders past the middle infielders. Suffice it to say if just the two plays were made at first base, starter Jake Irvin easily finishes 5.0 innings at a 3-2 score — worst case. Instead, he exited during the fifth inning at a score of 6-2, and the Nats’ bullpen imploded for five more runs, and gave up 13 balls contacted at 100 mph or over.

In total, the Dodgers hit 18 balls at 100 mph and over, and amazingly 14 were hits. Contrastingly, the Nats smoked eight balls at 100 mph and over and only two were hits. The difference between the two teams on those triple-digit balls was a .778 batting average versus .250. It was more than BABIP luck as the Nats’ bullpen, especially Tanner Rainey, was serving up meatballs with a 9.125 inch circumference as the hors d’oeuvres before the main meal and dessert. But yes, BABIP, poor positioning, and lackluster defense all played its parts in last night’s feast for Dem Bums.

Manager Dave Martinez is going back to a configuration of defense matters, as much as he can, in this case. For instance, CJ Abrams is a -3.0 OAA on defense which ranks at the bottom of shortstops. He treats hard contact like a matador waving at the incoming target off of his side and yelling olĂ©. Abrams doesn’t square up a lot of balls, and rarely dives for balls that are ticketed for the outfield. With a runner on second base, at least try to stop the ball to keep the runner at third base, instead of scoring like we saw in the first inning.

The Nats made a roster move brining back Keibert Ruiz from the 10-day IL and sent Drew Millas back to Triple-A. What was the rush to get Ruiz back after just two rehab games, and a total of nine plate appearances? Sure, Riley Adams needed a day-off, but Millas seemed able to step-in for Ruiz whose defense is below average, and he was batting just .194. The daily lineup is averaging 3.61 runs for a game. That gives the pitching, little margin to give up freebie runs.

On the Lane Thomas MCL knee injury on Tuesday, we spoke today to top orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Scott C. Faucett of The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics (CAO), the leading orthopaedic practice in the DMV region. Dr. Faucett actually got to see Thomas sliding into the base, and without seeing the actual MRI, his medical opinion is just on the news of only being a Grade 2 MCL strain and he told us:

“His was more of a rotational injury so those are usually a bit more stable as compared to a football blow to the knee that tends to be more violent which takes longer to heal. … If this is just a straightforward MCL injury [for an athlete with no knee other knee issues], a rotational [MCL] injury like this, he should be able to recover on the faster side of six weeks.”

That certainly sounds like encouraging news on Thomas as compared to some of the armchair internet docs who were saying we wouldn’t see Thomas back until the All-Star break. Dr. Faucett told us as the knee is more stable they can start workouts again, and he has seen some Grade 2 recoveries as quick as 3-to-4 weeks in a best case situation. As we know, everyone’s situation is different, and everyone heals on their own timetable.

For today, the Dodgers go with their rookie from Japan, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a 25 year old righty. In his five starts, he has a 4.50 ERA after a tough start to his season. The Nats have MacKenzie Gore today in this salvage getaway game for both teams. The Nats fly to Miami immediately after this ballgame.

Until Josiah Gray is ready to return from his forearm muscular strain, here’s what we think the schedule could look like going forward:

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

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has CJ Abrams at the top at a +1.0 WAR followed by Hunter Harvey and Trevor Williams at +0.8. Jesse Winker i and MacKenzie Gore and at +0.7. Luis Garcia Jr., Jake Irvin and Mitchell Parker are at +0.6 WAR. In total, 20 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another five at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“That’s a tough [Dodgers’] lineup. When we have a chance to put some runs on the board, we’ve got to capitalize.”

— manager Dave Martinez said on Tuesday

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.82 and tied for 25th in MLB. Obviously sample sizes are miniscule at this point. The Nats have been slowly moving up in the rankings.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 6.51
No. 4 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.55
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.60
No. 2 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.91
No. 1 Starter: Mitchell Parker 1.50

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals

Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 4:05 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 on Channel 89, and the opposing team online only.

Line-up subject to change (without notice):

Update: Nick Senzel is out with the stomach flu, and Ildemaro Vargas is replacing him.

TalkNats is Celebrating the 5 and 100 year anniversaries of World Series Wins by providing Game-by-Game Summaries.

Game 24
The Nationals lost on 04/26 on the road against the Padres resulting in a record of 11-13. Max Scherzer was aces in this game going 7.0 innings of 2-run baseball with no walks and 10 punchies. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 05/14 at home against the Cleveland Indians with Walter Johnson on the mound resulting in a record of 11-13. Box Score / Standings

This entry was posted in InGame. Bookmark the permalink.