Game #39 Finale in Boston; Happy Mother’s Day!

The Washington Nationals needed a great start from Jake Irvin and got more than that in a 7.0 inning two-run outing. Unfortunately, the Nats bats went mostly quiet, and Irvin exited in a 2-2 tie game. While both teams made some mistakes, the one with the fewest won this game.

Manager Dave Martinez went with an identical lineup for this game as he had on Friday night. Joey Meneses hit his first home run of the season, and Eddie Rosario hit an oppo dinger above the Green Monster for another homer. That was it for the scoring. And those were two of the four total hits by the Nats in this game to go with two walks, a HBP, and Jacob Young reaching on an error. That was a total of eight baserunners, but the Red Sox turned two double plays erasing two baserunners, and a pickoff of Victor Robles erased another. So it was as if the Nats had five baserunners, and two scored by their own home runs. The Nats had a total of ONE runner-in-scoring-position all game.

The loss was pegged on Robert Garcia who gave up a screaming liner to Rafael Devers towards the Green Monster that only traveled 321 feet. But Rosario was playing up instead of back in the 8th inning of a tie game with the go-ahead run on second base and two outs. Location and positioning were the key here. That play had an expected-batting-average (xBA) of .620. So yes, 62 percent of the time that contact would result in a hit — but 38 percent of the time in an out. Garcia had Devers in a 2-2 count and threw a fastball on the inner-third at the bottom of the zone — a ball that is generally pulled — yet Devers swung late and was rewarded on a top-spin liner sent oppo. Garcia threw a good pitch, and as they say, the batter gets paid too.

But let’s examine that entire bottom of the 8th inning. Pop-out for out 1. A swinging dribbler stayed fair for an infield single. A tailor-made double play ball that CJ Abrams botched and threw the ball away, sending the batter to second base with two outs. They decided to intentionally walk Tyler O’Neill to pitch lefty-lefty to Devers. In Garcia’s defense, he pitched good enough and baseball happened — and Abrams’ error changed everything. Since rules say you cannot assume a double play, both runs were considered to be earned.

Again, this team has little margin for error. Errors happen. Positioning decisions happen. Pickoffs happen. But here’s the thing, they are happening too much. Lipscomb had his sixth error of the season. Robles’ pick-off is a carbon copy of the other thirteen in his career. You could see he slipped — sure — but he was a dead duck with a big lead, and on replay you can see he froze for a split-second as the pitcher turned — just freezing him enough to catch him with or without slipping in the dirt. You could say none of those plays lost the game for the Nats as it was a combination of many plays not made and the overall lack of offense.

Today’s matchup in this Mother’s Day game that wraps up this series has MacKenzie Gore for the Washington Nationals, and Brayan Bello for the Red Sox.

Matchups for the White Sox series tomorrow in Chicago have Trevor Williams vs. Chris Flexen, Tuesday Mitchell Parker vs. Erick Fedde (yes, we know him), and the finale on Wednesday are Patrick Corbin vs. Garrett Crochet.

With plans to get Josiah Gray back into a rehab assignment, you have to wonder if he can make it back in the month of May. Here’s what we think the schedule could look like going forward:

  1. Sunday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Red Sox
  2. Monday: Trevor Williams vs. White Sox
  3. Tuesday: Mitchell Parker vs. White Sox
  4. Wednesday: Patrick Corbin vs. White Sox
  5. Thursday: Day-off May 16
  6. Friday: Jake Irvin vs. Phillies
  7. Saturday: Gore vs. Phillies
  8. Sunday: Williams vs. Phillies
  9. Monday: Parker vs. Twins
  10. Tuesday: Corbin vs. Twins
  11. Wednesday: Irvin vs. Twins
  12. Thursday: Day-off May 23
  13. Friday: Gore vs. Mariners
  14. Saturday: Williams vs. Mariners
  15. Sunday: Parker vs. Mariners

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has CJ Abrams and Trevor Williams at the top at a +1.2 WAR followed by Jake Irvin and Luis Garcia Jr. at a +1.0 WAR. MacKenzie Gore and Jacob Young at +0.8. In total, 21 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another five at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“It’s a tied ballgame, so I thought that was the right matchup. It was a good battle up there. [Devers] fouled a couple of good tough pitches off, and Rafi just got the best of him today. But Garcia has been throwing the ball good. He’s our left-handed guy, so we decided to go that route. It didn’t work out today, but I think I’d do it again tomorrow in a tied ballgame.”

— manager Dave Martinez said yesterday

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.09 and 16th in MLB. The Nats are now 6 points from 14th best in baseball. The Nats have been slowly moving up in the rankings it seems week by week. At this point in the season, the ERA movement is in smaller increments due to the total innings increasing to the 200 inning mark. In the old-days that was a good workload for one starter in a season.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.91
No. 4 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.72
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.44
No. 2 Starter: Mitchell Parker 2.67
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 1.96

Washington Nationals vs. Boston Red Sox

Stadium: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
1st Pitch: 1:35 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, and the opposing team on Channel 176.

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 39:
The Nationals won on 05/11 on the road against the Dodgers resulting in a record of 16-23. That of course was the Gerardo Parra game. The Nats had no offense going and were losing 2-0 in the 8th inning when Parra stepped in and crushed a grand slam off of Dylan Floro. Yes, that Dylan Floro. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 06/04 on the road against the Detroit Tigers resulting in a record of 19-20. It was a Firpo Marberry blown-save-loss. Box Score / Standings

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