Game #45 Salvage operation in Philly

The Washington Nationals are mired in a four-game losing skid after a soul-crushing blown save that happened last night. With two-outs in the 9th inning, closer Kyle Finnegan was facing Kody Clemens who is a 28 year old with only 278 MLB at-bats before he faced Finnegan. He took a middle of the zone fastball on the outer third and smashed it over the center field wall, and snatched a 3-2 victory away from this Nats team. Washington has now lost 7-of-11 one-run games this season. The value of one run has become a real issue, and the focus normally goes to pitching like Finnegan’s BS last night — but Finn had been pitching great and not the overall problem here. It is offense, defense, and coaching in this case.

You could call the issues part of the “Little Things.” Some of the little things don’t always turn into runs, but let’s look at Eddie Rosario dropping a ball in the outfield after the Clemens home run. It resulted in just one extra pitch for Finnegan, but instead of facing Johan Rojas to start the 10th inning, he had to face Kyle Schwarber who was intentionally walked. Earlier in the game, Jesse Winker had a mis-read on a flyball that turned into a single, and Riley Adams had a pitch go between his legs. The Winker mis-read caused an immediate pitching change in the 8th inning.

But the offense was offensive when you look at the swing & miss out of the zone that have made Nationals’ batters look so bad at times, and if we point fingers — Joey Meneses struck out 3-of-5 at-bats, and Victor Robles struck out 2-of-3 at-bats. Winker had two at-bats in lefty/lefty that he looked at strike after strike. That has been an issue for Winker. In total, the Nats had 22 swing & misses. The Phillies just 14. But the big difference was the Nats struck out 12 times, and the Phillies just 4.

By the way, MacKenzie Gore pitched great last night. Not enough strikeouts, but he pitched to his defense and cruised through 6 ⅓ innings giving up just three hits, two runs, and three walks. Today, Trevor Williams has to step up and pitch a gem. Control what you can control and hope the Nats score some runs.

The Nationals are 1-5 since last Saturday in Boston. The Nats lost that game 4-2, and if you remember, that was the start of some really bad and sloppy baseball. The Nats came into that game with a 19-18 record. What changed in that game? Ask yourself that. It kind of felt that the sloppy Nats had returned. Hopefully general manager Mike Rizzo woke up in the middle of the night with an idea — like maybe he should call-up James Wood and cut Robles.

Here’s what we think the schedule could look like going forward:

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

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has CJ Abrams and Trevor Williams at +1.2 WAR, and Jake Irvin and MacKenzie Gore at a +1.1 and +1.0 respectively. In total, 20 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another five at a neutral 0.0 WAR. Unfortunately, Keibert Ruiz has moved to the -1.0 WAR line at the quarter-pole of the season. Can he turn that around like Eddie Rosario?

“We hit the ball better today — we had 12 hits — but we have to capitalize early, and don’t make it so close. Try to score some runs and get ahead.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 4.01 and 15th in MLB. The Nats are now 12 points from 13th best in baseball. The team has been slowly moving up in the rankings it seems week by week.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.59
No. 4 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.91
No. 3 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.30
No. 2 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.09
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 1.94

Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Stadium: Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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 181.

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 45:
The Nationals won on 05/18 at home against the Cubs resulting in a record of 19-26. Stephen Strasburg pitched a gem with a Sean Doolittle save. Yes, that was the 19th win of the season. The leadoff hitter for the Cubs on that day was Kyle Schwarber. Box Score / Standings
The Senators lost on 06/10 on the road against the Cleveland Indians resulting in a record of 21-24.  Box Score / Standings

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