Game #58 Key players are dealing with injury concerns

The Washington Nationals couldn’t catch a popup with two outs in the first inning. The Cleveland broadcasters thought that Eddie Rosario gave up on the ball while Kevin Frandsen of the Nats booth thought that shortstop Ildemaro Vargas should have caught the ball. Manager Dave Martinez in his postgame presser saw it like Frandsen. Replay showed Vargas calling for the ball then he stopped running after it. Instead of a 2-1 win, the Nats lost 3-2. Their 9th loss by one-run in 13-games. A sad reminder of what this season could have been.

Forget about the other mistakes as there were plenty on the base paths with two runners thrown out on awful mistakes that included another blunder by third base coach Ricky Gutierrez who gave his base runner the go sign and then the stop sign when it was too late. And the team suffered their 12th pick-off of the season. This time Jesse Winker was picked-off on a set play that should never work at the MLB level. The Guardians deked him by the first baseman jumping off of first base like he wasn’t holding him on. Winker froze and was thrown out trying to go back to the base standing up. How embarrassing.

The Guardians play aggressive mistake-free baseball. You could point to their outfielder slipping on the turf as a mistake — but that was like a freak accident. The Guardians won, and they are firmly in first place in their division. If you look at their roster, besides Jose Ramirez, they don’t look so great. They just find a way to score enough runs per game. We saw their best starting pitcher yesterday in Ben Lively. Their starting rotation has a higher ERA (4.15) than the Nats at 3.93. The Guardians are 11-6 in one-run games.

The strength of the Nationals was evident again yesterday with the starting pitching gutting through another game. Clearly Mitchell Parker didn’t have his “A” game as he gutted through his 5⅔ innings with a season-high four walks, but he only gave up four hits including that popup that has to be caught. Two of the other hits were swinging bunts by Ramirez that his speed got him two infield singles. The fourth hit was in and out of the glove of Lane Thomas on a ball that was ruled a double. Amazingly, Parker was close to a no-hitting the Guardians on a day that he struggled with his control.

For the bullpen, Derek Law carried the load burden in this one going 1⅔ innings, and Dylan Floro covered his minimum of three batters. The rest of the bullpen got the night off. Note that Tanner Rainey hasn’t pitched since May 21. What is going on there?

The Nats sent the struggling Riley Adams back to Triple-A and brought back Drew Millas who has been one of the hottest bats in the minor leagues. There are injury concerns on the roster but no other moves were made. CJ Abrams was scratched from the lineup before yesterday’s game with a sore shoulder, and Jacob Young got a pitch off of his knuckles and his hand swelled up, and he was removed from the game. That was on his right-hand that has taken a beating as we jammed those fingers on catch a few weeks ago and before that was hit on that hand by a pitch. He took a pitch to the jaw this week that his “C” flap saved serious injury, and we know he dealt with back pain that sidelined him earlier in the season. These are two key players that the team could be without.

With Corbin’s two-run quality on Friday night, he has most likely solidified his spot once again in this rotation — or at least until Cade Cavalli and/or Josiah Gray are ready. Here’s what we think the starting rotation could look like going forward:

  1. Sunday: Jake Irvin vs. Cleveland
  2. Monday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Mets
  3. Tuesday: Trevor Williams vs. Mets
  4. Wednesday: Patrick Corbin vs. Mets
  5. Thursday: Mitchell Parker vs. Braves
  6. Friday: Irvin vs. Braves
  7. Saturday: Gore vs. Braves
  8. Sunday: Williams vs. Braves
  9. Monday: Day-off June 10

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has a new leader with Trevor Williams at +1.7 WAR, and MacKenzie Gore at +1.5 WAR followed by Jake Irvin at +1.3. Jacob Young takes the top spot at +1.1 for position players and Hunter Harvey, Mitchell Parker, and Luis Garcia Jr. are all at the +1.0 mark. In total, 19 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another seven at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“[Vargas] should’ve caught the ball. He called it. He waved. My assumption is he heard someone else call it. But he’s gone that far. Just catch the ball. The ball’s got to be caught.”

“Sloppy game. … It was sloppy.”

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game and Martinez was ejected for arguing with the umpire

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.93 and 14th in MLB. The Nats are now 23 points from 11th best in baseball. Think about shaving about one-quarter runs off of that ERA total and what that would mean.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.83
No. 4 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.60
No. 3 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.43
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 2.91
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.22

Washington Nationals vs. Cleveland Guardians

Stadium: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
1st Pitch: 1:40 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 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 58:
The Nationals lost on 06/01 on the road against the Cincinnati Reds resulting in a record of 25-33. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators won on 06/24 on the road against the Yankees resulting in a record of 32-26.  Box Score / Standings

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