Game #80 This time you can’t blame the offense

The Washington Nationals have averaged 6.5 runs per game so far in San Diego, and that should have been enough to produce two wins if the defense and pitching did their jobs. They didn’t.

The Nationals are the 6th worst defensive team in baseball not counting their catching defense — and if you remove Jacob Young — the Nats are the worst by far. The plays not made are piling up. A flyball to Lane Thomas, a grounder to Luis Garcia Jr., a throw to Nick Senzel, a scoop by Joey Meneses are all recent costly missed plays … in the past few days. The infield has looked like swiss cheese for groundballs finding the fertile green outfield grass for back-breaking hits.

Would you be surprised if you learned that Abrams leads the Nationals in the worst fielding per Statcast, and also most recently in the worst baserunning. You want to be paid like Bobby Witt Jr.? Play a complete game like Witt! Going 3-for-3 then getting picked-off twice won’t get you the massive contract. You have to play all parts of the game, not just hit the ball.

The Nats were out for revenge yesterday after the antics of Jurickson Profar on Monday night. To give him a free base on a hit-by-pitch in the first inning was not smart. It could have resulted in an ejection of MacKenzie Gore. That would have crushed the bullpen without a true long-man. The next batter after Profar hit a 2-run homer. Sure, plot your revenge at the right time when you have two outs and bases empty with a big lead or a big deficit. The Nats dropped the first two games to San Diego, and that’s not good in any way, shape, or form.

The Nationals are betting underdogs this afternoon at +166 to win. The reason the Nats are underdogs is because the Padres have Dylan Cease going against the young DJ Herz.

Manager Dave Martinez didn’t have to use closer Kyle Finnegan last night. Hunter Harvey got a rest day, but once again Martinez pushed hard on Derek Law after he pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings on Monday. Dylan Floro had a bad outing yesterday without recording an out and eating 3 earnies. Jordan Weems covered 1 1/3 innings allowing no baserunners and Tanner Rainey working the final frame with no baserunners.

The starting rotation picture is getting interesting as Josiah Gray pitched a 1-run easy start on 73-pitches last night in Rochester over 6.0 innings. Gray was throwing free and easy against a weak Pittsburgh minor league affiliate. On general manager Mike Rizzo’s radio show today, he said that Gray had more rehab starts. Starts. Plural. But maybe after last night’s game, the team rethinks that with a grueling 17 consecutive games starting on Friday to the All-Star break.

This schedule might change on Sunday or Monday if Rizzo inserts Gray back into the rotation:

  1. Wednesday: DJ Herz vs. Padres
  2. Thursday: Day-off June 27
  3. Friday: Mitchell Parker vs. Rays
  4. Saturday: Jake Irvin vs. Rays
  5. Sunday: Patrick Corbin vs. Rays
  6. Monday: Gore vs. Mets
  7. Tuesday: Herz vs. Mets
  8. Wednesday: Parker vs. Mets
  9. Thursday: Irvin vs. Mets – July 4
  10. Friday: Corbin vs. Cardinals
  11. Saturday: Gore vs. Cardinals
  12. Sunday: Herz vs. Cardinals
  13. Monday: Parker vs. Cardinals
  14. Tuesday: Irvin vs. Mets
  15. Wednesday: Corbin vs. Mets
  16. Thursday: Gore vs. Mets

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has MacKenzie Gore at +1.9, and Jake Irvin at+1.8 WAR. CJ Abrams takes back the team lead for position players at +1.7 WAR followed by Jacob Young at +1.6. Mitchell Parker is at the +1.4 mark. In total, 22 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another seven are at a neutral 0.0 WAR. Eddie Rosario dropped to the lowest point on the Nats roster at a -1.2 WAR.

“We just can’t give away outs. We can’t. [CJ Abrams] is smarter than that.” 

— manager Dave Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.92 and 13th in MLB. The Nats are 20 points from being a Top-10 starting rotation by ERA. Look at those rankings of teams.

Here is how they rank, and if we insert DJ Herz, he would be ahead of Patrick Corbin at a 4.50 ERA:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.46
No. 4 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.81
No. 3 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.30
No. 2 Starter: Jake Irvin 3.13
No. 1 Starter: Trevor Williams 2.22

Washington Nationals vs. San Diego Padres

Stadium: Petco Park, San Diego, California
1st Pitch: 4:10 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, tune to Channel 182 for the home broadcast and the road team is online only.

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 80:
The Nationals won on 06/27 on the road against the Marlins by the score 8-5 resulting in a record of 40-40. The Nats reach the .500 mark! They won’t drop below .500 the rest of the season. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators won on 07/12 at home against the Indians resulting in a record of 44-36.  Box Score / Standings

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