Game #89 Defense Matters

The Washington Nationals were up 5-0, early in Friday’s game, then the team started to take some poor at-bats that led to no more runs scored from the fourth through the ninth inning by the Nationals despite many opportunities. Forget about the blown save in the 9th inning by Kyle Finnegan that tied the game at 5-5, and look at how many runs came on poor defensive plays in the infield by CJ Abrams, Juan Yepez, and Nick Senzel, and each was ruled a hit — they just did not make the plays — and you see the Nats should have won in regulation by a 5-2 score if the defense made their plays.

We say it over-and-over that defense matters, and maybe, just maybe, general manager Mike Rizzo is sick of it too. The Nats are bringing back third baseman Trey Lipscomb. He was the Gold Glove third baseman last year in all of the minor leagues. Senzel has been a negative defensive player at -3.0 in OAA, and that is with Senzel as a part-time player. The corresponding move was a DFA of Senzel.

After manager Dave Martinez used Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, and Robert Garcia in 3-games in a row on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, they were all used on Friday — and the results were poor as mentioned as Finnegan had the blown save — and Harvey gave up a key run. Derek Law and Dylan Floro pitched also. Tanner Rainey wasn’t used at all in the 4-game Mets series, and Jordan Weems just once. Jacob Barnes warmed up last night and was not used.

The Nationals are betting favorites  today, at -130 to win on the moneyline. That means if you bet $130 you would win $100. Bet $13 and you win $10.

By the way, there are no more days-off going forward until the All-Star break, and this is another 17-games in a row marathon that the Nats just started a week ago on Friday. If there are no rain-outs affecting games, the team is set to play 97-games before the All-Star break, and that would leave just 65-games after the All-Star break.

Here is what the rotation could look like:

  1. Saturday: MacKenzie Gore vs. Cardinals
  2. Sunday: DJ Herz vs. Cardinals
  3. Monday: Mitchell Parker vs. Cardinals
  4. Tuesday: Jake Irvin vs. Mets
  5. Wednesday: Patrick Corbin vs. Mets
  6. Thursday: Gore vs. Mets
  7. Friday: Herz vs. Brewers
  8. Saturday: Parker vs. Brewers (All-Star Futures’ Game)
  9. Sunday: Irvin vs. Brewers (MLB Draft)
  10. All-Star Break (HR Derby)
  11. All-Star Break (All-Star Game)
  12. All-Star Break
  13. All-Star Break
  14. Friday: TBA vs. Brewers – July 19

Your top Washington Nationals on the FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard has Jake Irvin and MacKenzie Gore tied at +2.2 WAR with the top position players, CJ Abrams is at +2.1 and Jacob Young at +1.8. In total, 23 Nats’ players are in positive WAR and another seven are at a neutral 0.0 WAR.

“We hit the ball hard. Yepez had some really good at-bats. He had a tough at-bat against [Ryan Helsley] and he lined out. In that situation, Nuñez was going on contact. It was just unfortunate.”

— Nats’ manager Davey Martinez said after yesterday’s game

The Nats starting pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.87 and 13th in MLB. The Nats are 9 points from being a Top-10 starting rotation by ERA. Look at those rankings of teams.

Here is how they rank:

No. 5 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.49
No. 4 Starter: DJ Herz 4.67
No. 3 Starter: Mitchell Parker 3.61
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 3.47
No. 1 Starter: Jake Irvin 2.80

Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals

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, tune to Channel 180 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 89:
The Nationals won on 07/07 at home against the Marlins resulting in a record of 47-42. They won’t drop below .500 the rest of the season. But you knew this already. Box Score / Standings
The Senators won on 07/21 at home against the Chicago White Sox resulting in a record of 50-39.  Box Score / Standings

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