Today was a bad day to be a Nats pitcher.
After allowing two runs total in the first and second inning, Zimmermann fell apart in the third, allowing six runs as he struggled with both location and velocity. After the game, manager Davey Johnson said that Zimmermann had a case of “dead arm”, meaning that he is suffering from general fatigue in the arm. In his postgame remarks, Johnson said “there is nothing to be worried about”, while Zimmermann made no mention of any ailment. After finally escaping the third inning, Zimmermann was relieved by Rafael Soriano, who allowed a leadoff double but retired the next three batters, including one by strikeout, in a scoreless inning. Prospect Nathan Karns, who entered to pitch the fifth, was not nearly as fortunate. He allowed seven runs thanks to an error by third baseman Anthony Rendon. However, thankfully for his statline, only one of these runs was earned. After the game, it was revealed that Karns has a right leg injury, and that he will soon be seeing a doctor. Karns was unable to finish the inning, recording only two outs while the third was taken care of by reliever Cole Kimball, who retired the first and only batter he faced.
As you might expect, with all the runs they scored, the Cardinals posted some incredible statlines, led by CF Shane Robinson and 2B Matt Carpenter. Robinson was 2-3 with a walk, three runs scored, and four RBI, while Carpenter was 4-4 with a run and an RBI. After these two atrocious outings, the Washington pitching was surprisingly good for the game’s remaining four innings. Notoriously wild fireballer Henry Rodriguez came on to pitch the sixth, and many Nats fans from a few years ago may have thought he was put in simply to add fuel to the fire. This was not the case, and Rodriguez looked effective in recording a 1-2-3 inning. Tyler Clippard was similarly strong in his 1-2-3 seventh, with two strikeouts to boot. Lefty Patrick McCoy, a non-roster invitee, pitched the eighth and ninth, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk.
For most of the game, things on offense seemed just as grim as the pitching. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals trailed 16-3, with the only runs coming from a two-run Bryce Harper triple in the third and a Ryan Zimmerman double in the sixth. In the ninth, however, the backups exploded for seven runs off St. Louis relievers Keith Butler and Victor Marte. Micah Owings, the pitcher-turned-position player, and Zach Walters both hit home runs, while Matt Skole, Chris Marrero, and Steve Lombardozzi added RBI hits.
Next Game: Saturday vs. Miami, 1:05 ET