Thursday afternoon, the buzz around the Potomac Nationals was around Reynaldo Lopez, one of their top pitching prospects, making his debut at the Nationals high-A affiliate. He threw five shutout innings and only gave up two hits in the victory. Last night, the buzz shifted over to the Washington Nationals top prospect (according to MLB Pipeline) and one of the top prospects in baseball, Lucas Giolito, made his debut.
The 20-year-old right hander, who went 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA last season at low-A Hagerstown, made his debut against the Frederick Keys (Baltimore Orioles). There were some high points for Giolito, but in the end, he ended up taking the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings while striking out five and walking two. While his line may not look great, Andrew Simon of MLB.com and Sports on Earth, tweeted that Giolito’s line wasn’t that bad:
It didn’t start bad for Giolito. Thru the first two innings, he gave up only one hit and struck out three batters. Plus, Potomac helped him out with some run support early.
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In the bottom of the second, third baseman Drew Ward led off the inning with a home run to center, his second of the season. Later in the inning, Stephen Perez would give the Nationals a 2-0 lead on a RBI single to left that scored Chris Bostick.
However, Giolito ran into a speed bump in the third inning. He gave up three straight singles, surrendered a walk, and threw a wild pitch in the first four batters of the games, leading to the Keys getting on the board. After a RBI groundout by Drew Dosch tied the game, Trey Mancini would single to right, scoring Tucker Nathans, to give them the lead. The scoring for the inning would end when a RBI single by Adrian Marin made the score 4-2.
Even down 4-2, Potomac would rally to tie the game. In the third inning, John Wooten hit a RBI groundout that scored Spencer Kieboom, who led off the inning with a triple. Then, one inning later, Isaac Ballou, who is the new leadoff hiter in Potomac with Wilmer Difo in Harrisburg, singled to left to score Narciso Mesa and tied the game at four.
Giolito would start the fifth inning, but a one out double by Brenden Webb would cause Potomac to go to their bullpen. Justin Thomas would come in for relief, but Webb would score on Marin’s second RBI single of the game to give Frederick the lead for good.
As the game went on, Frederick would have a 8-5 lead, but Potomac would rally back with a run in the eighth and the ninth inning. In the eighth, a sac fly by Narciso Mesa scored Estarlin Martinez, who tripled to left earlier in the inning. Then, in the ninth, Ward cut the deficit to one by driving in Kieboom via a RBI double to left. Potomac had the winning run on base with two outs after Bostick drew a walk, but Brandon Miller grounded out to short to end the game.