May 19, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) catches a pop up against the New York Yankees in the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
5th Inning Comeback Sparks Nats
While Washington did not tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, they did a great job of preventing Yankee starter Nathan Eovaldi from staying in his groove and forcing him to throw bad pitches.
The inning started when Danny Espinosa was able to work a nine pitch at-bat that ultimately ended in a walk after four straight foul balls. Two batters later, Williams brought in a power hitter in Clint Robinson to pinch hit to try to cut the lead in half. While Robinson didn’t get that elusive first home run, he did get the scoring started with a RBI double over the head of Carlos Beltran in right field.
Eovaldi was behind 3-1 on Robinson and had trouble finding the plate in that inning. After that double, he went back to his fastball, which he can throw in the late 90’s, but teams are able to hit it and hit it hard. The next three hitters (Span, Ian Desmond, and Yunel Escobar) saw a grand total of five pitches, four of which were fastballs. All three turned those fastballs into RBI singles.
While Bryce Harper would ground into a double play against Wilson to end the inning, that was a crucial inning for the Nationals because of how strong the Yankees bullpen is at the end of games.
With Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller likely to come in during the eighth and ninth innings respectively, it makes other teams have to have more urgency in the middle innings because of the way the Yanks can shorten the game. In that spot, a one run deficit is a lot easier to come back from than four runs. That set the stage for the Nats middle relief.
Next: Bullpen Gets The Job Done