Reaction: Lack of Clutch Hitting Ruins Washington Nationals Home Opener

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mar 23, 2016; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Oliver Perez (46) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Space Coast Stadium. The Washington Nationals won 13-0. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 23, 2016; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Oliver Perez (46) throws a pitch in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Space Coast Stadium. The Washington Nationals won 13-0. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

Perez And Kelley Had Strong Outings

It wasn’t the best day for the Nationals’ bullpen yesterday. Petit gave up the single to Phelps in the top of the fifth and Matt Belisle gave up an RBI double to Hechavarria in the top of the seventh during his first relief appearance as a National.

However, two pitchers that stood out for their strong outings were Oliver Perez and Shawn Kelley. Perez came in to face the top of the Marlins’ order and struck out Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna to begin the eighth, both on sliders. While he walked Christian Yelich to end his outing, it was still a good outing for the left-hander who has struck out three of the four batters he has faced this year.

As for Kelley, he came in after Perez and used his slider to strike out Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches. Then, in the ninth inning, he retired the Marlins in order with two of his three outs coming via the groundball. After a rough outing that outing off on Opening Day in which he did not throw a single strike, Kelley has appeared to shaken that game off. Even though the Nats didn’t comeback, Perez and Kelley did a good job keeping the team in the game.

Next: Recap: Roark Struggles In Home Opener Loss

All in all, it wasn’t a bad day for the bullpen, but Belisle and Petit, like Roark, were not able to get out of the inning with two outs. Miami’s offense was able to get four of their six runs with two outs, with the only exception being the one out, two-run single by Martin Prado in the top of the first inning.

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