Despite Ryan Zimmerman’s dramatic game tying home run, Koda Glover couldn’t find the strike zone in the ninth as the Washington Nationals lost against the Phillies
During the first week of this season, the Washington Nationals bullpen has struggled to get anybody out. It is only six games, but their relievers have had the highest ERA of any team in the National League (7.52) and the third highest in all of baseball.
Yesterday, the story of the game should’ve been Ryan Zimmerman’’s pinch-hit home run or Stephen Strasburg striking out eight in seven good innings. Instead, it goes back to the bullpen issues again as Koda Glover couldn’t find the strike zone. For more on the game before we dive into Glover’s outing, listen to Ron Juckett’s postgame recap from Sunday:
Glover ended up taking the loss after Cesar Hernandez hit a walk-off single in the ninth. Out of the 21 pitches he threw, the right-hander only threw ten strikes and threw his first six pitches out of the zone. He needed pitching coach Mike Maddux to come out to the mound in a middle of an at-bat.
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Witb Blake Treinen not having an easy first four games, Glover had a chance to at least make an impression on the coaching staff and show off the quality stuff that makes him a good closer candidate. Instead, he had a bad outing.
If Glover is going to have his success, he needs his sinker to be down in the zone and for strikes. Against the Phillies yesterday, he threw 13 sinkers, but only five of them were for strikes. Without great command of his best pitch, that limits how much he can use the slider and changeup.
Two days ago, Glover was impressive in getting out of a jam in the eighth inning. In fact, in two of his three appearances, the 23-year-old has found a way to get out of a tough situation. But, you can’t keep playing with fire and you eventually get burned.
The most surprising stat of Glover’s first three appearances is that he has yet to pick up a strikeout. You could make the case that he has the best strikeout stuff of any of the pitchers in this bullpen. But, it is only a three game sample size.
Right now, it appears the Washington Nationals are trying to find relievers to step up and claim the big outs. But, for the most part, these relievers can’t seem to get ahead of hitters and it costs them. Yesterday, the Nats added reinforcements in the minor leagues with the signing of Joe Nathan, as first reported by Jon Heyman of Fanrag Sports:
We know from Heyman’s reporting last week that the Nats were split on whom they were going to make the closer coming out of spring training. One game won’t win Glover the job and it wasn’t a save situation, but it would’ve put a good thought in the minds of Dusty Baker and Maddux.
Now, as the Nats head into a home series with the St. Louis Cardinals beginning tonight, the talk of Glover winning this job soon is starting to quiet down. But, it’s only three appearances.