Washington Nationals: Trea Turner’s Cycle Bails Out Bad Bullpen Day
By Ricky Keeler
The Washington Nationals got a historic night from Trea Turner, but the team needed his seven RBI’s after another bad night by the bullpen
Last night, Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner had the third cycle in team history and drove in seven RBI’s. But, the Nats needed every one of those RBI’s as they hung on to win a wild game in Coors Field over the Colorado Rockies, 15-12.
While it is understandable to be frustrated about the bullpen again, don’t let it take away from the numbers Turner put up. He went 4-for-6 with the aforementioned seven RBI’s hitting out of the number two spot in the batting order.
During this game, the 23-year-old showed off the opposite field power with a two-run shot to right in the top of the sixth. It was his first home run of the season and you are clearly seeing the hamstring looks 100% healthy.
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Earlier this morning, Ron Juckett made the case that Turner should leadoff in this lineup. For me, I would hit Eaton at the leadoff spot because he takes more pitches and has a higher on-base percentage. Plus, Turner will see more fastballs hitting ahead of Bryce Harper.
For more on Turner’s performance as well as five RBI’s fromDaniel Murphy
last night, check out my reaction to last night’s wild game on the DoDcast postgame show:
Now, let’s get to the bullpen. But, before we do that, the relievers weren’t helped by the fact that Joe Ross gave up two home runs and didn’t make it out of the fifth inning when he had a 7-0 lead after 1.5 innings. It was concerning to see Ross’s fastball only get to 89 miles per hour, but he didn’t seem too worried after the game because of the bad conditions:
Enny Romero got to come in after Ross and threw 1.1 scoreless innings to get his second win. His fastball got up to 99 miles per hour, but this is the fourth time Dusty Baker has used him in the last five games (62 total pitches). Without Sammy Solis, Romero is probably the only lefty Baker has a lot of confidence in against right-handed hitters.
With the Nats up 15-5, Baker goes to Koda Glover in the seventh, which was odd to see a closer candidate used in that role. Personally, Oliver Perez should’ve been the guy to get some outs with a ten run lead, which is why not having a long man is costly for this team.
Glover ended up giving up two runs in an inning, but it wasn’t the worst performance of the night. That belongs to Joe Blanton, who gave up four runs in the eighth inning without even getting an out. Right now, that Blanton signing doesn’t look good for this team.
In the end, Matt Albers got out of the eighth and Shawn Kelley got the final three outs despite giving up a home run in the ninth. But, despite the win, there is still a lot of concern and panic about this group of relievers.
Over the final 4.1 innings, the relievers had one strikeout combined. Right now, the Nats ‘pen has 50 strikeouts, which is the second lowest in the National League (Braves – 48) and the third lowest in baseball. Against that Rockies lineup, you have to miss bats consistently or their offense will make you pay.
Next: Turner Should Hit Leadoff Over Eaton
If you had to look at this bullpen, Albers might be the pitcher that gets the most trust right now because he’s getting more high leverage situations. That alone should be a major concern as the ‘pen still tries to figure itself out in late April.