The Washington Nationals have lessons to master following their series loss to the Atlanta Braves. A reminder that we never stop learning.
Max Scherzer struggled all afternoon—for him, anyway—as Washington’s bats were stymied by Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz. He struck out eight, including Bryce Harper for the first time this year. The Braves win the series, two-to-one as the Nats go home with a 4-2 record.
Not shabby for a road trip although they would rather have taken another game down south.
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Although both loses to the Braves were not close, mistakes made by Martinez did not help matters. But, you want these flubs to come early enough so he can learn without hurting the team down the road. As with life itself, these are teaching moments.
LETTING COLE HIT TUESDAY
Bases loaded and behind, Martinez did not pinch-hit for the struggling A.J. Cole. He had a pitcher who could not retire hitters with a full bench. Julio Teheran, Atlanta’s starter, struggled. A pinch hitter there might swing momentum back toward Washington and, in a Johnny Wholestaff game, the Nats might have stolen a win.
Martinez did not want to extend his pen. You can understand the thinking but, next time, he should err trying to win. It happens.
SCHERZER AND SEVERINO ARE NOT COMPATIBLE
If Martinez had to do this again, he uses Pedro Severino Tuesday to catch Cole and Miguel Montero for Scherzer in the day game. He was right not to use one for the “day-after-night” routine. But, instead of giving Severino the rest, Martinez goofed.
Severino was Cole’s regular catcher in Triple-A Syracuse. They know each other. Perhaps Severino had the right words to settle Cole after the first rocky inning.
Scherzer and Montero worked together this spring. It is hard to imagine the pair as crossed up as much as Severino was with Scherzer. From pitch calls to locations, there was an uneasiness that hurt the team.
Expect Montero to catch Scherzer next week at home versus Atlanta.
It did not help Scherzer in the first when Wilmer Difo botched the third out. Instead of the inning ending, Scherzer allowed a three-run blast to Preston Tucker. The box score says those runs are unearned, but Washington never recovered.
Difo’s slump at the plate and in the field continues.
Time to forget, grab dinner and fly home. The home opener is Thursday.