The Washington Nationals offense continues to slump at the plate, and this time it was their former player Marco Estrada who managed to keep them scoreless.
Estrada finished the day with 6.2 innings of scoreless ball, allowing just three hits and two walks. His changeup was the key pitch for him in this one, generating seven swings an misses off the pitch.
It was most notable when he threw several to Nats rookie, Juan Soto. He ended up having an uncharacteristic 0 for 4 game, only his seventh hitless effort in his 22nd game.
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In June, the Nationals have the second least runs scored, way ahead of the New York Mets. This is primarily from the lack of home runs so far, with just eight, tied for the least in baseball during the month.
It was a tactic they relied upon heavily in the early going, that now seems to be evading them. Now that almost all their bats are back healthy, they’ll need to be patient to work out of this slump.
Max Scherzer near flawless
In some not particularly shocking news, Max Scherzer seemed to have his strikeout pitch working yet again. He struck out 10 Blue Jays over six innings and seemed to have them on puppet strings.
However, the one mistake he made all game turned out to be the difference on the scoreboard. In the fifth inning, Devon Travis deposited a hanging slider deep into the left-field bleachers. It gave the Jays a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
On another day, Scherzer would’ve easily come out of this one the victor, and he’s definitely not to blame for this loss. It speaks volumes that this will get put down as a sub-par outing for the Nationals’ ace. Look for him to get back to his dominant ways against the Baltimore Orioles.
Daniel Murphy draws start at first base
It was the first time Murphy had played first base in the majors since September 6th in 2016, but it may be a home for him moving forward. He looked shaky at second base on his rehab assignment with the Harrisburg Senators, so it makes sense defensively.
Despite going hitless in four ABs on Saturday, he stung the ball a couple of times and is starting to shake off the rust. He could be a deadly bat in the lineup the rest of the way, as long as the Nationals don’t push him too much and back onto the DL.
Now the Washington Nationals will need to salvage a victory on Sunday, in the hope it can set them up for the week ahead. Tanner Roark will get the ball for the Nats, looking to start rectifying his 3-7 record.