Washington Nationals: Mark Reynolds walks it off despite struggles

rshinberg
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The Washington Nationals walked-off Miami thanks to a Mark Reynolds home run.  The team has won back-to-back games for the first time since June 5 and 6.

After being dusted off of the plate on the first three pitches of his at-bat, Washington Nationals first baseman Mark Reynolds crushed a 3-1 fastball over the Miami bullpen, spawning a mob scene at home plate.

In a game that lacked energy, a jolt struck Nationals Park at the crack of his bat.  While the win is a significant momentum boost, it should not overshadow the continual issues the team has yet to fix.

Starting with pitching, Gio Gonzalez barely escaped five innings.  He had a bases loaded, no out situation in the fifth inning and only allowed one run to score.  He allowed four walks and eight hits in total but limited the damage to two runs.

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Gonzalez averaged 22.8 pitches per inning.  He never had command or control over his pitches and it was evident from the start.  His defense aided him with three double plays which limited the potential damage.

The issues do not stop here.  The batters struggled as well leaving nine total men on base.  Each starter, minus Trea Turner, left at least one man on.

Revitalized Bullpen

In a strange role reversal, the Nationals bullpen has been great over the last few games.  It held true tonight as the pen did a phenomenal job keeping the game tied and giving the team a chance to win.

Namely, Brandon Kintzler is pitching fantastically. Since June 9, he has a 1.69 ERA, and a 0.75 WHIP.  These numbers are vast improvements from his stats up until June 8 (4.50 ERA, 1.46 WHIP).

Sean Doolittle is also pitching lights out. His 1.45 ERA, 11.81 K/9, and 0.55 WHIP are all elite.  His 22 saves are tied with former Nat Blake Treinen for 7thin the MLB.

Taking Care of Business

With the Nationals falling behind the Braves by as many as seven games, it was imperative the Nationals beat up on bad teams before the All-Star break.  While certainly doing so in an unconventional fashion, the Nats guaranteed at least a series split with Miami tonight.

The team is 5-0 against the Marlins this season and have won 13 straight games against the fish dating back to last season.

The Braves lost tonight, totaling four in a row, and now have their lead trimmed to five games.  When the Braves lose, the Nats must take advantage.  The “post team meeting” Washington Nationals are now two-for-two in that regard.

Next: Super Bullpen?

At 7:15 in Nationals Park, the home team goes for the series win against the Marlins.  Max Scherzer will take the mound against veteran left-hander Wei Yin Chen.

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