Washington Nationals rookie Jefry Rodriguez looked over-matched and unprepared for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
The struggles with the Washington Nationals starting rotation continues to remain a theme as we approach the All-Star break. Youngster Jefry Rodriguez took the mound in the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In his third career start, he disappointed massively. Rodriguez gave up four straight hits to start the game and quickly found himself down 3-0.
The second inning didn’t get much better, as the Pirates tacked on three more runs to make it 6-1. Rodriguez allowed 8 hits and walked four batters, so it could’ve been much worse. He did manage to give the bullpen a little respite, going 5 innings before turning the ball over to Matt Grace.
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Aside from his first relief appearance in Atlanta, Jefry Rodriguez has shown that he’s not ready to face Major League hitters on a consistent basis. With only two major league ready pitches, he needs more time in the minors to fine tune his changeup still.
The Nationals never really had a chance in this game after they went down 6-1 in the first two innings. With a rotation that’s been struggling lately, the Nats may not want to role with Rodriguez much longer.
Baserunning errors continue
The Nationals led off the second inning with three base hits, but Daniel Murphy made the first out trying to go from first to third on a ground ball to center field. It was the latest baserunning blunder in a season that’s been rife with bad decisions on the base paths.
The error in judgment killed a burgeoning Nationals rally that could’ve allowed them to get back in the game early. Instead, they settled for just the one run and the game spiraled from there.
A small positive note is that the Nationals actually out-hit the Pirates, 10 to 8. So the offense is improving despite the loss.
Soto and Harper both hit home runs
Juan Soto actually hit a pull-side home run over the right-field fence for his 9th of the season. The rookie outfielder continues to impress at the plate, though his adventures on defense in left field leave much to be desired.
Bryce Harper hit the ball to the warning track in each of his first two at-bats but had no trouble launching a missile 443 feet to center in his 3rd at bat. His 22nd long ball of the year cut the lead to 6-3, but the Nationals were not able to get any closer than that.
Another common theme for the Nationals this season has been hitting home runs without men on base. Both of these homers by Harper and Soto were solo shots that did ultimately did little damage.