The Washington Nationals pulled out the latest of late wins on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Juan Soto delivered to go-ahead single in the eighth.
It finished well into the early hours of Sunday morning, but the Washington Nationals dug deep for a 5-4 victory. Always seemingly finding himself in huge situations, it was Juan Soto who delivered the go-ahead hit late.
Behind 4-3, with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning, Soto shot a single back up the middle. Trea Turner and Bryce Harper scored and gave the Nats the lead while the rookie bat flipped beautifully on his way up the first base line.
How does the rookie keep coming through in these spots despite being, by his lofty standards, in a slump? “Just keep doing Juan Soto things”, he told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post.
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Soto has been one of the team’s most clutch hitters this season. And yes, he’s doing that while 19, proving the big leagues aren’t too much for him. He leads the Nationals, and is in top 20 in the majors for OPS in High Leverage spots, according to FanGraphs with a 1.154 figure.
It’s going to be nip and tuck between Soto and Ronald Acuna for the National League rookie of the year. But the Nats rookie probably has the edge due to being a more complete hitter, and while Acuna has the edge on defense, it seems like Soto’s award to lose.
Strasburg turns up the filth factor
Another Stephen Strasburg start in which he looked significantly better than the previous one. After a strong effort in Philadelphia last time out, he managed to turn it up a notch on Saturday.
The right-hander worked six innings of two-run ball, allowing just five hits, two walks and struck out seven Brewers. Most of the damage came in the fifth inning, where the visitors racked up four hits and scored two runs.
At least that’s the Strasburg we’re used to seeing, where he’s dominant bar one inning where it seems to snowball. September has been a month he’s excelled in previously, so hopefully he can build on this outing even further.
Miller shaky in the ninth again
After Soto’s heroics in the eighth, it was left to Justin Miller to wrap it up in the ninth inning. Despite recording the save, it was a bumpy road, to say the least.
He started off by allowing a home run to Tyler Saladino, then a two-out single to Jesus Aguilar. In the end, he got out of the inning to secure the lead, but after nearly blowing a save last time out, it’s fair to wonder whether he’s the best man for the job.
Greg Holland has been lights out for the Nats and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning of this game. In an ideal world, he would be the best man for the ninth. But you could also argue, it’s best for the role to go to someone under contract beyond 2018, so the team can evaluate them in the role moving forward.
The Washington Nationals will seek another series win on Sunday behind rookie Jefry Rodriguez. The young righty gets the start as Max Scherzer was pushed back after his stressful outing against the Phillies last time.