The Washington Nationals lost yet another series to a winning team when the Milwaukee Brewers beat up on Jefry Rodriguez in a 9-4 win.
The young right-hander issued seven walks and seven hits while giving up seven runs. The seven walks issued are the joint-most given up by any pitcher this season in all of major league baseball and are still a huge concern for Rodriguez.
His command never seemed there from the very start, as he issued six straight balls to open the game, and walked the first two batters. This left manager Davey Martinez an interesting dilemma in the fourth inning with the Nationals leading 4-2.
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With Rodriguez due to hit for himself, and clearly not looking sharp it was a prime opportunity to take him out and turn it over to the bullpen. But Martinez said to Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports after the game that left him in, hoping that he could retire the bottom of the lineup.
At that point in time, it was certainly a questionable decision, to say the least. But without the bullpen options seemingly available, and Tim Collins‘ ineffectiveness it may not have made much difference.
Jefry Rodriguez will likely see some more run in the rotation as the team looks ahead to 2019. But if he can’t reign in his command or develop a true third pitch, his future is likely to be in the bullpen moving forward.
Williams makes his big league debut
After receiving his first major league call-up on Saturday as rosters expanded, Austen Williams got his first MLB appearance in this game. He struck out a pair while walking two over two innings of work when the game was out of hand.
On the whole, the right-hander looked pretty impressive throwing 19 of 33 pitches for strikes and attacking hitters. Exactly what he had been working on doing since transitioning to a reliever before the 2018 season.
He also appeared as a multi-inning reliever, perhaps in an effort to establish himself in a similar manner to Wander Suero. If he can, he’s well on the way to securing a bullpen role for himself in 2019.
Wilmer’s power flourishing since Murphy trade
Not really regarded as someone with too much power, Wilmer Difo seems to be on a mission to rewrite that narrative. He hit another home run on Sunday and appears to be making strides in the power department.
Since he took over the second base job following the trade of Daniel Murphy he’s managed to record a .778 OPS. While this may not seem too daunting, he’s done so with some bad luck, evidenced by his .206 BABIP in that same span.
When Difo is hitting it, he’s hitting hard and for extra bases in his recent hot streak. When that BABIP rectifies itself, then the second baseman’s case for the starter’s job next season gets even stronger.
In the second of their three straight NL Central series, the Washington Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals. First up is Max Scherzer against Miles Mikolas in another huge pitcher’s duel.