The Nationals lost a tough one at home against a young Toronto team. What stood out the most?
Tonight, Washington dropped a tough one to Toronto 4-1, in part to the offense not being able to show up when it mattered. Here are three takeaways from the team’s defeat.
The Bullpen Stepped Up
Washington’s bullpen was lights out. Yes, this was not a typo. Ryne Harper, Javy Guerra, and Sam Freeman combined for four scoreless innings, while only allowing three baserunners. Here’s a breakdown.
Freeman: .2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Guerra: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB
Harper: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
That is such a promising sight, especially after Sean Doolittle and Will Harris blew the lead on Sunday.
The Offense Couldn’t Finish
After torching the Yankees for nine runs on Saturday night, the offense has combined for three runs over the last two games, including only one tonight. Toronto won game one of the series 4-1, thanks to four solo homers off of Anibal Sanchez. Washington out-hit Toronto 11-7, but also stranded nine runners and hit into four double plays. The team couldn’t catch a break, as the team twice lined the ball right at someone for a double play.
Baserunning gaffes cost the team, especially early on. With two on and one out in the second, Victor Robles hit what should have been at least a double. Instead, Eric Thames tagged up when he didn’t need to and had to stop at third. Both Michael A. Taylor and Trea Turner failed to produce with the bases loaded.
The absence of Juan Soto was obvious, with the team struggling to come up clutch. His return will be a big jolt to the offense, but he won’t be able to do everything alone. Dave Martinez should look at rearranging the lineup and putting Robles towards the top instead of ninth.
While it is early, in a 60 game season, the team cannot afford to drop games like this.
Anibal Sanchez Was Rusty
Anibal Sanchez struggled in his first start of the 2020 season and looked just like his teammate a few days back.
Over five innings, Sanchez allowed four runs on six hits, while striking out seven. The ball was jumping and Toronto took advantage. At times, it seemed the bail was sailing farther then it should have, but that’s baseball. Sanchez was also struggling with his command at times, thus leading to the homers. But, this was his first start of the season and Sanchez was obviously dusting off the rust.