Harry Doyle, the lovable character from the movie Major League once said,”a lotta people say you can tell how the season’s gonna go by the first hitter of the year.” Fitting for the Washington Nationals as a team, though spot on for the Nats pitching staff as well.
Flashback to Opening Day when Ronald Acuna took Max Scherzer’s first pitch out of the park. A leadoff home run surrendered by the Nationals perennial Cy Young candidate. While the Nationals would win that game, they would lose 80 since, leaving them in the cellar of the National League East.
Scherzer would allow four home runs in the season opener, and almost every pitcher to throw for the Nationals since has followed suit in a way. With the home run Patrick Corbin allowed in the season finale against the New York Mets, the 2021 Nationals pitching staff has given up the most home runs since the team moved from Montreal to DC.
Fitting it was Corbin who gave up the tie-breaking blast. He leads the league with an astonishing 34 jacks allowed. Corbin heads a list of eight Nationals pitchers who have given up double-digit home runs on the year.
Washington Nationals pitchers have given up more home runs in 2021, than they have since the team moved from Montreal.
Starting pitchers throw a lot of innings and are bound to give up some home runs. Every member of the Nationals original starting rotation, was touched up for at least ten, and Paolo Espino has joined them. Jon Lester only threw 75 innings, but he gave up 14 gopher balls. The one knock on Josiah Gray, he gives up a lot of dingers. 11 in 35 innings thus far.
Relievers Wander Suero (10) and Austin Voth (9) lead the bullpen is long balls surrendered.
All told, 31 players have toed the rubber for the Nationals this year, and all but three have given up a home run. Gabe Klobosits hasn’t, and he is currently in the minors. Hernan Perez didn’t, and remarkably has a clean ERA for his two outings on the year. Newcomer Alberto Baldanado has not given up a home run thus far, either.
For the Nationals to turn things around in the future, their pitching staff needs to keep the ball in the park, plain and simple.