Washington Nationals Got A Glimpse Of The Future In 5-0 Loss To The Mets

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 08: Luis Garcia #2 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a ground rule double scoring a run in the eighth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 08: Luis Garcia #2 of the Washington Nationals reacts after hitting a ground rule double scoring a run in the eighth inning of an MLB game against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on September 8, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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In another disastrous loss that consisted of little league caliber defense, Evan Lee and Luis García represented the youth movement.

With a chance to avoid a sweep against the Mets, the Nats bats continued to go dormant, having been held scoreless across their last 22 innings — while at the same time being outscored by 15 runs. Defensive mistakes and not taking advantage of batting with runners on base doomed the Nats, but this game shouldn’t be remembered for the ugliness.

Instead, the focus should be on the sneak peek Washington gave on hopefully what’s to come. With Aaron Sanchez recently being DFAed and the Nats having just played a doubleheader over the weekend, Washington was in need of a spot starter and turned to their farm system for reinforcements. The answer? 24-year-old Evan Lee, the Nationals 17th ranked prospect who Washington drafted in the 15th round of the 2018 draft.

Despite not having reached AAA and with only 30 innings at AA under his belt, Washington was confident Lee would be able to step up to the challenge. And that he did– allowing only two runs across 3 1/3 innings, while striking out two and walking three.

Against a scoring red hot Mets team, Lee wasn’t fazed and went on the attack from the jump, posting three shutout innings to start his afternoon. In the fourth, the Mets started to lay off some of his chase pitches and worked his pitch count. A Tomás Nido RBI single and an error on Dee Strange-Gordon in the outfield allowed two runs to score. With his pitch count at 67, Lee was pulled before he could finish the inning.

Despite picking up the loss, he flashed an impressive curveball that was gathering some swings and misses. After the game, manager Dave Martinez told the media that Lee will “probably” get another start.

But it wasn’t just Lee that helped give the fanbase something to look forward to, with youngster Luis García making his season debut with Washington. The former top prospect started the season at AAA in order to work on his defense and had been tearing it up at the plate.

In 42 games, he’s slashing .314/.368/.531, with eight homers, 32 RBIs, and an OPS of .899. Defensively, he’s committed eight errors in 289 innings at short and two errors in 64 innings at second.

It was unclear when García was going to be called up, but with Alcides Escobar being placed on the 10-day IL yesterday, the Nats had a hole at short. In his season debut, he went 1-4, with a single in the fourth — only one of the Nationals’ six hits. His other three at-bats all ended in strikeouts, one via looking.

Most importantly, he looked comfortable defensively at short, handling every ball that came towards him with ease. Now with Washington starting a four-game series with the Reds, all eyes will be on García to replicate his AAA success.

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