The Washington Nationals played their most complete game on Monday night in Anaheim as they excelled in all three phases of the game. Their pitching, particularly their bullpen, was great, their defensive was superb, and they generated 14 hits on offense with every member of the lineup recording at least one hit. This was enough to earn them a 6 to 4 win over the Angels.
Patrick Corbin got the start on the mound for the Nationals and it seemed like we were in for more of the same at first, as he allowed hard contact all night long and surrendered two runs in the first inning and two more in the third, including a home run to Hunter Renfroe that was nearly robbed at the wall by Victor Robles. Corbin was, however, able to do something he hasn't been able to do previously: settle down. He got through the 4th and 5th inning cleanly, including a very efficient 5 pitch, 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. Fill-in Manager Tim Bogar did not make the same mistake that has plagued the Nationals several times already this season by leaving in a pitcher too long, and wisely pulled Corbin with a lead after the 5th inning. His final line was 5 innings allowing 4 runs on 7 hits with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts, which all things considered, is a pretty good Patrick Corbin start. Especially when you get the offensive and defensive support that the Nationals provided on Monday night.
Jose Suarez took the mound for the Angels going 4 innings allowing 4 runs on 10 hits with one walk and two strikeouts, but it was actually Tucker Davidson who took the loss as he went 3 innings following Suarez and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits with no walks and 3 strikeouts. The Angels bullpen had been taxed in the previous series against the Blue Jays, so Davidson had to wear it for the Angels by going three innings.
Nationals Game Review
What went wrong?
Thankfully, just little things here and there:
- Joey Meneses swinging on a 3-0 count on a pitch inside that led to a weak inning-ending groundball
- Patrick Corbin still allowing a concerningly large amount of hard contact
- Team left 10 runners on base, which you would like to see them take better advantage of having that many runners on base
What went right?
- A lot, and it starts with fill-in Manager Tim Bogar: with Davey Martinez out for the game, Bench Coach Tim Bogar took the reins on Monday night and really impressed. The Nationals showed a lot of effort and the strategy by Bogar was evident, mixing small ball with timely hitting and utilizing the bullpen as effectively as it has ever been utilized. He deserves a lot of praise for his performance and you certainly wonder if down the line he might get more opportunities as a manager, even in just an interim capacity. Patrick Corbin and Davey Martinez get credited with the win on their records, but this one fully belongs to Tim Bogar.
- Better timely hitting: 5 for 15 with RISP, which isn't great, but certainly much better than the have been doing. 4 of the team runs came with 2 outs as well, which is great to see.
- Bounce Backs from Edwards Jr. & Finnegan: a clean 8th and 9th inning with zero baserunners and 3 strikeouts for the hold and save.
- Thompson & Harvey shine again: Thompson came on to relieve Corbin, which I really liked by Bogar, but then was relieved mid-inning by Hunter Harvey to face Mike Trout. I was unsure of the decision at first, but Harvey is great at pounding the top of the strike zone, which seems to be a better strategy to attack Trout than lower in the zone where Thompson tends to succeed. The strategy by Bogar worked flawlessly as Harvey struck out Trout.
- Hitters stay hot: Call, Robles and Abrams all looked good at the plate and guys like Candelario and Meneses had encouraging performances which is hopefully a sign of things to come for them offensively.
Washington Nationals Record: 4-7
When is the next Nationals game?
The Nationals are back in Anaheim tonight for a 938p start time against the Angels. Last night's game didn't end until around 1230a (thank goodness for the pitch clock or it would have been closer to 130a), but tonight's matchup will be worth staying up to watch. Shohei Ohtani takes the mound for the Angels for his first ever start against the Nationals. Josiah Gray will do his best to go toe-to-toe with Ohtani as he takes the mound for the Nationals in his third start of the year. He is coming off an impressive performance in Colorado where he held the Rockies to just 1 run, that was basically unearned, in 6 innings.