Washington Nationals Game Recap #18 - Nats Shut Out Again
By Nick Meyers
The Washington Nationals completed their two game set with the Baltimore Orioles last night and did so without scoring a single run in 18 innings. The Nats had slightly better production last night than the night prior, but the result was the same as they failed to score a run and were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. They also struck out and uncharacteristic 18 times in the series, including 11 last night. Through 18 games, the Nationals lead the Major Leagues in fewest strikeouts per game with 6.72.
MacKenzie Gore took the hill for the Nationals and generally looked good. He struggled with walks and his command a bit, which has been typical in a Gore outing, but he still managed to turn in a quality start. Gore walked home the first run of the game in the 3rd inning, which saw him walk three Orioles hitters, but he was able to get out of it with the help of a force play at home and a double play ball up the middle. Adam Frazier later tagged him for a two run home run as Gore left a slider hanging over the middle. His final line was 6 innings pitched allowing 3 runs on 3 hits with 4 walks and 7 strikeouts.
After being struck by a line drive in his last start which required a trip to the injured list, Orioles' starter Kyle Bradish pitched well on Wednesday night going 6 innings himself but allowing no runs on 5 hits with a walk and 6 strikeouts. He is one of the few opposing pitchers against the Nationals this season to have more strikeouts than his Vegas' odds indicated coming into the game. The Nationals had just as many base runners as the Orioles and had more of their base runners in scoring position, but the Orioles hitting, while less often, was more timely as they beat the Nationals 4 to 0 to sweep the short series.
Nationals Game Review
What went wrong?
- Strikeouts: A bit of a rarity from the Nationals this season, but having nearly a third of your outs come via the strikeout on offense is not a conducive recipe for success. After being shut out the night before, the Nationals needed to prioritize putting the ball in play, but perhaps they were trying too hard for extra base hits to break the scoreless streak, which is not their strength as an offense.
- Top of the Lineup: 1 through 3 in the Nationals order was again, slightly better today, but it is hard for the rest of the lineup to feast when the table has not even been set by the leadoff men. They went 1 for 9 with 3 walks and Alex Call is really the only one with speed.
- CJ Abrams: Don't go pressing the panic button, but CJ Abrams had a night to forget. Abrams went 0-4 at the plate with 3 strikeouts and his one ball in play was a costly GIDP ball with a runner on third to end the inning. He also had a 9th inning error where he sailed a throw on the run, a play we have seen him make several times already this season, that led to a baserunner with two outs and later another Orioles' run on an RBI hit by Gunnar Henderson.
What went right?
- Keibert Ruiz: What is hopefully a sign of things to come from our young franchise catcher after a mini-slump, Ruiz tallied three good-looking hits last night. He was the lone bright spot on offense. His batting average now sits at .262 and his OBP at .328.
- MacKenzie Gore: if you want to put Gore in the 'What went wrong?' portion, then I guess I won't fight you, but there was still a lot to like about Gore's performance. After struggling mightily with his command in his last start against the Angels, Gore bounced back and delivered a quality start for the Nationals, going at least 6 innings and allowing 3 runs or less. That is exactly the type of response you want to see from your young lefty.
- Stone Garrett: Obligatory post if you follow District on Deck in any capacity, but Stone Garrett was awesome yet again on Wednesday. He delivered an opposite field single in the second off of RHP, which is important for him to continue to display he can hit both righties and lefties, and he also had a very impressive sliding catch in the 7th to rob Gunnar Henderson of extra bases, which is also important for Garrett to show that he is not a defensive liability. He should be playing every single game at this point.
Washington Nationals Record: 5-13
When is the next Nationals game?
The Nationals get yet another off day today as they will travel to Minnesota for a three game series against the Twins. First pitch on Friday night is at 8:10p EST. The Nationals will send Trevor Williams to the mound (1-1, 3.52 ERA) against the Twins' RHP Tyler Mahle (1-2, 4.11 ERA). The Twins are currently 11-7 on the season and are in first place in the AL Central.