For the first time this season, the Washington Nationals have won a series as they defeated the Twins for a second straight day on Saturday by a score of 10 to 4. The Nationals got rolling early off Twins' Ace Pablo Lopez, who they got to see a lot of during his time with the division rival Miami Marlins. The Nationals exploded for 15 hits and were 6 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
Mason Thompson got the win on the mound in relief of starter Chad Kuhl. Kuhl did not pitch poorly, but walks and command issues were his downfall as he only last 3.2 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 4 walks and 5 strikeouts. Thompson came on to finish the 4th and would continue on to pitch 2.1 innings allowing 1 unearned run on a Riley Adams error while giving up 2 hits and no walks with 4 strikeouts. He continues to impress this season with nearly all of his appearances being for multiple innings.
The big story of the day beyond the 15 hits the Nationals collected were the 5 extra-base hits they collected in the process. Victor Robles led the way with two of his own, a triple in the 4th inning and a double in the 9th inning. Jeimer Candelario and Joey Meneses, who is really starting to heat up, also had doubles batting 2nd and 3rd respectively which really contributed to the offensive output. And CJ Abrams had a frozen rope 3 run home run which was his first of the season and his first as a National.
Nationals Game Review
What went wrong?
- SP not going deep into games: obviously this is dependent on feel for the game, and it was the right decision to pull Chad Kuhl at the point in which they did, but going 3.2 innings as a starter isn't usually conducive to success and winning games. Kuhl doesn't have to be an ace, but he best serves this team when he's going at least 5 innings, which he could have done if he cut down on the walks as the Twins weren't really hitting him.
- Riley Adams' Rusty: This is somewhat to be expected as it is only the third game Adams has played of the 20 so far, but he looked rusty defensively. Keibert Ruiz deserves to catch the majority of the games, but finding a balance with your rotational bench pieces is important to keep them fresh as well. We have also not seen Jeter Downs once since his call up earlier this month.
- Leadoff Alex Call: He walked twice, which is good, but his other three appearances led to strikeouts. As we have previously mentioned, Call is great because he sees pitches and works counts, but if he's not walking, he's not doing much for the lineup. He's better suited batting 9th and making a pitcher labor for a long AB before turning the lineup back over to the top of the order.
What went right?
- Bats: It only took record cold game temperatures for the Nats' bats to wake up, but through two games (maybe a game and a half), the Nationals bats look alive and well. They also walked 5 times which we have previously pointed out has been an issue as of late, so it is good to see them working counts as well.
- Joey Meneses: finally exhibited shades of the 2022 season he had, Meneses is really starting to heat up. He homered for the first time this season on Friday night and followed it up with a 4 for 6 performance on Saturday. The Nationals need him to get going for sustained lineup success and so far, so good.
- Bullpen: Hobie Harris struggled a bit, but as a whole the bullpen covered 5.1 innings and only allowed 2 runs. If you think of that like a starting pitcher, especially on this team, that is a performance you will take every time.
Washington Nationals Record: 7-13
When is the next Nationals game?
The Nationals will go for their first sweep of the season today as they will look to take a third straight game on the road from the Twins in Minnesota. Patrick Corbin (1-2, 6.30 ERA) will take the mound for the Nationals coming off a quality start in his last appearance against the Guardians in a 6 to 4 victory. He will be opposed by RHP Bailey Ober of the Twins who is making his season debut for the team. Ober had a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts last year for the Twins. First pitch is scheduled to be at 2:10p ET.