Washington Nationals Game Recap #24 - Nats Sweep Attempt is Grand, but Falls Short

Washington Nationals v New York Mets
Washington Nationals v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Nationals found themselves in a dogfight on Thursday night against the division rival Mets. In their bid to sweep New York, the Mets' bats came out hot against Trevor Williams after being shut down in the first two games of the series. The Mets answered every Nats score with one or more of their own, ultimately taking down the Nats in a back-and-forth affair by a score of 9 to 8.

That does not tell the whole story, however. Not only did the Nationals come back multiple times against the Mets, they did it in Grand fashion thanks to the bat of CJ Abrams.

After Stone Garrett nearly missed a grand slam in the first inning, the Nationals and CJ Abrams were sure not to miss their next chance. After an inning that featured three Nationals getting hit by a pitch, CJ Abrams stepped into the box, against a lefty nonetheless, and put the Nationals back on top. It was a great sight to see, and one we will be thinking about for a while regardless of the outcome.

The flip side, of course, is that the Nationals could not hold the lead at any point. Trevor Williams had his worst start as a National. He was still able to go 5 innings, but allowed 4 runs on 9 hits with a lot of solid contact. Erasmo Ramirez continues to struggle as well, as he allowed 3 runs in his lone inning as well. But it was who we least expected, Mason Thompson, that ultimately took the loss as after pitching 3 innings on Tuesday night, came back for the hold in the 8th inning last night and did not look like himself. It was not the wrong decision to go to Thompson, but it was also no surprise to see him struggle after pitching 3 innings just two days ago. Kyle Finnegan cleaned up Thompson's inning, but the damage was unfortunately done by that point and the Nationals were all out of comebacks.

Nationals Game Review

What went wrong?

  • Pitching: This happens throughout the course of 162 games, but the Nationals pitching really struggled tonight. It is safe to say that after pitching for the Mets last season, the Mets knew what to expect now facing Trevor Williams. They hit him early and often with solid contact. Williams' strength is inducing weak contact as he is not much of a strikeout pitcher, but there was little-to-no weak contact from the Mets lineup. He still managed to go 5 innings, which is important, but it was definitely his weakest start of the season. The bullpen has also really struggled outside of Mason Thompson, who struggled on Thursday, and Hunter Harvey. Kyle Finnegan has been better as of late, but he is far from a sure thing. Erasmo Ramirez might find himself as the odd man out when Paolo Espino returns from AAA.
  • Jeimer Candelario: It looked like he was turning a corner, but his home run the other night really masks how cold his bat has gone recently. He got bumped up to the two spot in the order with Garcia getting the night off initially and went 0-5, the only National not to get on base last night.
  • Joey Meneses' defense: I will try not to pick on Meneses too much, but his defense is awful. It is the equivalent of playing Adam Dunn or David Ortiz at first base. His lack of range and overall ability led to three of the Mets four runs off Williams and yes, Williams was getting hit hard, Meneses had several opportunites to help out his pitcher. He also dropped a fairly easy pick from CJ Abrams who had to make a quick play. Abrams is credited with the error, but it was easily Meneses' fault. Dom Smith cannot hit and Joey Meneses cannot play defense. The Nationals have a conundrum at first base.

What went right?

  • CJ Abrams & Luis Garcia: Abrams had a strikeout to end the 6th inning with a runner in scoring position that would have tied the game that I know he'd like a chance to do over, but thankfully he got another chance in the 8th and did not miss. Seeing any sort of power from Abrams is a wonderful sight and hitting a ball 406 feet will play anywhere. Garcia also had himself a night. He initially got the night off against Mets' lefty Joey Lucchesi, but after the Nats chased him from the game, Garcia came into pinch hit for Michael Chavis and promptly hit an RBI single and later added a sac fly for his second RBI in as many plate appearances.
  • Alex Call: Call had himself a nice day at the plate including a home run of his own and on base three times in the game.
  • Stone Garrett: you knew this was coming, but Garrett had a barrel in the first inning that was three feet short of a grand slam. He struck out once, but was on base two other times in the game. With the struggles and inconsistency of Lane Thomas, Dom Smith and Alex Call, Garrett needs regular playing time.
  • Spread Out Production: the Nationals scattered 8 hits over 10 players, which is good to see for sustained production. The pitching might have failed them, but the lineup was good enough to win last night.

Washington Nationals Record: 9-15

When is the next Nationals game?

The Nationals travel home today to face yet another division leader: the Pittsburgh Pirates. Pittsburgh has gotten off to a hot start despite the loss of star SS Oneil Cruz. They are 18-8 on the season and just took 2 of 3 games from the Dodgers. They will send out longtime MLB veteran Rich Hill (1-1, 4.85 ERA) in game 1 of the series on Friday night. The Nationals will send out Chad Kuhl (0-1, 7.36 ERA) who like Williams last night, will get the chance to pitch against his former team. The rain will be an issue, but first pitch is scheduled for 7:05p ET tonight.