Washington Nationals Game Recap #25 - Nats Drop Game 1 of Doubleheader to Bucs

Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates v Washington Nationals / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

The Nationals have dropped game 1 of their double header today against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a lackluster effort. After rain washed out Friday night's game, the Nationals got another day off. With that day off, you would have liked to have seen the Nationals come out stronger in game 1 today against slow-throwing, albeit crafty, left hander Rich Hill. The Nationals had plenty of opportunities to do damage, but frequently failed to deliver that timely hit, losing by a score of 6 to 3.

Patrick Corbin got the start for the Nationals and while he allowed 7 hits, he still managed to go 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs with a walk and 2 strikeouts. He departed in the 6th with a runner on second, handing the ball over to Carl Edwards Jr. who got the second out of the inning before allowing a two run home run to Miguel Andujar. The Nationals bullpen struggled today, as Edwards Jr., Thaddeus Ward and Anthony Banda all gave up runs. Banda particularly had a rough day as he did not record a single out. Erasmo Ramirez came in for relief of Banda with the bases loaded and no outs and only allowed one run to score. Jordan Weems, the declared extra man on the roster for the double header, pitched a scoreless 9th.

The ageless wonder Rich Hill got the win for the Pirates, going 6.1 innings (at 43 years old) and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 8 hits with no walks and 5 strikeouts. The Nationals were frequently fooled by his mix of pitches and arm slots, particularly Lane Thomas and Dom Smith. The highlight of the day on offense was Riley Adams and his 2 RBI double in the 4th inning. Adams had two hits on the day and threw out a runner.

Nationals Game Review

What went wrong?

  • The Usual Suspect - hitting with runners in scoring position: The Nats were 2 for 13 with RISP and had 15 runners left on base.
  • 2, 3 4 hitters: Candelario, Meneses and Garrett struggled, going a combined 1 for 11 with 10 runners left on base.
  • Lane Thomas & Dom Smith: both players are almost unwatchable and unplayable on offense. Thomas has struggled mightily this season, being one of the few players in baseball with a negative fWAR. Smith is being bailed out by his above-average defense, but has far more often looked overmatched at the plate.
  • Bullpen: I mentioned on twitter that this bullpen was deceptive in that they were stronger on paper than they are in reality. That is coming true as we have seen them come crashing back down to earth as of late. There are very few easy innings.

What went right?

  • Luis Garcia: Added two more hits today and scored twice. He also made several plays defensively and looks exceptionally comfortable there this season.
  • Alex Call & Riley Adams: Call has looked much better since we "called" him out for his poor play, as he has raised his average to .253 with two more hits in the opener. Strikeouts are an issue, but he does walk at a high rate as well. Riley Adams, as mentioned above, performed well in his rare start.
  • Patrick Corbin: As crazy as it sounds, but the bar is so low for Corbin that we will take a performance of 5+ innings and 3 or fewer runs allowed.

Washington Nationals Record: 9-16

When is the Nationals next game?

The Nationals turn right around and play the Pirates again tonight in game 2 of a doubleheader following Friday night's rain out. Chad Kuhl (0-1, 7.36 ERA), who was supposed to start last night's game, will instead get the chance to pitch against his former team in tonight's contest. He will be opposed by Vince Velaquez (3-2, 3.76 ERA) of the Pirates who has enjoyed a nice start to his sesason after struggling the past few years. First pitch is scheduled at 6:05p ET.