The Nationals found themselves in the midst of a pitcher's duel on Tuesday night as the starters in the contest, Trevor Williams for the Nats and Hayden Wesneski for the Cubs, combined to go 11.1 innings allowing 1 run with 1 walk, 6 strikeouts and 9 scattered hits. The Nationals found themselves with a lead for most of the game thanks to an RBI single by Luis Garcia in the 3rd inning, but after a Patrick Wisdom homerun off Mason Thompson tied the game, it was CJ Abrams who got the Nationals going once again.
Abrams went 3 for 3 on the night with an RBI and two runs scored. He was the catalyst all night for the Nationals as it was Abrams who scored the first run of the game on Garcia's single and drove in the second run of the game for the Nats, which would prove to be the winning run. He then later scored a crucial insurance run on Alex Call's 7th inning double. The Nationals would then hold on to win 4 to 1.
Abrams has his ups and downs as a young player, but last night was one of his best all-around performances. Over his last 11 games, Abrams is hitting .297 with a .844 OPS and two homeruns in that span. He is also tied for the team lead in RBIs.
While he did not get credited with the win, Trevor Williams deserves a lot of credit for his performance last night as well. Williams went 5.1 scoreless innings allowing 4 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts. After his former team in New York tagged him for 4 runs on 9 hits in his last start, Williams got another shot at a former team last night and made the most of it. He, like Josiah Gray, has gone at least 5 innings in every start this season, which has proven to be extremely valuable to a team with inconsistent pitching.
Nationals Game Review
What went wrong?
Eventually I will have to switch up this format since it is the same recurring issues, but for now it is what you would expect.
- RISP: 3 for 11 isn't horrible, but when you're leaving your starting pitching out to dry by not giving them run support, you need to cash in on any opportunity you can.
- Bunting: Contributing to the terrible RISP marks, the decision by Davey Martinez to keep bunting in inexplicable situations is hindering this team's already below-average offense. If CJ Abrams gets on base, Martinez ALWAYS bunts with Robles. After Robles bunted and found himself on first base after an error, there was a clear bunt situation with Alex Call with runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Martinez then opts to let Call swing it, and it led to a double play. Later in the game, with runners on 1st and 3rd (Abrams on 3rd) and Call at the plate again, Martinez goes for the safety squeeze two times in a row, with the second attempt leading to a poor bunt that got Abrams thrown out at third despite his best swim move slide. Finally, in the 7th inning, Martinez lets Call, who has been hot recently, swing away and he delivers a two RBI double. There is just no situational feel coming from the dugout.
- Bullpen, kinda: It wasn't a poor performance, but Mason Thompson, pitching in back-to-back games, did not look sharp and blew the save in the 7th inning thanks to a Patrick Wisdom homerun. Carl Edwards Jr. also did not look great, even though he did not allow a run. This bullpen looks like they are fatigued.
- They also did not draw a walk for the second straight game.
What went right?
- CJ Abrams: If he gets going, he is an absolute weapon. He might not sustain a .300 average and mid .800 OPS like he has in the past two weeks, but Abrams is better on base where he can wreak havoc.
- Victor Robles: 2 hits and a run scored for Robles, who is hopefully breaking out of his slump.
- Trevor Williams: deserves just as much praise as Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore in my opinion, as he has been steady for this team, which is hard to come by.
- Timely hits by Call and Garcia: the middle of the lineup more often than not has failed to produce runs, so it is necessary for Call and Garcia to continue to rack up RBIs when the bottom of the order sets the table for them. They did last night and the Nationals won because of it.
Washington Nationals Record: 11-18
When is the next Nationals game?
In a bit of a surprise, the Nationals are calling up Jake Irvin to make his major league debut Wednesday night against the Cubs. It was believed that Cory Abbott would fill in for Chad Kuhl, as he was placed on the injured list on Monday, but in a subsequent move the Nationals also sent Abbott back down to AAA after pitching him for two innings on Monday, which was a bit puzzling.
Irvin has struggled a bit in AAA this season, but the Nationals must have seen something to feel Irvin is ready for the opportunity in choosing him over Abbott, who started 9 games for the team last season. Reese did a prospect spotlight earlier this year, which you can read here.