Washington Nationals Game Recap #34 - The Nats Hold On This Time
By Nick Meyers
The Nationals have shocked the world for a second day in a row, but this time in a good way. After storming back to take the lead on Saturday just to blow the lead and the game on a walk off walk, the Nationals once again had an epic comeback to take the lead in the 9th inning on Sunday.
After a leadoff double by Luis Garcia followed by a Keibert Ruiz single, Joey Meneses stepped into the box in the same ballpark where he electrified the World Baseball Classic just a couple months ago. And Meneses, the Team Mexico hero, picked right up where he left off at Chase Field in Arizona.
It was Meneses' third hit of the ballgame and undoubtedly his biggest as it gave the Nationals a 9 to 8 lead. After turning to closer Kyle Finnegan on Saturday, who was unable to hold the lead, the Nationals turned to Hunter Harvey on Sunday. Harvey pitched around a walk and secured his first career save, capping off the comeback for the Nationals and staving off the sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks.
The Nationals needed their offense on Sunday and they thankfully got it, albeit later than they probably would have liked. But better late than never!
Meneses and Garcia each led the way with three hits and Stone Garrett and CJ Abrams each added two hits as well. As a team the Nationals had 15 hits with everyone in the lineup recording a hit. The team was also a much more respectable 5 for 12 with runners in scoring position.
Trevor Williams took the mound and got roughed up a bit, allowing multiple homeruns and was guilty of balking in a run. He went 4.1 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts. Andres Machado relieved Williams and also gave up a homerun to Lourdes Guirrel Jr., who had homered both on Saturday and earlier in the game on Sunday.
Hobie Harris and Thaddeus Ward would pitch the next two innings and would struggle mightily. Harris walked 3 batters but was somehow able to escape the inning without allowing a run to score. Ward walked 4 batters in 2/3 of an innings and had to be relieved by Erasmo Ramirez. In total, the Nationals pitchers had 11 walks. Not a recipe for success.
Nevertheless, the offense bailed out the pitching for once and as a team they were able to do just enough to secure the win. You can definitely see the bullpen starting to get taxed a bit as the Nationals have had some shorter starts from their rotation. The Nationals' bullpen ERA was top 10 earlier in the season but has now dropped to 18th in the MLB and is 25th in the past 10 days.
The Nationals have shown some fight and scrappiness throughout the season, just not as consistent as you would like. Now that they've mounted large comebacks two games in a row, hopefully the offense will become more steady. They will have to do so however without Victor Robles, who will head to the injured list with back spasms. The team has called up utilityman Jake Alu to replace him, but Alex Call figures to get most of the starts in CF in Robles' absence with Stone Garrett replacing Robles in the lineup.