The Nationals evened up the series against Detroit in a 5-2 win on Saturday afternoon, with opening day starter Patrick Corbin notching yet another quality start. Corbin's fine outing was supported by plenty of pop from the hitters, with Jeimer Candelario belting his sixth home run of the season.
Corbin only gave up runs in the first inning of the game, surrendering a two-run homer to Tigers first baseman Spencer Torkelson. After that, he was able to settle down and work through the Detroit lineup efficiently, completing six innings with 74 pitches. Corbin only allowed four hits after the first inning, all singles. This start, his third win of the season, lends support to many fans' belief that the old Patrick Corbin is, in fact, "back" as his season ERA now sits at a respectable 4.47.
One recurring theme this season has been good starting pitching with either not enough run support or poor relief pitching, but both sides of the Nationals' game were working today. The boys put up five runs, two of which were driven in by Jeimer Candelario. After Corbin left the game, the final three innings were the responsibility of Carl Edwards Jr., Hunter Harvey, and Kyle Finnegan, who each put zeroes on the board without giving up a single hit.
Strong outings from the bullpen's top guys is an encouraging sign, and this game provided good insight into how Davey Martinez might be feeling about his relief arms right now. Kyle Finnegan returned to the closer role after he swapped with Hunter Harvey on Monday, a shift that resulted in Harvey blowing the save in a Miami Marlins walk-off. Finnegan's return to the ninth inning may be an indication that Davey doesn't quite think Harvey is ready for the highest leverage roles.
The other main takeaway from this game is that Jeimer Candelario may have been a very good pickup by general manager Mike Rizzo. Candelario is slugging .923 in his last seven games, with a .462 batting average in that span. While he may just be on a hot streak, Nationals fans should be rooting for Jeimer's bat to stay consistent moving forward. Pop like this from a one-year signing, combined with the top-shelf defense he's exhibited all season long, could translate to good trade value at the deadline.
The young guys also performed admirably, with CJ Abrams and Keibert Ruiz each checking in with hits. Ruiz drove in a run in the sixth inning (but was thrown out at second shortly thereafter) and Abrams doubled in the 5th. After an RBI single by Lane Thomas, Abrams became the go-ahead run. Ruiz and Abrams are two of the most important pieces for the Nationals' future, so it's always encouraging to see them demonstrating their ability to put runs on the board and win baseball games. The boys will be back at it tomorrow afternoon, on the hunt for a series win.
Washington Nationals Record: 19-27