Washington Nationals Game Recap #47 - Hit Parade Gets Nats Series Win
By Nick Meyers
The Nationals rallied from a Friday night loss to the Tigers, their fourth consecutive loss, to win both games on Saturday and Sunday for the series win.
Despite off days for CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia and Keibert Ruiz, the Nationals found a lot of hits on Sunday with their reserve lineup. The Nationals tallied 18 hits on Sunday w five different players recorded multi-hit games. Both Jeimer Candelario and Riley Adams each recorded four hits. Adams had two of the Nats' three extra base hits with a double and a homerun.
Ildemaro Vargas also had a multi-hit day, including a homerun of his own. In a limited sample size of 36 at bats, Vargas is slashing .333/.351/.500 with a homerun and 7 RBIs, good for a .851 OPS. He has played well when called upon and could be in line for an increased role later in the year should the Nationals decide to sell a third baseman or corner outfielder at the deadline (as they should).
There is one thing that cannot be overlooked, however, in that despite having 18 hits, the Nationals were only 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. All of their runs came in the first 3 innings and it nearly wasn't enough with the Tigers making a late push to nearly tie the game. Thankfully, the backend of the bullpen had a better day and was able to secure the 6 to 4 win, but many of the 18 hits recorded were non-damaging.
The other part of the story is Josiah Gray. Gray has unquestionably been the Nationals ace all season long and Sunday was yet another reason as to why, although not for the reasons you might expect.
Gray did not strikeout double digits or go 8 innings or anything like that. In fact, he did not even qualify for a quality start. Gray lasted 5 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 2 strikeouts but SIX walks. Yes, 6 walks is alarming. However, the difference between 2023 Josiah Gray and previous versions of him is that Gray did that and was still able to go 5 innings and was able to very much limit the damage. There are plenty of different ways to get there, but 5 innings of 1 run baseball is something this team will take every single day.