Another ugly week for the Nationals
The Washington Nationals returned to Houston this week for the first time since 2019. Although the roster looks significantly different today, the Nats can forever hold their World Series honor. Oddly enough, Patrick Corbin was on the mound for game one of the series on Tuesday. His performance out of the bullpen in game seven was remarkable to set up Daniel Hudson for the ninth, who secured the win. Corbin hasn't been the same pitcher since 2019 but has been serviceable this season.
Patrick battled control issues on Tuesday night, with five walks in the game, and just under half of his pitches were thrown for strikes. Corbin did well to limit Houston's bats, allowing just four hits and two runs over five innings. The Astros hit two home runs but were both solo shots. Washington collected just six hits and one run on the night and lost the game, 6-1. Wednesday's game had a controversial end, with coach Davey Martinez livid in his postgame interview.
Nationals catcher Keibert Ruiz was charged with a throwing error on the play in the ninth inning. Martinez argued that the runner was left of the baseline, blocking a path for Ruiz to throw to first. The umpires ruled that the runner was not out of line and kept the call as-is. Washington lost the game, 5-4, spoiling a three-run ninth inning behind Corey Dickerson, Illdemaro Vargas, and Dominic Smith. Thursday night was a much better game for Washington, seeing young players tow the weight to a 4-1 win to avoid a sweep in Houston. Keibert Ruiz hit a home run in the ninth inning to take the lead. Hunter Harvey allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth, but Washington rallied for three in the 10th inning to secure the win.
Washington returned home to face the Miami Marlins for a three-game weekend series. The Nats cannot beat the Marlins for whatever reason. The series wasn't fun to watch, with scores of; 6-5, 5-2, 4-2. The Nats aren't "trying" to be a winning team but losing to the Marlins at this rate is annoying.
Hitter of the Week
The Lane Train is rolling. With nine hits on the week, Thomas raised his season average to .287. The Nats don't like Marlins pitching, but Lane Thomas does, hitting two home runs over the weekend.
Thomas has been the Nationals' best hitter this season. His 1.8 WAR this season has surpassed his 1.6 WAR from last season, in half the amount of games played, according to baseball-reference.com. His OPS has raised over 100 points compared to 2022. Thomas has been solid defensively with six assists already but has his ugly moments when dealing with balls hit near the wall. Teams around the league pay attention to players performing well and gauge their value. The Nationals' front office has the decision to make with Lane Thomas, is he a piece of the rebuild, or should they trade him for prospects? Let us know what you think. Until then, Lane Thomas is the District on Deck Hitter of Week 12.
Pitcher of the Week
MacKenzie Gore showed the ace potential he possesses on Thursday night in Houston. In 5.2 innings, Gore allowed four hits, no runs, struck out four and walked three. MacKenzie lowered his ERA to 3.74 in his 14th start of the season. Gore is averaging 10.5 K/9 and could get that number to as high as 12, in my opinion. His off-speed pitches were showcased versus the Astros and are nasty as anyones.
The only thing holding Gore back from being an ace is the number of walks he allows. He averages 3.9 BB/9, according to baseball-reference.com, and had lowered that number recently with just two walks in his previous three starts before Thursday. Throwing strikes is vital, and improving on it will take Gore to the next level of his development. It's clear what Washington has in the 24-year-old left-hander, but he'll take some coaching to achieve his full potential.