Hello from Fourth Place
You read that correctly; your Washington Nationals are in fourth place in the NL East, ahead of the New York Mets. Another four-win week, becoming repetitive, took the Nationals' win total to 61 in the 2023 season. The Nats were on the road this week for three games in New York versus the Yankees and in Miami for a series against the Marlins.
Josiah Gray got the ball on Tuesday night for the first time in Yankee Stadium and showed toughness on the mound. Gray threw six innings, allowing just one run while walking five and striking out four. As Josiah does, he pitched around his walks to limit opportunities for the Yankees. The combination of Thompson, Harvey, and Finnegan threw three scoreless innings to finish the game. CJ Abrams hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning off Yankees' reliever Tommy Kahnle. The Nats won game one, 2-1.
Game two in New York was ugly; MacKenzie Gore didn't have his best stuff, but was only charged with two earned runs due to defensive miscues. Yankees' right fielder Aaron Judge hit three home runs on the night, and it's tough to win when that happens. The Nats dropped game two, 9-1. The scrappy Nats showed up on Thursday afternoon, scoring four runs in the seventh inning to take the lead over New York. Jake Alu hit an RBI single, followed by back-to-back home runs by Alex Call and CJ Abrams. Joey Meneses drove in an insurance run in the ninth. The Nats won game three, 6-5 to secure the series.
Onto Miami for a three-game weekend series. Game one on Friday night was a team effort; every batter in the lineup recorded a base hit. Joey Meneses hit a three-run double in the seventh to extend the Nats lead. Kiebert Ruiz, Illdemaro Vargas, Alex Call, and Michael Chavis had multi-hit games. Joan Adon threw six scoreless innings on the mound. Mason Thompson had a rough outing as the only blemish on the night. The Nats secured the win in game one, 7-4. The scrappy Nats were back on Saturday night; Jake Alu played hero this time. Fast-forward to the ninth inning, the Nats are down by two runs, and Jake Alu hits a line drive single to center field to score Jacob Young. Not to mention, it was Jacob Young's MLB debut. Michael Chavis scored on a passed ball to take the lead over Miami. Kyle Finnegan closed out the Marlins in the ninth to wrap up game two; the Nats won 3-2. Washington had an opportunity in the ninth on Sunday to tie the game but couldn't get the job done. With runners on first and second, rookie Jacob Young grounded into a double play to end the game. Joey Meneses had two hits, and Dominic Smith had the lone RBI of the game. Starting pitcher Trevor Williams was solid, throwing seven innings while allowing just two earned runs.
Hitter of the Week
The Hitter of the Week has to be Carter Kieboom, right? In his first Major League action since 2021, the 25-year-old went deep twice and an OPS of .874 over 18 at-bats. Kieboom hit a home run in his first at-bat of the year at Yankee Stadium, a spectacular moment for the third baseman who has battled injuries throughout his professional career.
Kieboom hit a tape measure shot in Miami to left field off left-hander Braxton Garrett. It's currently a feel-good story for Carter, returning from multiple injuries to instant success in the Majors. If he can sustain production for the Nats over the final month of the season, he could become a piece of the future in Washington. In all likelihood, this is his last chance to become a Major League-caliber player.
Pitcher of the Week
The country boy should get some recognition for his work out of the bullpen. Hunter Harvey, a full-blown countrymen, has developed into a vital piece of Davey Martinez's bullpen. Harvey appeared in three games this week, all scoreless outings, with four strikeouts and one walk. Hunter also recorded a save on Friday in the win over the Marlins. Also, if you need proof Hunter Harvey is super-country, here it is.
Harvey's ERA is at 2.66 over 47.1 innings pitched, with 53 strikeouts and a 0.93 WHIP. The statistics for the 28-year-old don't lie; he's been on lockdown this season. A reliever's WHIP is one of the most important categories, and Harvey has excelled this season. Harvey had a solid 2022 season and has repeated that success in 2023; look for him to be an important arm in Washington's bullpen for years to come.