Nats fall back to Earth
It wasn't a pretty week for the Washington Nationals, who went 1-6 in seven games this week versus the Blue Jays and the Marlins. Momentum built in the last few weeks has seemingly slipped through the cracks. It seemed like the Nats couldn't form a complete team game this week.
The nine game road trip continued in Toronto to begin the week for three games against the Blue Jays. Josiah Gray continued his struggles in game one, and the Nats couldn't overcome the early four-run deficit. CJ Abrams had a solid performance with three hits and three stolen bases. Abrams now has 37 stolen bases this season. Joey Meneses had three RBI, but it was all Washington could put together. The Nats dropped game one, 6-3. Tuesday night was a great game, from MacKenzie Gore throwing the ball well to Keibert Ruiz hitting a clutch three-run home run. A 2-1 Nats lead was extended in the fifth by the Nats' catcher, who has been red hot since the All-Star break.
The bullpen allowed three runs, but it was enough to hang on to a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Wednesday was ugly; Patrick Corbin gave up six earned runs over five innings. I feel like I've said that a couple of times before. The Nats couldn't get anything going against Blue Jays' starter Chris Bassitt; Toronto won the game 7-0.
And then there were the Marlins. The Nats can't figure out the Miami Marlins. A four-game sweep to an in-division team hurts, especially when the Nats had lots of momentum built in prior weeks. Minus Jake Irvin, starting pitchers gave Washington virtually no chance to win games. Joan Adon, Trevor Williams, and Josiah Gray all turned in sub-par starts. It's tough to win games from behind, even if you're the Scrappy Nats.
Hitter of the Week
In his first week as a Washington National, Jacob Young has shown exactly why the front office called him up to the big leagues. He plays quick and with max effort. His defensive skills combined with speed create for a second leadoff hitter in the ninth slot in the batting order. Young collected his first Major League hit on a bunt base hit in Toronto and added an impressive outfield assist.
Young has collected a hit in six consecutive games after going hitless in six at-bats to begin his Nationals' career. He's also stolen two bases; look for him to be active on the base paths as he gets on base more often. It's exciting that minor leaguers are being rewarded for their success. Young, 24, was in Single-A Fredericksburg for the entire 2022 season. He was promoted to AAA for just over a week before his call to the Majors. Young should hold down center field until the awaited arrival of the 2023 first-round pick, Dylan Crews.
Pitcher of the Week
Quietly, Jose A. Ferrer had a great week out of the bullpen. Four appearances with four innings pitched, two strikeouts, and no walks. The 23-year-old rookie has been impressive in his first season in the Major Leagues. He's showing he could be a part of the Nats' bullpen for years. Consistent left-handers out of the bullpen are hard to come by in today's game, especially young ones.
Jose's season ERA is at 4.10 across 26.1 innings pitched with a 1.29 WHIP. How good can Ferrer be? A set-up man. Ferrer's fastball can reach 97mph if he rears back enough and has control of his off-speed pitches. What gets Jose in trouble is working quickly when runners reach base. This tendency is common in young pitchers out of the bullpen. Jose has the repertoire to become a vital bullpen arm.