September is upon us as the Nationals wrapped up another week of baseball. Washington is treading water after their red-hot streak just weeks ago. The Nats hosted the New York Mets for a quick two-game series and then the Los Angeles Dodgers for a three-game weekend series.
Following an off-day Monday, Patrick Corbin got the start on Tuesday to begin the Nats' week. Corbin, once again, was shelled over four innings pitched. He gave up eight earned runs, including three home runs and seven total hits. Joey Meneses, Illdemaro Vargas, Riley Adams, and Drew Millas had RBIs in the game, but it wasn't enough as the Nats fell to the Mets 11-5. Wednesday night was much more exciting as the Nats hit a walk-off single, courtesy of Jacob Young.
Illdemaro Vargas and CJ Abrams had RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie up the ballgame, setting up for the Nats' ninth-inning rally. Joan Adon was the starting pitcher and threw five innings while giving up two earned runs. The 25-year-old struck out six while walking three batters and didn't allow a home run, a solid outing for Adon. Kyle Finnegan recorded the win after throwing a scoreless top of the ninth.
The Dodgers came to town on Friday and got off to a quick start when outfielder J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer off Nats' starter MacKenzie Gore in the top of the first inning. The Nats answered back in the bottom of the inning with a Keibert Ruiz three-run shot. Gore couldn't keep the Dodgers bats at bay as he allowed three home runs and four earned runs across four innings pitched. Gore was placed on the 15-day IL later in the week with finger blisters that could potentially end his season. CJ Abrams hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, but that was all Washington could do at the plate, losing game one by the final of 8-5. Saturday was a long night, and despite a lengthy rain delay, the game was played and lasted 11 innings. Jake Irvin toed the slab and threw six solid innings of one-run ball. The Nats offense scored two runs in the fifth by a single from Luis Garcia and a ground out from Dominic Smith. Lane Thomas hit a two-run shot in the seventh to take a three-run lead, but the bullpen couldn't hold the Dodgers. Behind 6-5 in the bottom of the 10th inning, Keibert Ruiz hit a game-tying single to score Carter Keiboom. After a clean top of the 11th inning from Andres Machado, Micheal Chavis scored on a wild pitch to win the game in the bottom of the inning. Two walk-off wins in one week for the Nats!
The finale on Sunday was a bit of a downer, as the Dodgers jumped on Washington's starter Trevor Williams for four runs in the first two innings. Williams' final line was 4.1 innings, six earned runs, four walks, and four strikeouts. The 32-year-old also gave up one home run as his ERA for the season rose to 5.44 following the start. Illdemaro Vargas had two hits as the starting shortstop, and Drew Millas had two RBI as the starting catcher. Game three was a loss for the Nats, 7-3. The struggles of September continued as the Nats were 2-3 on the week.
Hitter of the Week
Last week could have been premature, but Jacob Young deserves Hitter of the Week for the second consecutive time. The rookie center fielder is turning heads with his speed and bat skills. Young had seven hits on the week, including three RBI, three doubles, two walks, three strikeouts, and three stolen bases. The 23-year-old has a .311 batting average and a .802 OPS through his first 45 career Major League at-bats. He's made exciting plays in center field in his first few weeks as a Major Leaguer.
Young's impact on the Nationals' lineup has been noticeable. Efficient bat-to-ball in the ninth spot in the order, has a reliable glove in center field and has quick speed on the base paths. Jacob fills in nicely in the leadoff slot when CJ Abrams needs a day off. The performance of Young should have the Nats' front office penciling him in as part of the future in D.C. His role will likely be a fourth outfielder, but it would be tough to take him out of the lineup if he continues his strong play.
Pitcher of the Week
Claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays in June, reliever Joe La Sorsa has been up and down from AAA Rochester and the Washington Nationals. The left-hander has a 5.27 ERA across 20 appearances with a 1.28 WHIP. The statistics of La Sorsa aren't what earned him Pitcher of the Week honors, but his impact on the rest of the bullpen spoke for itself. On Sunday, La Sorsa threw 3.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Joe needed just 51 pitches to retire 10 Dodger batters.
La Sorsa throwing 3.2 innings allows for a rest day for the "A" bullpen heading into an off-day on Labor Day Monday. Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey, and Jordan Weems all benefit from Joe's dominant outing. A common theme of the Nats' season has been an overworked bullpen. La Sorsa played hero in Sunday's game versus the Dodgers.