Another quiet week in D.C.
It was a two-win week for the Washington Nationals, who faced the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers for seven games. Scoring 22 runs in seven games isn't enough and won't translate to many wins. Starting pitching improved, but the bats couldn't keep up. Just two weeks remain in the 2023 season.
Patrick Corbin got the start on Monday with a solid start in Pittsburgh: 6.2 innings, two earned runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts. CJ Abrams provided the fireworks, hitting two home runs and driving in three runs. Keibert Ruiz also contributed two hits. The Nats won on Monday, 6-2. That was about all the Nats could do against the Pirates. The Scrappy Nats showed up on Wednesday but couldn't complete the comeback. The Nats lost three of four to the Pirates.
Onto Milwaukee for a three-game series. The Nats got on the Brewers quickly, scoring three runs in the top of the first, backed by a Lane Thomas home run. Jake Irvin was solid through four innings but couldn't get out of the fifth inning. His final line was 4.2 innings, four earned runs, five walks, and six strikeouts. The Nats didn't score a run after the first inning and dropped game one, 5-3. Game two got ugly, with Kyle Finnegan allowing four runs in the eighth inning to break the game wide open. Starting pitcher Trevor Williams lasted just two innings, another abysmal start for the Nats' right-hander. The Nats dropped game two, 9-5. Game three was a pitching duel with Patrick Corbin and Brandon Woodruff on the mound. Luis Garcia took Woodruff deep to the opposite field for an impressive home run. Corbin turned in a second consecutive efficient start, six innings while allowing one earned run. Joey Meneses hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the tenth inning to drive in the go-ahead run. Robert Garcia got the win, throwing two innings of shutout baseball.
Hitter of the Week
The RBI machine himself, Joey Meneses. The Nationals leader this season in RBI, Meneses has been rock solid in the lineup for coach Davey Martinez. Joey drove in the go-ahead RBI in Sunday's game, his 81st of the season. Joey quietly collected nine hits this week, including two doubles and five RBI.
Joey is a touching story for the Nationals, a minor league journeyman who's gotten his opportunity and cashed in. He has years of team control and can be a placeholder until younger prospects are ready for the big leagues. That's the situation Washington's in, the beginning stages of a rebuild. Meneses is a great player to fill in gaps during a rebuild.
Pitcher of the Week
Since the All-Star break, Nats' starter Josiah Gray has been struggling. On Thursday against Pittsburgh, Gray turned in 6.1 innings while striking out ten batters, arguably one of his best starts of the season. It was also one of his most important games. Gray posted an 8.84 ERA in August across five starts, by far his worst of the season. September is a big month for Josiah as it is an opportunity to finish the season strong.
His first start of the month in Miami was rocky, but he showed solidarity in Pittsburgh. Gray was the pitcher selected for his first All-Star game earlier in the season. Josiah posted a 3.13 ERA in July and is looking to return to that form. Thursday's start is an indicator he's on the right track.