It wasn't a pretty start to the week for the Nationals, with two or fewer runs deciding each of a four-game losing streak to the Marlins and the Tigers. The Marlins swept the Nationals in Miami, killing the momentum built the previous week. Washington rebounded to take two of three from Detriot to end the week positively.
The Nats rallied in game one of the Miami series with three runs in the eighth but were walked off by Marlins left-fielder Jorge Soler's home run. MacKenzie Gore struck out seven in game two but allowed four runs which were too much for Washington's bats to overcome. Miami's rookie starting pitcher Eury Perez collected his first win in the majors in game three, allowing just three hits over five innings. The Nats scored two runs in the eighth but couldn't rally in the ninth.
Friday night's game versus Detroit got off to an ugly start. Starter Jake Irvin lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing six hits on six runs, four walks, and two home runs. The 26-year-old rookie has had two solid starts for the Nats but two not-so-good ones. Starting pitcher Chad Kuhl was activated off the IL, and reliever Hobie Harris was sent to Triple-A Rochester. Irvin has done enough to earn at least another start, as coach Davey Martinez said Kuhl is set for a role in the bullpen.
The boys battled back in late in the game Friday night to make it close behind Lane Thomas' home run and Keibert Ruiz's two-run shot into the bullpen. It wasn't enough to overcome early defensive errors by Jake Irvin and second baseman Luis Garcia. The Nats' rebounded to take care of business in the final games of the series, winning 5-2 and 6-4. As previously mentioned, Patrick Corbin took care of business on Saturday. Lane Thomas continued his solid run with three hits and two RBI.
Josiah Gray toed the slab on Sunday afternoon and wasn't sharp but showed poise to scatter three hits over five innings. Gray had six walks and three strikeouts, throwing 89 pitches and 48 for strikes. His performance today highlighted his growth, limiting the damage during starts with shaky command. Josiah lowered his ERA to 2.65 following today's game. Josiah Gray and Lane Thomas were solid this week, but was it enough to take home District on Deck Player of the Week honors?
Hitter of the Week
Following his sixth-multi hit game of the week, third baseman Jeimer Candelario collected 16(!) hits this week. In his last seven games, Jeimer has an OPS of 1.000. The 29-year-old switch-hitter hit two home runs and drove in five in six games played against the Mets, Marlins, and Tigers.
Candelario is hitting .269 this season with six homers, 19 RBI, and a .780 OPS. Power has not been a problem for Jeimer, as he has 13 doubles already, just six short of his total of 19 in 2022. Could both District on Deck Players of the Week be trade candidates? Candelario is on a one-year deal and could help a contending team amid a playoff run.
Pitcher of the Week
Is it possible that Corbin pitches his way into a trade at the deadline? That would be best case scenario for Washington. Patrick is owed 59 million through the 2024 season, according to spoctrac.com. The 33-year-old went 2-0 this week with back-to-back quality starts. On Monday versus New York, Corbin threw six innings, allowing eight hits, two runs, one walk, and striking out one. Pitching to soft contact has allowed Corbin to eat innings for the Nationals this season. Patrick reached a career milestone during Saturday's start, 1,500 career strikeouts.
Saturday, Patrick threw six effective innings against Detroit, surrendering just six hits, two runs, a walk, and three strikeouts. Corbin's season ERA lowered to 4.47 following the start, his lowest since 2019, when he posted a 3.25 ERA. Corbin has been one of the least efficient pitchers in baseball the past three seasons, but it seems he's regained confidence on the mound. In ten starts this season, he's recorded six quality starts. According to baseball-reference.com, Corbin's walk rate during 2023 is 4.1%, the lowest of his 11-year career. Seeing Patrick be an effective major league pitcher is a beautiful sight for Nationals fans. He's this week's District on Deck Pitcher of the Week after posting a 2-0 record.
The Nats are off on Monday and host the San Diego Padres for three games before traveling to Kansas City to take on the Royals to finish next week.