What I liked / didn’t like in the Nat’s two-of-three series win over the Marlins.
Game 1: 6-4 win on Monday night (May 4)
Game 2: 2-1 loss on Tuesday night (May 5)
Game 3: 7-5 win on Wednesday afternoon (May 6)
What I liked:
1. Bryce Harper – Harper in Game 3 had three homers, the last two of which reached the second deck at Nationals Park. He became the fourth Nats player to hit three homers in game, joining Alfonso Soriano (2006), Adam Dunn (2010), and Ryan Zimmerman (2013). The three homers came on just six pitches from Tom Koehler, against whom Harper had been just 2-for-15. Harper finished the game with five RBI and also had two walks in Game 1, giving him a major league-leading 26 walks exiting the series.
2. Yunel Escobar – Escobar went 6-for-11 with a walk and four RBI. He had five singles in Game 1, including a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth.
3. Wilson Ramos – Ramos went 5-for-11 with a walk, blasting a double in each of the final two games.
4. Jordan Zimmermann’s Game 1 start – Zimmermann allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings.
5. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined to allow two runs in 10 innings, recording 13 strikeouts. Particularly impressive were the six shutout innings in Game 2, during which Stephen Strasburg lasted just three innings. Sammy Solis tossed three shutout innings in the game, giving up one hit and no walks.
6. Doug Fister’s pinch-hit in Game 2 – Fister batted for Strasburg and had a pinch single to lead off the bottom of the third, becoming the first Nats pitcher to record a pinch-hit since Beltran Perez on Sept. 27, 2006.
What I didn’t like:
1. Strasburg’s Game 2 start – Strasburg gave up two runs, four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch in lasting just three innings due to an irritated right shoulder. The shoulder also appeared to contribute to another defensive lapse, as he threw way short on a sacrifice by opposing starter Mat Latos for a throwing error in the Marlins’ two-run second.
2. Two defensive miscues in Game 1 – Jayson Werth had a missed-catch error during the Marlins’ one-run first, failing to catch a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. Ramos dropped the ball on a throw from Harper in the Marlins’ two-run eighth, allowing Dee Gordon to score when he otherwise might have been tagged out.
3. Werth missing Games 2 and 3 – Werth, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his right AC joint in January, did not play due to a “cranky” shoulder according to Matt Williams. Werth has really struggled, exiting this series with a mere .450 OPS and multiple defensive mistakes so far this season.
4. Max Scherzer’s Game 3 start – This is tricky, because Sherzer had 10 strikeouts versus no walks in seven innings, just the 14th time in Nats history that a pitcher has struck out 10 or more batters without a walk. But he gave up five runs on 10 hits, including a three-run homer by Stanton in the top of the eighth. That one mistake marred an otherwise really good outing.