Breaking down what I liked / didn’t like about the Natioanls’ two-game stand against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Game 1: 6-1 loss on Monday night (June 15)
Game 2: 16-4 win on Tuesday night (June 16)
What I liked:
1. Good end to what could have been a disastrous road trip – The Nats concluded a 4-4 road trip, winning three of the final four games after losing three of the first four.
2. The offense – The Nats went 10-for-25 with runners in scoring position in the series and drew five walks in each game. But what will of course be most remembered was what took place in Game 2. 23 hits, the most for the franchise since it moved to D.C. Four homers, including two by Wilson Ramos off Rays position players in the eighth and ninth innings. The funniest part? Danny Espinosa went 5-for-5 but was the only Nats starter without an RBI.
3. Tanner Roark’s start in Game 2 – Roark allowed one run in seven innings in what was the best of his five starts so far this season and a nice rebound off having allowed nine runs in 12 1/3 innings over his previous two starts.
What I didn’t like:
1. Gio Gonzalez’s start in Game 1 – Gio, who had been good in three of his previous four outings, had his worst start of the season. He allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch. And things could have been worse, as Michael Taylor made a leaping catch at the left-field wall and Danny Espinosa made a nice catch of a bounced throw by Gio to first. Gio now has a 4.82 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over 13 starts this season. He was very ordinary last year. He has been bad this year.
2. Drew Storen’s outing in Game 2 – Storen, who is overall having an excellent season, retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth but then allowed a single, a walk and a three-run homer. Matt Williams then brought in Matt Thornton to record the final out. The homer meant nothing regarding the game’s outcome, but Storen’s ERA increased from 1.11 to 2.16 and was just the latest example of things seemingly never going entirely smooth for this Nats bullpen this season.