Recapping Washington’s 3-game homestand against the Dodgers at Nationals’ Park.
Game 1: 5-3 win on Friday night (July 17) and Saturday afternoon (July 18)
Game 2: 4-2 loss on Saturday (July 18)
Game 3: 5-0 loss on Sunday afternoon (July 19)
What I liked:
1. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 3 – He wasn’t nearly as dominant as counterpart Zack Greinke, but it’s not like Scherzer was bad: one run in six innings on eight strikeouts versus seven hits, a walk and a run-scoring wild pitch (though a better throw by Wilson Ramos likely would have gotten the runner).
2. Yunel Escobar – He had five of the Nats’ 17 hits in the series, including a two-run homer and two doubles in Game 1.
3. Bryce Harper – Even in a series in which the offense was bad, he was good: three walks in Game 1, a two-run homer in Game 2 and a single and a walk in Game 3. Harper did strike out five times against Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke in Games 2 and 3 and was not happy with umpire Bill Miller’s strike zone in Game 3, demonstrably taking multiple steps down the first-base line after a called strike he disagreed with, flinging his helmet and bat in disgust after a called strike-three and complaining after the game: “For me, I don’t think [Greinke] was very tough. He’s a great pitcher, he does what he does, but when you’re getting six inches off the plate, it’s pretty tough to face him.”
What I didn’t like:
1. The offense overall – The Nats batted .181 (17-for-94), including getting emasculated by Kershaw in Game 2 and Greinke in Game 3. Each tosed eight scoreless innings, and the two combined for 25 strikeouts versus six hits and one walk.
2. Doug Fister’s start in Game 2 – He allowed four runs in five innings on nine hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. After Stephen Strasburg, Fister has been the Nats’ most disappointing pitcher this season. He is appreciably worse in just about every major statistical category versus what he did in 2014. And unless there is something we don’t know, we’re past the point of blaming his health, as it has been more than a month since his month-plus-long stint on the 15-day disabled list due to right forearm tightness.
3. Blake Treinen in the Dodgers’ four-run ninth in Game 3 – He allowed four runs on five hits and an intentional walk and recorded just one out. If you subtract that performance, Nats relievers combined to allow one run in 11 2/3 innings and record 17 strikeouts in the series.
4. The disaster that was Game 1 – Three power outages totaling more than two hours of delays led to the game being suspended after five innings on Friday night and completed on Saturday afternoon. Putting aside the inconveniencing of the fans and embarrassment for Nationals Park, the circumstances also a) led to a shortened outing for Jordan Zimmermann (two runs in four innings) and b) led to the Nats using four relievers in the game. All told, the Nats used eight relievers in 11 appearances in the series, resulting in a taxed bullpen going into a big three-game series with the second-place Mets.
5. Another Nat being out – Making matters even worse for the bullpen was the fact that the Nats on Friday placed David Carpenter on the 15-day D.L. due to right shoulder inflammation.