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Nationals Win Two Of Three Against Milwaukee

Reviewing an uneven but victorious series for the Nats to begin a nine-game homestand.

Washington Nationals players, including shortstop Trea Turner (7), center fielder Michael Taylor (3) and right fielder Bryce Harper (34), high-five after beating the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The Nationals won 6-1. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Washington Nationals players, including shortstop Trea Turner (7), center fielder Michael Taylor (3) and right fielder Bryce Harper (34), high-five after beating the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park in Washington, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. The Nationals won 6-1. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 

Game 1: 10-3 loss on Friday night (Aug. 21)

Game 2: 6-1 win on Saturday night (Aug. 22)

Game 3: 9-5 win on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 23)

 

What I liked:

1. Back-to-back series wins – Believe it or not, this series victory gave the Nats consecutive series wins for the first time since late June.

 

2. The offense – The Nats batted .274 (26-for-95), including going 7-for-20 with runners in scoring position.

The Nats totaled 15 walks, including eight in Game 3. The Nats have worked an astounding 38 walks over the last six games.

Anthony Rendon was a monster over the final two games, providing a solo home, an RBI double and two walks in Game 2 and a three-run homer and two walks in Game 3.

Wilson Ramos had an RBI double and a single in Game 2 and a solo homer, single and a walk in Game 3.

Jayson Werth, who batted leadoff in all three games, went 4-for-11 with two walks.

Bryce Harper had a solo homer in Game 1 and two doubles in Game 3, going 4-for-12 with a walk overall.

 

3. Joe Ross’ start in Game 2 – A nice rebound from having allowed nine earned runs in 8 2/3 innings over his previous two starts. He allowed one run in seven innings, giving up just six hits and no walks.

 

4. The call-up of Trea Turner – The Nats purchased his contract from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday, when they placed Tyler Moore on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle. Turner, the infamous “player to be named later” in the Stephen Souza Jr. trade with Tampa Bay and San Diego last December and the 13th overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, came off the bench in Games 1 and 2. He had a near-infield single in Game 1 on which he, according to Statcast, reached 22.188 miles per hour. Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton, considered the standard by which all base runners should be judged, has topped that speed only three times this year going from home to first.

Turner is the Nats’ shortstop of the future, as in next season given Ian Desmond’s pending free agency. The takeaway for me, though, off him being called-up now is this: whenever you’re given a timetable for when a highly-touted prospect will be brought up to the major-league level, cut that timetable in half. These guys constantly arrive in the majors much sooner than expected. Happened with Harper. Happened with Rendon. Happened with the Orioles’ Manny Machado. Now has happened with Turner.

 

What I didn’t like:

1. The starting pitching in Games 1 and 3 – Two more disappointing starts for Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

Gio allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings in Game 1, giving up eight hits and two walks on 91 pitches. He now has not lasted more than five innings in five of his last six starts.

Zimmermann allowed four runs in 5 2/3 innings in Game 3, giving up eight hits (including two homers), a hit-by-pitch and an intentional walk. He also had another throwing error. Zimmermann now has a 4.56 ERA (27 earned runs in 53 1/3 innings) over his last nine starts. He has allowed more homers this season (17 in 26 starts) than he did all of last season (13 in 32 starts). Zimmermann, while not nearly as bad Doug Fister, is similarly in the midst of a disappointing contract season.

 

2. The defense in Game 1 – This was arguably the Nats’ worst defensive game of the season.

The Nats had four bad defensive moments (though no official errors) in the Brewers’ two-run third:

  • Rendon failed to field a grounder to his left, allowing the speedy Jean Segura to reach first base on an infield single
  • Segura then stole second thanks in part to Jose Lobaton’s throwing sailing into center field
  • Jonathan Lucroy then blasted an RBI double on which Jayson Werth incorrectly broke in (as he has done too often this season), scoring Segura
  • Lobaton then had a passed ball, advancing Lucroy to third

The Nats then committed two errors in the Brewers’ five-run seventh:

  • Lobaton was called for catcher’s interference with the bases loaded, scoring a run
  • Bryce Harper was charged with a throwing error on a Segura sac fly on which two runs scored, although I though the throw could have been handled or at least stopped by Lobaton

 

3. The bullpen – Nats relievers combined to allow six runs (four earned) in 9 1/3 innings. Fister and Tanner Roark combined to allow five runs (three earned) in three innings in Game 1. Drew Storen gave up a leadoff homer to Khris Davis in the top of the eighth in Game 3, though Storen did then record three consecutive strikeouts.

 

4. Yunel Escobar missing time – He crashed into a fan going after a foul ball and suffered a hyper-extended neck in Game 1.  Escobar did not play in Games 2 and 3, though he was available for emergency duty on Sunday.

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