Nationals Split Series With Blue Jays in “Buffalo”, One Game Out of .500
The Washington Nationals started off the week hosting the Toronto Blue Jays in DC Monday, coming off their opening series with the Yankees this past weekend. Anibal Sanchez pitched game one for the Nats against second year year pitcher Trent Thornton.
Teoscar Hernandez got things started for Toronto in the first with a solo home run to right center, opening up the flood gates for Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen, who both hit solo shots in the fourth inning. Kurt Suzuki would then answer back with a solo home run of his own to cut the Blue Jay lead to 3-1 after four innings.
Teoscar Hernandez would then proceed to hit his second home run of the day in the fifth inning, a solo shot to right. That would effectively end Anibal Sanchez’s day, posting a stat line of 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 1 BB and 7 K. The Nationals would go on to lose game one 4-1.
Richmond native Austin Voth would start game two against former National Tanner Roark. Vladmir Guerrero Jr hit a solo home run in the second for the Blue Jays to get the scoring started followed by an Adam Eaton RBI double in the third to tie the game at 1-1.
Things would only go downhill for the Nationals after that, as they were only able to tally one more hit after the third inning. Lourdes Gurriel Jr would hit a solo shot for the Blue Jays in the fourth inning and after 2 errors from 2B Starlin Castro the Nationals would give up 3 unearned runs and would go on to eventually lose to Toronto, 5-1.
The last two games of this series would see the Nationals as the away team, as the Blue Jays are prohibited by the nation of Canada to allow games at the Rogers Centre in Toronto and their temporary home in Buffalo not suitable for games yet. And while the Nationals upsettingly didn’t keep their promise they made on Twitter to have the players wear zubas if we win game three, Washington tried their best to make the Blue Jays feel right at home.
Game three would see Nationals ace Max Scherzer face off against Nate Pearson in the righty’s major league debut. Max would pitch a gem of a game, going 7.1 innings for 3 hits and 10 K while allowing 0 runs. Nate Pearson also had an impressive debut posting 2 hit, 0 ER performance after 5 IP. The offenses on both teams couldn’t seem to capitalize on runners in scoring position and a 0-0 tie would take the game into extra innings.
Emilio Bonifacio would score on an Eaton RBI infield single in the top of the tenth and Asdrubal Cabrera would put the nail in the coffin with a bases loaded clearing triple that would put the Nationals in the lead and after a strong 3 K inning from Tanner Rainey the Nationals would beat the Blue Jays 4-0.
Erick Fedde would be on the bump for the Nationals in the fourth and final game of the series, facing off against highly anticipated free agent signing Hyun-Jin Ryu coming off a 14-5 season with the Dodgers last year. Gurriel would get the bats going in the first in what would be an offensive game, dropping in an RBI single to left field.
Kurt Suzuki would answer back in the 3rd, ripping a ball deep to right center for a 2 RBI double that would put the Nationals on the scoreboard up 2-1. Michael A Taylor would then go on to hit an impressive 427 foot home run that would drive in Carter Kieboom and see our lead increase to 4-1.
Teoscar Hernandez hit a solo home run that would end Fedde’s day with a 6 hit, 2 walk outing where he gave up 2 earned runs. With the game at 4-2, Asdrubal Cabrera would continue his heroics by blasting a double into deep right to increase the Washington lead by one.
The Blue Jays refused to go away, and a Cavan Biggio home run in the seventh inning would cut the Nationals lead to 5-3 entering the eighth. Trea Turner would get an RBI on a sacrifice fly that would give Kieboom his second run of the day, and Toronto would once again answer in the bottom inning with Teoscar Hernandez’s fourth home run of the series and second of the day which was a mammoth 442 foot bomb out to deep left.
Daniel Hudson came in to close for Washington allowing only one hit while striking out one to give the Nationals a 6-4 win over Toronto. Splitting the series between our games in DC and “Buffalo” and ultimately bring the team’s record to 3-4.
Hopefully the Nationals have gotten their footing and and are starting to trend towards .500 baseball. Unfortunately though the Nationals won’t be able to ride this momentum as their three game series with the Marlins have been postponed after 16 players and 2 coaches tested positive for coronavirus in Miami. With the team’s next game coming Tuesday, August 4th against the New York Metropolitans, hopefully we will be able to see the return of Juan Soto in the lineup for some offense and enthusiasm the team desperately needs right now if they want to continue on the right track.
This baseball season has already been a weird one, and will continue to get even weirder as more and more teams seem to have players testing positive for COVID-19. With many games being delayed and postponed it will be interesting to see how the rest of the season shapes out and how many games the team might actually get to play this year. To take a play out of Davey Martinez’s book last year, the only thing the Nationals can do now is “Finish the Fight”