Nats Summer Slide Continues
June Not Kind to Nationals
The Washington Nationals June slump continued as they lost three out of four games at home. The St. Louis Cardinals won two out of three. Then the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Nats in a makeup game.
Before the Nats traveled to San Diego, they were 4-14 in the month of June. After 75 games, the Nationals are 28-47. At the same point last season, the Nats were one game worse (27-48). Despite the slim difference, I still think the DC9 are markedly improved in 2023.
Game 1: CARDINALS 8, Nationals 6
Josiah Gray got blown up for six runs in five innings. Gray (L, 4-6) allowed nine hits, including two home runs. Six strikeouts against one walk qualified as good news for Gray to build on.
Every Nationals player in the starting lineup had a hit except for Gray’s battery mate, Keibert Ruiz. Ruiz came up empty in four at bats and his batting average dipped to .235 for the season.
Luis Garcia knocked in four runs and Corey Dickerson drove in two. Lane Thomas, Jeimer Candelario, and CJ Abrams had multiple hits for Washington.
Game 2: CARDINALS 9, Nationals 3
In a near repeat starting pitching performance of the day before, MacKenzie Gore (L, 3-6) gave up five runs on nine hits in six innings. The Cardinals launched two home runs off Gore and three total. The relief pitching duo of Thad Ward and Hunter Harvey did not fare any better.
For Gray and Gore, I feel like bumps in the road are expected and probably necessary to grow and progress in their pro careers. They are just too young and talented and should rebound in their next starts. Stone Garrett and Victor Robles connected for multiple hits for Washington.
Change of scenery for Robles?
Victor Robles took a strange halting approach on a fly ball hit out to center field by Cards’ left fielder Jordan Walker. The next batter, Dylan Walker, hit a two-run homer. It might have been the wind. Or Vic’s back spasms. But Gore apparently wasn’t happy about the effort and let Robles know about it in the dugout. I liked seeing this out of a fiery young pitcher. I don’t think it coincidental that Victor was placed back on the DL the next day. Robles looked and played much better baseball before his back acted up in May. He was six for 18 in his first five games back from the DL.
Game 3: NATIONALS 3, Cardinals 0
Trevor Williams stopped the Nationals’ five game losing streak dead in its tracks. Williams (W, 4-4) pitched six scoreless innings, gave up five hits, and struck out four.
The DC bullpen made the great work by Williams hold up. Mason Thompson and Kyle Finnegan each earned their fourth holds of the year. Hunter Harvey got his fourth save.
CJ Abrams (3-3) broke the ice with an opposite field home run to give the Nats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Luis Garcia (.283) delivered two hits and scored twice. Jeimer Candelario got the last two RBI of the game. It was the Nats second shutout of the season and first at home.
TRANSACTIONS made on June 21:
- Selected and activated CF Derek Hill from Rochester.
- Placed CF Victor Robles (back spasms) on the 10-day injured list again.
- Put RHP Carl Edwards Jr. on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation.
- Recalled LHP Joe La Sorsa from Rochester. The Nats now have a lefty in the bullpen!
Make Up Game: D-BACKS 5, Nationals 3
A quality start from Jake Irvin came up short for the Nationals and the Diamondbacks completed the sweep of a series interrupted by weather on June 8. Irvin (L, 1-4) threw six solid innings and gave up one earned run on five hits. He didn’t give up a homer and struck out six versus one walk.
In a one-run game, Nats reliever Jordan Weems gave up a two-out 2-run HR to Arizona DH Ketel Marte. The blast increased the D-backs lead to 5-1. The relentless Nats scored a couple of runs in the bottom of the ninth.
Lane Thomas had a couple of hits including his 12th homer of the year. The regular Nats catcher, Keibert Ruiz, got the start as the Nats designated hitter and knocked three hits while scoring a run. Riley Adams, who got the start behind the plate also had three hits in the game.
Nats record: 28-46 before heading west to play fourth place San Diego (36-39).
Road Trip: The Nats suffered an ugly loss to the San Diego Padres (13-3) in the first game of a nine-game road trip. From there, Washington will travel up to Seattle for three more games. Following an off day on Thursday June 29, the team will be back on the east coast to face the Phillies in a three-game series.