Miami Marlins' starter Mat Latos walked five batters in 6 ⅓ innings last night in Nationals Park, but he held Washington's hitters to just two hits and one earned run, striking out six and inducing ten ground ball outs from the 25 batters he faced in what ended up a 2-1 win.
So what was working for the Marlins' right-hander, who entered the game with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP after 21 IP in 2015? "Curveball. Offspeed pitches," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said. "Early on he was struggling with command. He settled in later. But the breaking was key for him, slider and curveball."
More than one Nationals' hitter took called strikes and objected to home plate umpire Dan Iassogna's liberal take on the strike zone.
"We certainly don't want to leave it up to the umpire," Williams said. They're good pitches, but we don't want to get in that situation and leave it. We want to make sure that we do what we can to put that ball in play."
While the Nats' offense sputtered, the bullpen impressed, with Sammy Solis, Blake Treinen, Matt Thornton and Aaron Barrett piecing together six scoreless innings after Stephen Strasburg left the game following the third.
Solis did the bulk of the work, throwing three scoreless on 44 pitches. Williams said two starts into his professional career, the 26-year-old left-hander has shown the ability to pound the strike zone and challenge hitters.
So what has impressed Williams most about Solis?
"Just the amount of strikes he's throwing," Williams said. "The first experience at the big league level he came in and he pounded the strike zone. He did that again tonight. So he's throwing the ball well, the only issue now is that we've used him --- that's 40+ pitches, he's not used to doing that and responding the next day so we'll have to look at that."
NATS BEAT: Solis said he thinks he'll be fine to go again...
• "With the bullpen overworked, manager Matt Williams wondered after the game if Solis could pitch on back-to-back days. Solis believes he can." - "Solis steps up with dominant relief outing" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "With their starter pulled after only three frames, the Nationals needed something extra out of their bullpen, and they got it from Sammy Solis..." - "Marlins 2, Nats 1: Strasburg exits early, bats go silent" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
So, about Strasburg leaving the game early with a "little issue underneath his shoulder blade":
• "Worse, there was the look on Stephen Strasburg’s face in the top of the second inning Tuesday night at Nationals Park, a full-on grimace after he unleashed a pitch to Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins." - "With Stephen Strasburg, there’s no such thing as just ‘a little issue’" - Barry Svrluga, The Washington Post
Stephen Strasburg said the best way he could describe the feeling in his shoulder: going over speed bumps too fast. Irritation. What next?— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) May 6, 2015
• "Strasburg is scheduled to visit a chiropractor Wednesday, something he admitted he’s done in the past. For now, the Nationals do not appear to believe this is an injury that would require a trip to the disabled list." - "Strasburg hopeful chiropractor will fix shoulder issue" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "In the second, MASN cameras showed Strasburg wincing after throwing a pitch to Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon..." - "Nationals Pastime: Stephen Strasburg exits after three innings (Nats fall 2-1)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
Williams says Strasburg has an issue underneath his shoulder blade. Will be evaluated by chiropractor tomorrow.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 6, 2015
• "There hasn't been any talk of the disabled list for Strasburg, who plans to see a chiropractor." - "Strasburg exits early with shoulder irritation" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "That is when Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz made their way to the mound to check on Strasburg." - "Nationals Pastime: Stephen Strasburg dealing with right shoulder blade issue" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Strasburg first felt the discomfort during his previous start against the New York Mets, but it dissipated as the game progressed and he was able to pitch through it." - "Stephen Strasburg leaves Nationals' loss with right shoulder discomfort" - Tom Schad, Washington Times
Nats drop 2-1 decision to the Fish:
• "Uggla shot his first bunt attempt against Marlins right-hander Steve Cishek foul up the third base line, as if he were trying to bunt for a base hit." - "Strasburg exits early, and Nationals offense never arrives in 2-1 loss" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
• "'Latos is a really good pitcher,' Uggla agreed. 'He's got good stuff. He was hitting his spots. He got settled in and we just couldn't get anything going.'" - "Solis, Uggla and Williams after 2-1 loss to Marlins" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
• "Scherzer leads all National League starters with a 1.26 ERA but had a 1-3 record in five starts." - "Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals - May 6, 2015" - Ben Raby, MLB.com Preview
Robinson's grounder 108 mph Statcast says. So huge tough play by Dee to save run #Marlins— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) May 6, 2015
• "The bottom four hitters in the Marlins' lineup all reached base in succession to begin the second inning against Strasburg." - "Nats unable to rally after Strasburg departs" - Bill Ladson and Ben Raby, nationals.com
Werth rested up for finale?:
• "Werth, who turns 36 later this month, has noted how many times he has hit a ball hard right at an outfielder. And indeed, there has been some element of bad luck in his performance so far..." - "Still finding his groove, Werth gets a night off" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Werth didn’t have much of a spring training because he was rehabbing his surgically-repaired right shoulder in Viera." - "Jayson Werth getting a day off; Anthony Rendon’s timetable ‘kinda up in the air’" - Matt Williams, The Washington Post
Rendon Updates: No update:
• "Using Escobar as an example, he was initially scratched from the Nats' first Grapefruit League game with what ended up being a Grade 1 oblique strain. Escobar did not return to game action until 19 days later on March 23..." - "Nationals Pastime: Anthony Rendon's return is 'up in the air' (game starts after short delay)" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Rendon thought the pain would go away, but it didn't. This is Rendon's second injury of the year." - "Nats focus on long term in Rendon's setback" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Schoenfield has a question; Mastroianni deal
• "Still, manager Matt Williams left him in. "The obvious question: Why was he left in to throw two more innings? Especially a guy with Tommy John surgery in his past." - "Stephen Strasburg's injury is not the Washington Nationals' biggest problem" - David Schoenfield, SweetSpot - ESPN
Stephen Strasburg's injury is not the Washington Nationals' biggest problem http://t.co/BqH3gRaNdm— ESPN.com's SweetSpot (@espn_sweet_spot) May 6, 2015
• "Only once before in seven seasons had Latos failed to win one of his first four starts." - "Marlins' Latos finally notches win with hometown team" - Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel
• "After appearing in 14 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014, Mastroianni failed to make the Phillies' Opening Day roster and began the season in Triple-A." - "Phillies trade outfielder Darin Mastroianni to Washington Nationals" - Maria Guardado, NJ.com
NATS MINORS: Giolito and Lopez to Potomac + more
• "Lopez will start Wednesday against Wilmington while Giolito, considered the the top pitching prospect in baseball by MLB.com, will take the bump two days later against Frederick." - "Washington Nationals pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez to make season debuts with Potomac Nationals this week" - Ashley Marshall, MiLB.com News
• "Two of the Nationals’ top pitching prospects, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, will finally begin their seasons at Class A Potomac, according to a person familiar with the situation." - "Prized pitching prospects Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez joining Potomac" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Giolito and Lopez arrived to G. Richard Pfitzner Stadium Tuesday afternoon and are taking part in pre-game baseball activities..." - "Prized Washington Nationals Right-Handed Pitching Prospects, Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez Assigned to Potomac Nationals Tuesday" - Potomac Nationals News
• "Chiefs starter A.J. Cole pitched six strong innings, allowing only one run on seven hits." - "Washington Nationals Minor League Affiliate Report May 4" - Dave Nichols, District Sports Page
• "Syracuse Chiefs infielder Jason Martinson and reliever Mitch Lively have earned Washington Nationals' Triple-A awards for April." - "Syracuse Chiefs' Mitch Lively, Jason Martinson pick up monthly Washington awards" - LIndsay Kramer, syracuse.com
• "Chiefs pitcher Scott McGregor threw seven innings, only allowing one run. Kila Ka'aihue hit the go-ahead solo home run for the Chiefs in the bottom of the seventh." - "Syracuse Chiefs, Kila Ka'aihue come back against the Norfolk Tides to win 2-1, Scott McGregor" - Syracuse Chiefs News
• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):
Because all religious traditions teach love, tolerance and forgiveness, and share a common goal, we can appreciate and respect them all.— Dalai Lama (@DalaiLama) May 4, 2015
• "Baseball officials hoping to bring the Hagerstown Suns to Spotsylvania said they would ask for an extension of the original May 31 deadline to complete the deal." - "Spotsylvania delays baseball decision for up to 60 days" - Jeff Branscome, Fredericksburg.com
• "A rough sixth inning was more than the Harrisburg Senators could overcome in a 4-2 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats on Monday night at New Britain Stadium." - "Fateful inning costs Harrisburg Senators as they lose series opener in New Britain" - Mick Reinhard, PennLive.com
NATSTOWN: Nationals with Dogs; Slow jams; Strasburgers and mores
Behind the scenes of our pet calendar photo shoot with my Danes pic.twitter.com/wSJTMokCAE— Doug Fister (@dougfister58) May 5, 2015
• "The Nationals stadium crew is tinkering with a new way to give the home team the edge." - "HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE? Opponents find slow jams are the norm for batting practice at Nationals Park" - Scott Smith, DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG
• "Home games for the home team bring out Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger, a double-decker meat bomb introduced last year to honor starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg." - "Tortilla Coast Offers Cinco de Mayo, Baseball Specials" - Jason Dick, Roll Call After Dark
Drew Storen (@DrewStoren) May 5, 2015
• "DS Wood, which started in a garage in 2009, is gaining traction with minor league players such as Ricky Hague with the Senators and prospects for the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and others." - "Hummelstown batmaker with MLB connections hoping for breakout seasons ahead" - Jason Scott, LVB
NL EAST UPDATE: Utley's resting; Miller's ace-ish; Wright's return?
• Phillies: "Chase Utley, whose .103 batting average ranked 180th of 180 qualifying big-league hitters entering play yesterday, was out of the Phillies' starting lineup..." - "Phillies Notebook: Some R&R for Phillies' Chase Utley" - Ryan Lawrence, Philadelphia Daily News
• Mets: "Terry Collins said David Wright has shown recent improvement in his rehab from a hamstring injury. But the manager still gave a less-than-encouraging answer when asked when the third baseman would rejoin the Mets..." - "Mets Insider: Not Wright time for David's return" - Anthony McCarron, Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News
• "Those who might have lamented the November trade that sent Heyward to St. Louis have likely changed their tune as Miller has looked like nothing less than a potential ace..." - "Miller proving his worth with each great start" - Mark Bowman, braves.com
A look at all 45 of Dee Gordon's hits http://t.co/ylhAH6IewW— ESPN.com's SweetSpot (@espn_sweet_spot) May 5, 2015