Just another Tuesday? Hardly.
Six years ago this month, the Washington Nationals debuted a tall, hard-throwing right-handed starter, who arrived with an astronomical amount of fanfare, hyped as perhaps the greatest pitching prospect...ever. Tuesday night at Nationals Park, the Nats debuted their most recent prized prospect, universally hailed as the top starting pitching prospect in the game right now.
Lucas Giolito featured a 95 mph fastball, devastating curveball and a sharp changeup to go four strong innings before a lengthy rain delay shortened his first appearance and the Nats downed the New York Mets for the second night in a row, 5-0, before 29,918 at Nats Park.
Though it came without as much attention as Stephen Strasburg's debut six years ago, this was still a big event around NatsTown. Giolito ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB.com, and the No. 5 prospect in MLB per Baseball America, so his first start was being monitored nationally as well as locally.
He didn't disappoint.
The game was delayed by an hour due to severe storms that rolled through the area. Once it got going, Giolito received a nice ovation as he made his way in from the bullpen to the dugout, and again after he delivered his first pitch, a high 95 mph fastball to Curtis Granderson.
Granderson fought off another fastball for a looping single to left, but Giolito settled to strike out Asdrubal Cabrera on a 94 mph fastball on the inside corner. The 21-year-old then induced grounders by Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker -- with Daniel Murphy making a nice spinning stop for the third out of the inning.
Giolito threw nine pitches in a 1-2-3 second inning -- James Loney flied out to the track in right, Wilmer Flores grounded to third and fellow rookie Brandon Nimmo popped out to left.
In the bottom half, Wilson Ramos laced a one-out single to center, then came all the way around to barely beat the relay on Anthony Rendon's triple to the right-center gap to make it 1-0 Nats.
In the third inning, Giolito got Travis d'Arnaud to ground out to third and Matt Harvey grounded weakly to first. Granderson earned a four-pitch walk, but on the next pitch Cabrera skied to right to end the inning. After three innings, Giolito had thrown 32 pitches, 21 for strikes.
Cespedes drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the fourth, with Giolito apparently getting his spike stuck on his landing foot on ball four. But Walker flied out to left center harmlessly and Loney grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Nats had a man on with two outs in the bottom of the fourth when the rains came. And they came hard. The rain finally subsided and play resumed after a delay of 1:25, but Giolito's debut was finished.
In total, Giolito went four innings and allowed one hits and two walks, striking out one. He threw 45 pitches, 29 for strikes. After his first two batters, where everything was up probably due to adrenaline, he certainly looked like he belonged, which is as much as you can ask from a 21-year-old making his debut.
Yusmeiro Petit took over on the mound following the delay.
After a clean fifth from Petit, the Nats went to work against Jerry Blevins in the bottom. Jayson Werth walked for the second time in the game, then Bryce Harper hammered a 1-1 sinker off the back wall in the Nats bullpen in right field for a two-run shot, increasing the lead to 3-0.
In the sixth, with one out Cabrera doubled, Cespedes reached on an infield single and Walker walked against Petit. Manager Dusty Baker called on Oliver Perez and the crafty lefty struck out Loney and got Wilmer Flores on a lazy fly ball to end the threat. For the season, Perez has stranded 21 of 24 inherited runners.
After Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, the Nats picked up a couple of insurance runs -- all with two outs. Harper lashed a double and the Mets intentionally walked Murphy to face Ramos. The Nats' catcher made them pay with a booming double to center, scoring both runners, for a 5-0 lead.
Sammy Solis gave the Nats two scoreless innings of relief, and Shawn Kelley gave them a scoreless ninth.
WP: Perez (2-1) LP: Harvey (4-10) SV: None HR: Harper (16) E: None.
NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Mets. Max Scherzer (8-5, 3.52) hosts Logan Verrett (3-4, 4.14).
- The Nationals selected the contract of RHP Lucas Giolito on Tuesday and the top-ranked right-handed pitching prospect made his Major League debut Tuesday night vs. the New York Mets. The promising 21-year-old, currently ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in Major League Baseball by MLB.com, entered the season as the No. 5 prospect in MLB per Baseball America.
- A hard-throwing right-hander who possesses an advanced fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire, Giolito joined the Major League roster after working to a 24-13 record and a 2.74 ERA in 67 Minor League games (65 starts). A first-round selection (No. 16 overall) in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, Giolito has been ranked as the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in Washington’s chain since he joined the organization that July.
- Giolito became the 13th pitcher drafted and developed by the Nationals (2005-present) to start a game for Washington. He joins: RHP A.J. Cole, LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Marco Estrada, RHP Taylor Hill, RHP Taylor Jordan, RHP Nathan Karns, LHP John Lannan, LHP Tommy Milone, RHP Brad Peacock, RHP Craig Stammen, RHP Stephen Strasburg, and RHP Jordan Zimmermann. He is the first player from Washington’s 2012 draft class to make it to the Major Leagues.
- Nats opened their longest homestand of the season thus far with a rousing 11-4 comeback victory over the Mets on Monday evening. The 11 unanswered runs started with a five-run fifth inning, and scoring in each inning, three through six. The output featured hits from every member of the Nationals’ starting lineup, including RHP Joe Ross. CF Ben Revere (4-for-5), RF Bryce Harper (2-for-3), 2B Daniel Murphy (2-for-5), 3B Anthony Rendon (2-for-4) and SS Danny Espinosa (3-for-5) all posted multi-hit efforts in the win.
- The Nationals stole six bases on the Mets on Monday, matching a team record (2005-present) for stolen bags in a single game (also: July 8, 2012 vs. COL). The six stolen also tied for the most in a Major League game this season, joining the Arizona Diamondbacks, who stole six off the Rockies on June 24.
- With 77 games complete, the Nationals are enjoying their first homestand longer than seven games (10). Washington plays 18 of its next 22 games at home.
- Ben Revere put together a game unlike any other in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) on Monday night when he went 4 for 5 with three stolen bases and three runs scored. Matching career highs in each of those categories, Revere joins Ron LeFlore (Montreal) as the only players in franchise history with at least three hits, at least three runs, and at least three stolen bases in a single game (LeFlore: June 6, 1980 & July 17, 1980).
- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other player in MLB has stolen three bases and scored three runs in the same game this season.
- Revere is hitting .314 since June 5 (22 for 70) with one double, six RBI, four walks, eight stolen bases and 12 runs scored.