Reynaldo Lopez signed for $17,000 as an amateur free agent in 2012 and worked his way up the organizational ladder relatively quickly, becoming the first player signed and developed out of the Dominican Republic (2005-present) to start a Major League game for the Nationals when he debuted in front of 38,747 fans tonight in Nationals Park.
Lopez started the season at Double-A Harrisburg, putting up a 3.18 ERA, a 3.14 FIP, 25 walks (2.95 BB/9) and 100 Ks (11.79 K/9) in 76 ⅓ innings pitched.
Promoted up to Triple-A Syracuse, the hard-throwing right-hander was (1-0) in two starts, posting a 3.27 ERA, a 5.50 FIP, six walks (4.91 BB/9) and nine Ks (7.36 K/9) in 11 innings before he was called up today to make his MLB debut.
Things didn't start well for Lopez, 22, who gave up a solo home run to right by Chase Utley on a 97 mph 1-1 fastball on his third pitch in the majors, but he impressed in spite of his struggles, striking out nine in 4 ⅔ IP, over which he threw a total of 105 pitches, giving up 10 hits and six earned runs before he was done in what ended up an 8-4 loss.
Howie Kendrick and Justin Turner followed with a single and double, respectively, in the next two ABs after Utley's leadoff home run.
Lopez retired the next two batters, recording his first major league K in the process, but Joc Pederson hit a 98 mph 2-1 fastball back up the middle for a two-out, two-run single that made it 3-0 LA after a half-inning in D.C.
Dodgers' shortstop Chris Taylor double to right on a first-pitch fastball to start the top of the second and he took third on a sac bunt before scoring on an RBI single to right by Utley, 4-0.
After back-to-back, 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth, Lopez was up to eight straight batters retired and seven Ks on the night, but he'd thrown 73 pitches through four.
Adrian Gonzalez hit an opposite field liner to left for an RBI single in the fifth after Lopez walked Howie Kendrick and gave up a line drive single to left by Justin Turner, 5-0.
With two on and two out, Yasiel Puig hit a 96 mph 3-2 fastball back up the middle for an RBI single on Lopez's 105th and final pitch of the night. 6-0.
• Reynaldo Lopez vs LA: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 65 S, 3/0 GO/FO.
Jose Lobaton hit a solo home run to left on a two-out, 2-0 fastball from Scott Kazmir in the Nationals' half of the fifth.
Lobaton's third of the year made it a 6-1 Dodgers' lead after five in the nation's capital.
Kazmir completed seven on 88 pitches, working around a one-out double by Jayson Werth in his final inning of work and giving up just four hits and the one run on Lobaton's home run before he was done.
• Scott Kazmir vs D.C.: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 88 P, 59 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
Chris Taylor reached on an error by third baseman for the night Daniel Murphy and scored on an error in right by Bryce Harper on a Chase Utley single to make it 7-1 after seven and a half.
Dodgers' righty Chris Hatcher gave up a walk, a single and a two-run triple by Trea Turner before he was lifted with no one out in the eighth, with the score 7-3 in LA's favor.
Daniel Murphy brought Tuner in with an RBI double to center off Adam Liberatore that bounced off the top of the center field wall and came back onto the field, 7-4 Dodgers.
Yasmani Grandal took Shawn Kelley deep to center for a solo shot that made it 8-4 LA. Tonight's loss was the Nats' sixth straight to the Dodgers overall, four of them in four games this season...
Nationals now 56-38
- After sweeping all three games when Washington was in LA June, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a 42-26 advantage over the Nationals in the all-time matchup between the two teams (2005-present).
- With three straight wins this season, the Dodgers have a five-game winning streak against the Nationals heading into this week's series.
- The Dodgers started the night 5.5 games out of first in the NL West, behind the San Francisco Giants, and they were 1.0 game ahead of the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card race.
- Reynaldo Lopez was ranked 48th overall on Baseball America's midseason list of the top prospects in baseball, up from No. 92 at the start of the season.
- From May 29th to June 25, Lopez went (2-1) with a 1.60 ERA in 33 ⅔ IP for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators before he earned a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse.
- Nationals' pinch hitters, as a group, are tied for the major league lead in pinch hit home runs with 10 after Daniel Murphy's ninth inning blast on Sunday. On the year, Nats' pinch hitters have 24 pinch hits total, 15 of them extra base hits.
- Washington's 10 pinch hit home runs are already a franchise record for a full season (2005-present) and five of the ten have tied games over given the Nationals a lead.
- Stephen Drew and Chris Heisey have three each to lead the Nationals in pinch hit homers...
- Daniel Murphy who returned to the lineup today and was penciled in at third for the first time this season, entered the first game of three with the Dodgers in D.C. leading the majors with a .350 AVG.
- Murphy also started the night leading all NL second basemen in doubles (25), home runs (18), RBIs (67) and his .608 SLG was the best among all NL second baseman as well.
- Dodgers' IF/OF Howie Kendrick went 1 for 4 on Sunday, to extend his hitting streak to 10-straight games, over which he's 18 for 40 (.450 AVG), with five doubles, a home run and six RBIs over that stretch. He extended it to 11-straight with a single to right in his first at bat.
- Dodgers' lefty Scott Kazmir took the mound with an odd streak of 17-straight starts... in the month of July, going back to 2010 in which he hadn't taken a loss, with a 1.63 ERA and a .187 BAA in 105 IP over the stretch.
- Dodgers' relievers started the night with a major league-best 2.89 ERA in 311 ⅔ innings pitched, over which they'd held opposing hitters to a major league low .197 AVG.
Nationals now 56-38