Jefry Rodriguez made his MLB debut against the Braves in Atlanta, throwing 4 2⁄3 scoreless after coming on in relief for Jeremy Hellickson, who was injured one batter into his start on the road in SunTrust Park back on June 3rd.
In three starts that followed, the 25-year-old righty had given up 17 hits, 10 walks, and 15 runs, all earned, over 14 innings.
His last outing before Tuesday’s start was a five-inning appearance on the road in PNC Park, in which he gave up eight hits, four walks, and six earned runs in five innings, with six of the eight hits and all six runs coming in the first two frames, before he settled in with three scoreless.
Called back up as the 26th man for Tuesday’s doubleheader, Martinez said the Nationals liked what they say from the righty in his last few outings at Triple-A (1 ER in 11 2⁄3 innings over his last two starts).
Two Ks through three scoreless. pic.twitter.com/ks080j4Pds— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 7, 2018
“He’s been pitching really well, his last couple starts has pitched really well, and seemed to be throwing a lot more strikes consistently, and that’s good,” the manager said.
Rodriguez tossed three scoreless against the Braves to start, (on a total of 41 pitches), working around a hit-by-pitch that was the only blemish to that point.
Three singles in the fourth (by Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, and Johan Camargo) led to the first run of the game for the Braves, however, but the Nats scored four in the bottom of the inning for a 4-1 lead and Rodriguez (who doubled for his first hit major league hit as part of the Nationals’ rally) took the mound in the fifth and retired the side in order in a seven-pitch frame that ended his outing.
First career #CurlyW *and* his first career big league hit. pic.twitter.com/ZUKg4wNaKt— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 7, 2018
Jefry Rodriguez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 64 P, 43 S, 7/4 GO/FO.
“He was good, real good,” Martinez said after what ended up an 8-3 win in which Rodriguez earned his first MLB win. “He gave us five good, strong innings, that’s what we needed.”
Asked what was working for Rodriguez on the mound, Martinez said it was everything, really.
“He threw his fastball for strikes,” the manager said.
“His two-seamer was electric, and he threw a couple good changeups. He started mixing his three pitches with his curveball, and they were all effective.”
“I think the angle he has makes it tough,” Trea Turner told reporters when asked what he saw working for the rookie starter.
“Obviously he’s got good stuff, throws hard, but being so tall and working downhill it makes it tough to square up and he did a great job working ahead today, so helped himself out and pitched great.”
With a solid start from Rodriguez, and some big blasts and timely hitting from the Nationals, they took the first game of the doubleheader with the Braves, and Rodriguez got the win.
Asked what, if anything, he did differently this time, Rodriguez said he stuck with pretty much the same game plan.
“The one thing I did do was mix my pitches a little bit more because that’s one thing they wanted me to do, which I did,” he said through a translator.
As for getting his first win?
“Very excited, very emotional obviously,” Rodriguez said. “That’s what we work hard to accomplish and now that I did I’m very excited.”
Five innings, three hits, one run allowed...— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 7, 2018
... and a double and a run scored. pic.twitter.com/1GAoXZj9FC