That’s right, it took until late May, but the 2019 Nationals have finally put together what can legitimately be called a winning streak.
Erick Fedde tossed five scoreless in his second start of the season. Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendon, Howie Kendrick, Brian Dozier, and Michael A. Taylor all had multi-hit games.
That’s called a team effort. And again, welcome to the first winning streak of 2019...
Fedde vs the Fish: Returning to the rotation for the first time this season last time out, after working out of the Nationals’ bullpen over the last month-plus, Erick Fedde went five strong on the road against the Mets, holding New York’s hitters to a run on four hits before he was lifted after throwing a total of 61 pitches.
“Really happy I was able to get through five and help out boys in the pen and just glad to keep the game close and get us semi-deep,” Fedde said after the start.
“Fedde was — man that was his limit,” manager Davey Martinez explained when asked about the early-ish hook in Fedde’s first big league start of 2019.
“We talked to him when he came out and he said he was tired. So we figured around 70-80 pitches would be his max.”
This afternoon in the nation’s capital, Fedde tossed two scoreless on 29 pitches to start, stranding a one-out single in the second.
Miami loaded the bases with two out in the top of the third inning, with a walk, double, and intentional pass giving the Marlins their first big opportunity against the Nats’ starter, but a swinging K from Neil Walker (on a nasty 2-2 curve) got Fedde through three scoreless on 56 pitches with a 1-0 lead, which was up to 5-0 after the bottom of the third.
Fedde retired the Marlins in order in the fourth, and worked around a two-out single and a walk in the top of the fifth to complete five scoreless on 83 pitches before he was done.
Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 83 P, 51 S, 3/5 GO/FO.
Mr. Smith, Washing — You Get It: Caleb Smith earned the second of his three wins on the season with a strong, six-inning effort against Washington in Miami back on April 19th, with just one run allowed on five hits in an 87-pitch outing.
Smith was unbeaten in his first seven starts this season, with a 2.11 ERA, 11 walks, 56 Ks, and a .176/.236/.338 line against in 42 2⁄3 IP over that stretch, with the streak of starts without a loss ending in a 5 1⁄3 inning outing against the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this month.
Last time out before today, Smith went five innings on 89 pitches, giving up two runs on three hits in a 5-4 win in which he received no decision.
Howie Kendrick battled Smith for nine pitches in the first at bat of the Nationals’ second and homered to center on a 93 MPH 2-2 four-seamer, 1-0. Kendrick’s 8th of 2019.
A two-out double to right by Adam Eaton, an intentional walk to Anthony Rendon, and an unintentional walk to Juan Soto loaded the bases in the Nationals’ half of the third, giving Kendrick an opportunity to drive in more runs, which he did, with a two-run single up the middle that made it 3-0, and Brian Dozier drove in two more with a double off the out-of-town scoreboard in right, 5-0.
Caleb Smith’s Line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 67 P, 43 S, 2/3 GO/FO.
Soto is Streaking: With the first of his two hits on Saturday, Juan Soto extended his current hit streak to nine-straight games, over which he’s gone 17 for 34 (.500 AVG) with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, 10 RBIs, four walks, and seven runs scored, and multi-hit games in three straight and six of the nine games on the streak, which has taken him from a .228/.345/.415 line to .287/.388/.516 heading into today’s game.
Soto K’d looking the first time up against left-hander Caleb Smith this afternoon, walked in his second trip to the plate, and hit a sac fly in the sixth, so he was still hitless at that point (0 for 2, BB, sac fly).
In his last chance to extend the streak in the bottom of the eighth, Soto singled to left field.
The streak lives!!!
BULLPEN ACTION: Wei-Yin Chen tossed a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth after taking over on the mound for the Marlins, and worked around back-to-back two-out singles (by Howie Kendrick and Brian Dozier) in the bottom of the fifth. Still 5-0 Nationals.
Tanner Rainey took over on the mound for the Nats in the top of the sixth, and struck out two in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
Yan Gomes (1 for 3 today) doubled to right field to start the Nationals’ half of the sixth, after a rain delay, and Michael A. Taylor drove him in with a double into the right-center gap in the at bat that followed, 6-0. Adam Eaton singled to move Taylor to third, and both runners scored on a two-run triple to center by Anthony Rendon, 8-0. Juan Soto’s sac fly to center brought Rendon in, 9-0.
Javy Guerra got the top of the seventh for the Nationals and worked around a leadoff single to keep the combined shutout intact.
Fish righty Tyler Kinley worked around back-to-back, two-out singles for a scoreless seventh inning, still 9-0 Nationals.
Guerra came back out for the top of the eighth and gave up a leadoff single and a one-out, two-run home run, 9-2.
MORE LIKE ... NEIL ... DINGERS.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 26, 2019
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Righty James Bourke (pronounced like Burke) made his MLB debut in the top of the ninth, with a seven-run lead, and issued a four-pitch walk to the first batter he faced. Six straight balls to start the inning earned him a visit from pitching coach Paul Menhart, but he dialed up a 4-6-3 double play with a 96 MPH full-count fastball to Miguel Rojas.
After a second walk, and an infield single that loaded the bases, Brian Anderson doubled to center to drive in three runs, 9-5.
Wander Suero came on to get the final out and got up 0-2 on Neil Walker before giving up an RBI single to center, 9-6.
Starlin Castro went down swinging to end it, however. Ballgame. Three straight wins.
Nationals now 22-31