This one was over before it started... or actually, about eleven batters into the series finale with the Milwaukee Brewers in Miller Park, after Christian Yelich hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first, 1-0, and the Washington Nationals, who have been plagued by errors throughout the series, misplayed two more, and fell behind, 2-0, before Orlando Arcia added a bases-loaded, two-run single, making it 4-0 after one, in what ended up a 7-3 loss for the Nationals, who got swept in the three-game series in Wisconsin.
Hellboy vs Milwaukee: Jeremy Hellickson held the Philadelphia Phillies to two runs on four hits in 5 1⁄3 IP last time out before today, striking out nine of the 20 batters he faced in what ended up a 4-2 loss. The outing left the Nationals’ veteran right-hander with a 5.04 ERA, 10 walks, 22 Ks, and a .270/.336/.460 line against in five starts and 25 IP after making his 2019 debut out of the bullpen for Washington.
Hellickson left a 1-0 curve up for Christian Yelich in the bottom of the first, and the reigning NL MVP hit it a long way, sending a solo shot out to center in Miller Park for a 1-0 lead early in the series finale. Yelich’s 16th. [ed. note - “<— not a typo, it was his 16th HR.”]
Later in the first, Anthony Rendon (at short in the shift) had a hard-hit grounder by Mike Moustakas shoot through his legs, (E:5 at 6, I guess), and after a walk to Ryan Braun put Moustakas in scoring position, he scored on a ground-rule double to left field off of Eric Thames’ bat, when Adam Eaton lost it in the domed ceiling and had it fall in for a hit, 2-0.
Orlando Arcia hit a bases-loaded, two-out double later in the first to add two more runs, 4-0, and Hellickson ended up throwing 39 pitches overall before he got out of the bottom of the opening inning.
Moustakas added a two-run blast in the second to make it 6-0, and Hellickson hung around through four innings, throwing 99 pitches overall before the Nationals went to the pen...
Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 99 P, 55 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Woodruff vs Washington: Brewers’ starter Brandon Woodruff took the mound unbeaten in his last four starts, with a 3.80 ERA, eight walks, 25 Ks, and a .306/.372/.435 line against in 21 1⁄3 IP over that stretch, which left him with a 4.71 ERA, 12 walks, 45 Ks and .292/.358/.417 line against in seven starts and 36 1⁄3 IP overall on the season.
Given a 4-0 lead to work with after one, and a 6-0 lead after two, Woodruff held the Nats in check through four scoreless on 71 pitches, giving up just two hits, and he was up to 10 in a row set down after a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth which left him at 87 pitches overall.
Back-to-back singles (by Jake Noll and Adam Eaton) in the top of the sixth, set Victor Robles up with runners on the corners and no one out, and a sac fly to left brought Noll in, and got the Nationals on the board, down 7-1.
Brandon Woodruff’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 103 P, 68 S, 2/5 GO/FO.
Sweep Talking: Bad as the Washington Nationals have struggled over the first two months this season, they had avoided getting swept until today. The last time they were swept, as mentioned in the Nats’ pregame notes this afternoon, was back in early July 2018, when the Boston Red Sox took an Interleague series in D.C. The last time they were swept in a road series was June 25-26, 2018 at Tampa Bay, though that was a two-game set, and June 15-17, 2018 at Toronto for the last three-game sweep on the road. And the last time Milwaukee did it to Washington before today? May 23-25, 2011 in Miller Park.
BULLPEN ACTION: Matt Grace took over on the mound for the Nationals in the fifth and gave up a one-out solo shot by Manny Piña, 7-0.
Erick Fedde came on in a 7-1 game in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a one-out double and back-to-back walks, which loaded the bases, before he retired the next two batters and got out of the jam.
Matt Albers gave up a leadoff double by Brian Dozier and an RBI single by Wilmer Difo, 7-2, in the first two at bats of the Nats’ seventh.
Michael A. Taylor doubled to left field off Albers with one out to put runners on second and third, and Difo scored on a sac fly by Howie Kendrick, 7-3. Alex Claudio came on to finish it up in the seventh.
Kyle Barraclough retired the Brewers in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Junior Guerra tossed a scoreless top of the eighth, and Wander Suero worked a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Burch Smith tried to finish the Nationals off in the ninth, but a single and one-out ROE forced Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell to go to the pen for left-handed closer Josh Hader, who took over with runners on second and third and walked Michael A. Taylor to load them up for Kurt Suzuki, who K’d swinging for out No. 2 before Adam Eaton, who K’d swinging as well to end it. 7-3 Brewers final.
Nationals now 14-22