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Austin Voth struggles with command; stumbles in Nationals’ 7-5 loss to Tigers

Washington’s four-game win streak came to an end and Nationals’ starter Austin Voth failed to follow up on an impressive 2019 debut.

Washington Nationals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Austin Voth turned some heads with his performance against the Atlanta Braves last week in the nation’s capital.

Voth struck out seven of the 23 batters he faced over six innings of work on the mound in which he gave up four hits and two runs, both on solo home runs.

It was his velocity that surprised some, with the 27-year-old right-hander sitting around 94 MPH and touching 96 after averaging 91-92 MPH in limited time in the majors in 2018.

“What I really liked,” manager Davey Martinez said, “is 83 pitches and he kept his velo up, 94-95, so really awesome to see him come up here and do what he did.”

“I’ve been touching 95 in [Triple-A] Fresno,” Voth said, “but 96, I don’t think I’ve touched that in a couple starts.”

He’d had nine days off between outings, which might have helped.

“I can’t explain it,” Martinez said. “I know he works hard, he works really hard, but like I said, if he can continue to do that, he’s going to pitch here for a while.”

Voth got another opportunity in Saturday afternoon’s matchup against the Tigers in the second of three in Detroit’s Comerica Park.

Martinez pointed to Voth’s “aggressiveness” and the way he was, “pounding the strike zone, utilizing all his pitches and throwing them for strikes,” against the Braves in explaining why the Nationals’ brass decided to keep Voth in the rotation for another turn, when the skipper spoke with reporters before the game.

“He was really good, really efficient, and like I said, we thought that that warranted another start for him here, and we’ll see where he goes from here.”

Voth started strong in his second outing of the season in the majors, throwing three scoreless innings on 40 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but he gave up back-to-back-to-back, one-out singles in the bottom of the fourth, and a bases-loaded, two-out walk that forced in the Tigers’ first run of the game, 3-1.

A leadoff single by Harold Castro and a one-out double by Nick Castellanos in the bottom of the fifth ended Voth’s outing, with runners on second and third, and both runners scored on a Miguel Cabrera single off Javy Guerra, 3-3.

Austin Voth’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 78 P, 47 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

Voth got his fastball up to 94-95, but averaged 92.6 MPH according to, and he didn’t have the same swing-and-miss stuff he did against Atlanta in Detroit.

What went wrong?

“Did not have my best stuff,” Voth acknowledged, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“Fastball, glove side, wasn’t there, it was just a tick off. Same with arm side. Felt like I was missing off by a little bit. Definitely felt like I battled with the stuff that I had.”

“Fastball location,” Martinez said succinctly after what ended up a 7-5 loss, when asked what was behind Voth’s trouble.

“Again, his breaking pitches were just outside the zone, they weren’t swinging at them. He went out there and he competed, he just didn’t have his command today.”