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Washington Nationals shut Arizona Diamondbacks out in series opener, 3-0

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Just don’t ask/read what happened to Roenis Elías and you can enjoy the Nationals’ 3-0 win over the Diamondbacks in the series opener in Chase Field.

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Joe Ross took a no-hit bid into the fifth tonight in Chase Field, though he’d walked five total over four scoreless innings in Arizona, and he did end up giving up an infield single by the opposing pitcher, Alex Young, for the only hit he allowed in 5 13 IP in what ended up a 3-0 win for Washington’s Nationals.

Ross vs the D-backs: Joe Ross has had a rough 2019 campaign to this point, with a 9.85 ERA, a 5.89 FIP, 13 walks, 25 Ks, and a .361/.444/.593 line against in 19 games (one start), and 24 23 IP.

In his one start, the 26-year-old right-hander gave up eight hits, two walks, and three runs in 5 13 IP, over which he threw 98 pitches, and he struggled when the Nats tried an opener last week with Ross coming on in the third.

He gave up nine hits, two walks, and seven runs, six of them earned, in that outing against the LA Dodgers, throwing 86 pitches in 4 23 IP.

Ross got another opportunity to start in the series opener in Arizona tonight, and he didn’t have his command early, walking five of the first eleven batters he faced, though he got an inning-ending 5-4-3 DP after back-to-back, one-out walks in the second, and stranded both the runners he walked with one out in the third (with a nice play on a weak grounder for the third out of the frame).

After retiring the D-backs in order in the fourth, Ross was up to 70 pitches total, with five walks, but no hits allowed.

The opposing pitcher, Alex Young, reached on an infield single for the D-backs first hit off the Nationals’ starter in the fifth, but Ross completed another scoreless frame and came back out in the sixth, (with a 2-0 lead courtesy of a two-out, two-run double by Matt Adams), and recorded one out before Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went to the bulllpen...

Joe Ross’s Line: 5.1 IP, 1 H 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 87 P, 48 S, 8/3 GO/FO.

Young vs the Nats: Alex Young, 25, and a 2015 2nd Round pick by the D-backs, made his MLB debut back on June 27th in San Francisco, and in six games (five starts) before facing the Nationals tonight in the series opener in Arizona, the left-hander was (4-0) with a 2.51 ERA, seven walks, 20 Ks, and a .172/.234/.333 line against in 28 23 IP.

Young was coming off a six-inning outing on the road in Miami in which he gave up eight hits and two runs in a 9-2 win over the Marlins.

The soft-tossing southpaw, whose repertoire features a sinker (89.2 MPH), four-seamer (89.9 MPH), slider (84.9), changeup (84.5), and curve (81.3), none of which opposing hitters hit all that hard in his first six appearances, got off to a strong start, working around a hit and two walks, and striking out six of 15 batters he faced in four scoreless frames.

Young worked around a HBP on Victor Robles for a scoreless fifth, but Adam Eaton doubled to start the sixth, and two outs later the D-backs decided to walk Brian Dozier to get to Matt Adams (0 for 2, 2 Ks the first two times up), and the Diamondbacks’ starter left a first-pitch cutter up that Adams lined to right for a two-run double and a 2-0 lead.

Alex Young’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 89 P, 58 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

Another Southpaw: Going into tonight’s game, the Nationals, as a team, had a combined .278/.355/.468 line against left-handers this season, which had them 2nd/1st/2nd among National League teams, with their OBP vs lefties the best in the National League and 2nd-best in the majors, behind only the Houston Astros (.369 OBP).

So, of course, Alex Young held them to one hit (a leadoff single by Trea Turner in the first), and two walks, through four scoreless.

Part of the Nationals’ success against lefties has been how well their own left-handed hitters have done against southpaws, and it was Adam Eaton (.276/.350/.381 vs lefties in 2019) and Matt Adams (.289/.308/.658) who came up with the two big hits to get the Nationals’ on the board in Arizona, with Eaton doubling to start the sixth inning, then scoring on Adams’ 10th two-base hit of the season two outs later.

Soto is Streaking: Juan Soto started the series opener in Arizona with a six-game RBI streak going, with eight RBIs in those six games. That was three games short of the franchise mark of nine straight games with at least one RBI set by Ryan Zimmerman between September 3-12, 2012. Soto took D-backs’ righty Stefan Crichton deep to right in the eighth to extend his streak, with his fourth home run in the last five games (and 9th RBI).

BULLPEN: Roenis Elías made his Nationals debut with one out in the bottom of the sixth, taking over for Joe Ross and retiring two batters on seven pitches to keep it a 2-0 game.

Elías stayed in to hit after getting two outs, grounded out to second base in the top of the seventh, and pulled up on the way to first base clutching the back of his right hamstring...

Stefan Crichton tossed a scoreless seventh for the D-backs after taking over for Alex Young.

Hunter Strickland came on in the bottom of the seventh inning, and retired the side in order, striking out two in a 10-pitch frame.

Crichton came back out for the top of the eighth, and gave up Juan Soto’s 21st of 2019 on a 2-2 sinker that cleared the right field fence, 3-0 Nationals.

Fernando Rodney needed 13 pitches in a 1-2-3 eighth, though he gave up a couple hard-hit balls.

Former Nationals’ reliever-for-a-minute Greg Holland tossed a scoreless ninth to keep it a 3-0 game.

Sean Doolittle came on for the save opportunity — (via the D-backs’ bullpen cart) — in the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order to end it. Ballgame.

Nationals now 58-51