Daniel Hudson retired 21 of 22 inherited runners with the Toronto Blue Jays before the Washington Nationals acquired the veteran right-hander at the Trade Deadline and he entered his first game with the Nats with the bases loaded and two out and picked up strikeout No. 49 from 208 batters faced, stranding all three baserunners.
Though the Nationals were behind by seven runs at that point, Davey Martinez said he saw it as a good opportunity to get the reliever out there for the first time as a National.
“Daniel came in and did exactly what — I just wanted to get him in the game. New team and everything, just get him out there and get his feet wet and he was really good.”
In Sunday’s series finale with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Hudson inherited two runners from Nats’ starter Patrick Corbin and stranded them both with a strikeout and grounder getting him out of the jam.
On the season, Hudson’s now up to 26 of 27 inherited runners stranded, or a 3.7% IRS% (Inherited Runners Scored Percentage).
“He’s very poised,” Martinez said when asked about the 10-year veteran’s ability to succeed in high-leverage spots, “but he comes in and he throws strikes and he makes good pitches.
“That’s what it’s all about. He’s very consistent on staying around the strike zone.”
Hunter Strickland, one of the other three relievers GM Mike Rizzo brought in at the Trade Deadline, returned from a few months on the the Injured List with a lat strain to make an appearance with the Seattle Mariners three days before the deadline, and he’s made two appearances since, retiring six of the seven batters he faced, and stranding the one walk that he allowed since joining the Nationals.
Strickland averaged 96.7 MPH on his fastball, hitting 98, and mixed in his slider in a 10-pitch, eight-strike appearance on Friday.
“He was really good,” Martinez said. “Slider was a lot crispier than I could remember, but his fastball was electric, it really was.”
Hudson handled the sixth on Sunday and Strickland threw a scoreless eighth to keep it a two-run game.
“Him and Daniel, Daniel came in in a big moment, got two big outs for us, they’re both doing well,” Martinez said.
Unfortunately, the third reliever Rizzo gave Martinez to work with at the deadline didn’t make it out of his first game with the team.
Roenis Elías recorded two outs after taking over for starter Joe Ross on Friday night, but he hit for himself with a left-hander due up first for the D-backs the next inning, and he injured his hamstring running out a ground ball, after Martinez told him he didn’t want him to swing in the at bat.
“It’s unfortunate,” Rizzo said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, before the decision was made to place Elías on the 10-Day IL with what was described in a press release as a right hamstring strain.
“It’s hard to keep competitors from competing,” the GM added.
“A lot of times instincts take over. And unfortunately, he felt something. We’ll see where that takes us. But before that, I really liked what I saw.”
“It’s nice to have those guys who actually pitched in the back end of the bullpen, closed games, so we can do different things,” Martinez said over the weekend.
The Nationals’ relief corps still has the highest ERA in the National League (6.11), the third-highest FIP (4.86), highest BAA (.268), the highest BABIP (.323), third-highest BB/9 (4.21), highest WHIP (1.54), and the lowest LOB% (64.9%). Where will they stand at the end of the 2019 campaign?