Austin Voth, who’s battling for the fifth spot in the Washington Nationals’ 2020 rotation this Spring, struck out back-to-back batters for the second and third outs of a quick, 10-pitch, 1-2-3 first yesterday in West Palm Beach, FL.
Voth, 27, worked around a hit batter for a second scoreless frame as well, throwing a total of 11 pitches to the four batters he faced, leaving him at 21 total on the day when he was done.
Davey Martinez told reporters last week that Voth, (who was included on the Nationals’ NLDS and NLCS rosters last October, though he didn’t actually pitch in the postseason, and was left off the roster in the World Series when he had an issue with shoulder tendinitis), looks good early in Spring Training.
“Voth looked really good,” Martinez said after watching early Spring bullpen sessions.
“He left last year with a sore shoulder, but he said he’s good to go, so we’ll see what transpires this Spring.”
Voth looked strong in his first outing, striking out three of the seven batters he faced in an efficient appearance in what ended up a 2-1 win in which he received no decision.
“I thought I was pretty efficient, getting ahead of hitters,” Voth said afterwards. “I was flying open on a couple of fastballs, but for the most part I thought I was pretty efficient.”
Efficiency, his manager said, is a big deal for Voth, who averaged just over five innings (and 84.5 pitches) in his eight starts for the Nationals last season.
“It’s definitely big,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “He’s come a long way. For me, it’s about getting early outs in counts. And getting out of that four-inning, 75-pitch mark. And I think he can do it. Because he throws strikes.
“With two strikes, finishing hitters. We told him this Spring that’s what we want him to focus on. And he did a good job.”
“For the first outing of Spring Training you want to go out there and just throw strikes and challenge the hitters and not kind of fall behind. And I thought for the most part I did that,” Voth said after the outing against the Houston Astros.
“Just getting ahead of hitters and always staying ahead, that’s something that I want to improve upon and kind of set the tone so I’m always ahead.”
Voth, a 2013 Nationals’ 5th Round pick, is out of options this season, so he knows he has to show the club he can contribute this Spring.
“It’s not necessarily like I see this as a last shot,” Voth said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty.
“But I’m 27, out of options, and at this point it’s really time to show the front office and coaches what you can do for them.”
His outing on Sunday, the righty said, was just another opportunity to show what he can do.
“Today was just another outing for me to show them what I have to offer. They’ve seen me before, and they know what I’m capable of, and I just need to go out there and show that.”
After talking this winter about working on improving his slider, he didn’t get to throw much other than his fastball and curve in his initial outing of the Spring.
“As my pitch count goes up I’ll be able to kind of open up all my pitches and everything.
“I just felt like today me and [catcher] Tres [Barrera] were just kind of fastball/curveball, working on those two pitches, since those are my main two pitches.
“Curveball is kind of my main out pitch and fastball is the one pitch that I love to throw.”