Starlin Castro put together a 4 for 5 day at the plate this afternoon in the fourth of four with the Toronto Blue Jays in D.C. Kurt Suzuki doubled to drive in two runs in the third, Michael A. Taylor hit a two-run blast in the fourth, and Asdrúbal Cabrera hit an RBI double in the fifth to put the Washington Nationals up 5-2 in what ended up a 6-4 win that earned the club a split of their four-game game set with the Jays.
We’re not sure we like it, but we’re calling this a sweep. A two-game road sweep of a four-game set with the final two games at your own home as the “visiting” team. 2020, amirite?
Fedde vs the Jays: Erick Fedde made the Opening Day roster as a reliever, but quickly got called upon to start when Stephen Strasburg couldn’t go in last Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees.
Fedde gave up four hits and two runs, one earned, in a four-inning, 68-pitch outing in the Nationals’ 9-2 win that night.
Start No. 2? Fedde gave up a leadoff double on the second pitch he threw, with Bo Bichette lining the two-base hit to right, and Bichette moved up on a groundout, and scored on a pop fly to short left by Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. that fell in for a hit, 1-0.
Fedde tossed two scoreless after giving up the early run, working around a single in the bottom of the third after the Nationals took a 2-1 lead.
It was 4-1 when Fedde came out for the fourth, with the three-run lead courtesy of a two-run blast by Michael A. Taylor. Teoscar Hernández made it a two-run game with a solo shot on a first-pitch sinker that bounced off the bars above the center field fence for a home run that had to be reviewed before it was called correctly, 4-2. A single and a walk followed and that was it for the right-hander’s outing...
Erick Fedde’s Line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HR, 57 P, 31 S, 6/1 GO/FO.
Ryu vs the Nationals: Hyun-Jin Ryu faced the Nationals twice in the regular season in 2019, giving up nine hits and one run in 14 2⁄3 IP (0.61 ERA), over which he walked two and struck out 13.
Ryu went up against Davey Martinez’s club again in the NLDS last October, holding Nats’ hitters to two runs of four hits in a 10-4 win for the LA Dodgers in Game 3.
Now with the Blue Jays, Ryu, who signed a 4-year/$80M free agent deal with Toronto this winter, was lined up for today’s finale of the four-game set in D.C.
“Here’s a guy that’s always around the plate,” Martinez said when asked how his hitters will approach the southpaw.
Hyun-jin Ryu, Beautiful 67mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/XaL4g4BONQ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2020
“He’s a good pitcher. He throws all kinds of pitches, but he’s always around the plate. So, we’ve just got to be aggressive in the strike zone, but he’s really good, he knows when to elevate, he knows when to get the ball down, and we’ve got to get him in the strike zone, and we’ve got to really — for me I think the key thing is to kind of stay in the middle of the field against him, because he uses both sides of the plate very well.”
Kurt Suzuki got a pitch up in the zone in the third, after Ryu tossed two scoreless innings on 43 pitches, and Suzuki lined it into the right-center gap to drive in two an out after back-to-back singles Adam Eaton and Starlin Castro, both of whom scored on Suzuki’s second two-base hit of the season, 2-1.
Carter Kieboom singled to start the Nationals’ half of the fourth, and scored one out later when Michael A. Taylor hit a 1-2 changeup low in the zone out to center for a two-run shot and a 4-1 lead. Taylor’s second of 2020.
It was 4-2 in the fifth when Starlin Castro (3 for 3) doubled to left on a golf shot of a line drive. Asdrúbal Cabrera connected for an opposite field double in the next at bat, 5-2.
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 66 S, 2/3 GO/FO.
Josh Harrison Debuts: Josh Harrison’s deal with the Nationals became official on Monday, and after the veteran infielder/outfielder worked out with the team for a few days while he got his legs under him, Davey Martinez inserted him in the lineup as the club’s DH today.
“I wanted him to get going a little bit,” Martinez explained. “He had some time off. He’s been doing a lot of stuff, taking ground balls, fly balls.
“Today we got him — he’s going to DH today — he’s swinging the bat well in BP. So give him an opportunity to get some at bats today.”
Harrison went down swinging in a three-pitch at bat with Ryu in his first trip to the plate as a National, and sent a fly to left for an out the second time up, 0 for 2.
A fly to center in the fifth and a lineout to second in the eighth left Harrison 0 for 4 in his Nationals debut.
BULLPEN ACTION: Ryne Harper took over with two on and one out in the Blue Jays’ fourth, after a home run, single, and walk knocked Erick Fedde out, and stranded both runners he inherited to keep it a 4-2 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Harper came back out in the fifth and erased a one-out single with a 6-4-3 DP in a 10-pitch frame.
Ryne Harper, 76mph breaking ball...and Bichette's reaction at his swing. pic.twitter.com/lRT3eG8rVi— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 30, 2020
Thomas Hatch, who took over for Ryu in the fifth, came back out in the sixth and retired the Nationals in order.
Sam Freeman came on for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth inning, and gave up a leadoff single before recording two outs. Javy Guerra took over and recorded out No. 3.
Cavan Biggio homered on a 3-1 fastball from Guerra in the bottom of the seventh inning to make it 5-3.
Carter Kieboom, Victor Robles, and Eric Thames went back-to-back-to-back with one-out singles off Jays’ righty Wilmer Font in the top of the eighth.
Trea Turner followed with a sac fly to right off new pitcher Jacob Waguespack that brought in the Nationals’ sixth run, 6-3.
Tanner Rainey gave up a solo shot by Teoscar Hernández in the bottom of the eighth, on a no-doubter of a blast to left that made it a two-run game, 6-4 Nationals.
Waguespack tossed a scoreless top of the ninth for the Jays.
Daniel Hudson (with help from a leaping Victor Robles in center) wrapped things up with a scoreless ninth. Ballgame.
Final Score: 6-4 Nationals.
Nationals now 3-4