clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wil Crowe searching after struggling to throw strikes in Nationals’ loss to Marlins on Friday...

Wil Crowe’s outing on Friday got lost in a lot of baseball, but we took a look back...

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins - Game Two Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Wil Crowe made his MLB debut against the Miami Marlins back on August 22nd in D.C., giving up six hits (one homer), four walks, and four runs, (two earned), in 3 23 innings pitched, and he got called up again for a September 4th outing against the Braves on the road in Atlanta’s Truist Park, going just 2 13 innings, in which he gave up four hits (two home runs), four walks, and three runs total (all earned) in what ended up being a 10-9 win.

“Wil came in and he was amped up. He wanted the ball,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ 26-year-old, 2016 2nd Round pick out of the University of South Carolina went up against the Braves.

“I thought he threw the ball okay,” Martinez said. “I mean, when he misses he usually misses down the middle, so we’ve got to get him to live on the outer thirds of the plate.

“He’s got a good changeup and good slider, and just know when to use it, but I thought he did really well.”

“I think I didn’t do my job as efficiently or as good as I wanted to,” Crowe said after the Nats’ win in Atlanta, “but at the end of the day, you put a ‘W’ in the win column, put one in the win column, and that’s all that matters.”

Crowe gave up his fourth and fifth home runs in three outings to the leadoff hitters in each of the first two innings on Friday night in Miami, where he took on the Fish for the second time in his third big league start.

Corey Dickerson hit a 3-2 fastball out to right-center in the bottom of the first, and Brian Anderson hit a 1-2 sinker out to left in the home-half of the second.

It was 2-2 in the third when Crowe gave up back-to-back, one-out singles, then back-to-back walks, with the second forcing in the go-ahead run, 3-2 Marlins, and ending his outing.

Wil Crowe’s Line: 2.1 IP, 4H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 62 P, 29 S, 2/0 GO/FO.

Crowe’s struggles throwing strikes were what stuck out for manager Davey Martinez when he talked about the righty’s outing after what ended up a 14-3 loss.

While he has an average of 3.10 BB/9 in his minor league career, Crowe has walked eight batters in 8 13 IP so far in the majors (8.64 BB/9).

“Here’s a guy that was known in the minor leagues to throw strikes,” Martinez said. “I think — you get a young guy up here sometimes and they try to miss bats.

“That’s really not who he is. He pounds the strike zone and keeps the ball down, elevates when he needs to, has a good changeup.

“When you fall behind and you’re behind hitters, we talk about it all the time, these guys are good. And when you have to throw a strike, good hitters don’t miss.

“And that’s what happened tonight, he fell behind, he started walking guys, and he can’t pitch like that up here.”

“I’m just — I get into a habit of getting too quick I feel like, you know,” Crowe said when he spoke with reporters on a Zoom call after facing the Fish.

“And then I do it in the wind-up and in the stretch and I’ve been working on it for the last two weeks. You saw it in Atlanta and it was really bad, and then the last 10 days I’ve been really hammering it. Three bullpens, every day I’m working flat ground, so I’m feeling really good, and then like in the second, you could see, I felt like I got in a good groove and then it kind of spiraled on me, but it’s something I’m working on, and I’m almost there. I can feel it about to click, it’s just one of those things, when it happens, it happens quick, and when you’re trying to get these guys out, it’s hard when you’re searching for things out there.”

As his manager mentioned, Crowe has a reputation as a strike thrower coming up, and having to adjust to what’s going on up here has been a challenge.

“This hasn’t been an issue for me,” Crowe said.

“I pound the zone, I go after guys, and it’s nothing that I feel, it’s just happening, and like I said, it’s something I’m working on, I’m not used to it, so usually I can just go out there and compete, and I’m trying to compete and I don’t have everything in sync right now.

“It’s made it a little tough on me.”

“It’s a learning curve, it really is,” Martinez said of the adjustment to the big league level.

“Sometimes you’ve got to take a beating up here but you’ve got to — the ones that learn and process everything, they come back and they figure it out and they get better from it. So, I expect that from Wil, I really do.

“He’s been successful in the minor leagues. I think right now my main focus with him and I’ll talk to him tomorrow about it, is getting ahead of the hitters, throwing strike one, try not to miss bats.

“I said, ‘You can pitch here, but you can’t pitch behind. It’s hard to do it. And you can’t give free bases out to guys. The walks are going to hurt you. So, he’ll learn that.

“He understands, and we’ll have a conversation tomorrow and we’re just going to continue to try to get him better.”