Wil Crowe, 25, made his MLB debut last month, giving up six hits and four runs, two earned, in 3 2⁄3 innings of work against the Miami Marlins in the nation’s capital. Coming out his first start for the team that selected him in the 2nd Round in 2017 Draft, Crowe said he felt better as he went along in the outing. His goal going in?
“Just compete,” Crowe said. “Give us a chance to win. You know, that’s my job — is to throw strikes and give us a chance to win.
“Early I felt like I didn’t do the greatest of jobs, but I was able to make some good pitches late in counts and get guys out. Once I settled in I feel like in the third and the fourth, I only really think I made one bad pitch in the zone, and the guy hit it out. It’s the big leagues, that’s what they’re paid to do. I felt all in all it was a decent outing and I’m ready for the next one.”
Crowe’s second big league outing began with a strikeout of Ronald Acuña, Jr. who homered twice in the first game of the twin bill, but a two-out walk to Freddie Freeman and an RBI double by Marcell Ozuna tied things up at 1-1 after the Nationals jumped out to a lead in the top of the inning.
Austin Riley and Acuña, Jr. (again) hit solo home runs off Crowe in the bottom of the second to put the Braves on top, 3-2, after the Nationals scored one in the top of the inning.
Given a 7-3 lead to work with, Crowe came out for the bottom of the third inning, and gave up a leadoff double by Freddie Freeman and walks to Travis d’Arnaud and Nick Markakis to load them up before his manager went to the bullpen...
Wil Crowe’s Line: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 68 P, 33 S, 1/0 GO/FO.
Kyle Finnegan took over with the bases loaded, any got an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam he inherited, sparing Crowe of any additional runs on his line for the night.
Going into the outing, Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked what he wanted to see from Crowe in the righty’s second big league start.
“He threw the ball last time fairly well,” Martinez said. “I want to see if he can repeat that, and see how he acts today. He’s facing a tough lineup in Atlanta, so it will be interesting to see how he goes out there and see how poised he is.”
Coming out of the start?
“Wil came in and he was amped up, he wanted the ball,” the manager said. “I thought he threw the ball okay. 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. And same thing with him, he’s got a good changeup and good slider, and just know when to use it, but I thought he did really well.”
Crowe said afterwards that he’s focused on throwing first pitch strikes going forward if he gets another opportunity, and he agreed with his manager’s take on where he’s missing in the middle of the plate.
“First pitch strikes for me is big,” Crowe told reporters. “So this last week I was trying to just throw all my pitches, and make quality pitches, like Davey said, when I miss I miss in the middle and that’s a scary place to be when you’re facing some of the best hitters in the world. So just trying to throw quality strike one pitches, and the staying in the zone.
“I think today, I got kind of out of my mechanics a little bit. And I could feel it. I’m so close, I’m really close to being there, it’s just a thing here, a thing there, I make a good pitch and then I make three bad ones, so it’s just staying consistent in my mechanics and throwing that quality first pitch strike.”