In his first start back in the majors since 2015, Sean Nolin gave up eight hits, one a home run, and four runs total in three innings on the mound in Citi Field, back on August 12th.
Nolin followed up on that outing with a four-inning start on the road in Milwaukee which saw him give up six hits, three walks, and three earned runs.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was asked earlier this week if he planned to stick with Nolin in the rotation over the last month-plus this season, with a clear need, and no pitchers in their system really knocking at the door with rosters set to expand.
“It’s probably going to be — it will be start-to-start,” he explained, “... but I wanted to give him another opportunity after five days of pitching to get him back out there. So we’ll see how it goes next start.”
Nolin said after his outing against the Brewers that it was difficult to go 10 days between his first two starts as he did.
“Obviously, I guess the last two were a little bit tough, day games, 10 or so days,” he said, “... but I feel like I was able to put in my work throughout the week and a half to prepare myself for today, felt fresh, so I was not happy with the result, but as long as I was able to keep the team in the game I think that was the biggest part of it.”
His start last night, as Martinez said earlier in the week, was coming on five days’ rest, so the manager was interested to see what the 34-year-old left-hander did with it.
“Yeah, I’m curious to see. I know in [Triple-A] Rochester he was every five days,” Martinez said in his pregame Zoom call from New York.
“So I wanted to give him an opportunity to go out there again today, but he understands, for him, the most important thing is attacking the strike zone, getting early strikes, utilizing all his pitches. He’s another guy, as you saw last night with [Paolo] Espino, he’s got to make all his pitches count, and we talked to him about that, he’s got to use all four quadrants and attack the strike zone, when he falls behind he gets hit, so he’s got to work ahead.”
Nolin retired the first six batters he faced in Citi Field last night, but gave up a solo homer on a 2-1 changeup up in the zone to the seventh Mets’ batter to step up, Kevin Pillar, who sent his 11th of the season over the left field fence.
Pillar got the left-hander again, on a 1-2 fastball this time, for a one-out solo shot in the Mets’ half of the fifth, tying the game up at 2-2 with his 12th of 2021.
A one-out single in the sixth ended Nolin’s outing, and reliever Patrick Murphy stranded the runner he inherited, but Mason Thompson gave up a three-run blast in the seventh that was the difference in a 5-3 loss.
Sean Nolin’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 71 P, 51 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
“He threw the ball well,” Martinez said of Nolin’s outing after the game. “We talked earlier today about utilizing all his pitches, he threw some good changeups, some really good changeups, some breaking balls, a real slow eephus a couple times, and utilized his fastball when he needed to. I thought he threw the ball a lot better than I saw in his last outing.”
“I would say overall pretty good,” Nolin said, when asked to assess his own start.
“Command of most pitches was pretty good. Changeup was working for the most part, except for Pillar’s homer.
“I felt like I was economical with pitches, like 70-something through the game. So, overall pretty good.”
In the end it was two pitches that he didn’t locate where he wanted to put them.
“The changeup the first at bat was definitely not supposed to be there, I was trying to throw it just like the other ones, kind of down and away just low and it just popped out of my hand and kind of just spun there, and if you make a mistake that’s kind of what good hitters do, hit mistakes, and then the fastball that he hit the home run, didn’t get up or in enough, so...”