WASHINGTON – There were two veteran relievers very familiar with the Navy Yard neighborhood sitting in the Arizona bullpen when Erick Fedde threw the first pitch here on Wednesday night at Nationals Park.
Mark Melancon and Oliver Pérez, two former Washington pitchers, are now with the D-backs.
A right-hander, Melancon was acquired by the Nationals from the Pirates in a trade on July 30, 2016, and he notched 17 saves in 30 outings with an ERA of 1.82 the rest of the year with Washington. He signed a two-year contract with Arizona in December and his 245 saves through Tuesday were the fourth-most among active pitchers.
Pérez pitched in 114 games over two seasons with the Nationals in 2016-17 and had one save with a record of 2-3 and an ERA of 4.81.
Born in Mexico, Pérez will be 41 in August. He pitched in five games with Cleveland last year, also played in Mexico, then signed with Arizona on March 21.
He had appeared in 701 games in the majors through Tuesday. That is the second-most of any pitcher born in Mexico.
Washington starter Patrick Corbin used to pitch for Arizona and Henry Blanco, a long-time coach with the Nationals, played for the D-backs in 2011-12.
Nationals’ general manager Mike Rizzo was in the Arizona front office from 2000-06.
Nats’ hitting coach Darnell Coles was the hitting coach with the D-backs from 2018 to mid-2021.
It is the only trip to D.C. this season for Arizona, with the series concluding on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. with Josh Rogers (1-1, 3.72) getting the start for Washington against former Baltimore minor league pitcher Zach Davies, who is 0-1, 5.79. Another former Baltimore prospect with the D-backs is first baseman Christian Walker, who started here on Wednesday and began the night hitting .118 this year.
Davies was drafted out of an Arizona high school in 2011 by the Orioles.
Walker reached on an error by shortstop Alcides Escobar to lead off the second on Wednesday and eventually scored the first run as Arizona took a 1-0 lead against Fedde.
The run was unearned, while Fedde escaped further damage against the lower part of the D-backs’ lineup.
Walker had an RBI single to right in the top of the third to give the visitors a lead of 2-0.
WATSON ON HOUSE
De Jon Watson, the new director of player development for Washington, saw shortstop Brady House of Fredericksburg play for the first time this season on Tuesday in Kannapolis, North Carolina.
“The biggest thing for me is his calm demeanor,” Watson said of House before the game. “I like his offensive approach; he stays in the middle of the diamond and is looking for balls he can hammer and do damage with. At shortstop, his hands are getting better by the day. He is working tirelessly.”
In his first 10 games with Fredericksburg this year, House hit .381 and an OPS of 1.004. The FredNats lost 14-2 on Tuesday at Kannapolis.
The first minor league affiliate that Watson saw in person in 2022 was high Single-A Wilmington.
The Opening Day starting pitcher for the Blue Rocks was Mitchell Parker, a fifth-round pick in 2020 out of a junior college in Texas.
“He is making progress; he is commanding the breaking ball better,” Watson said of Parker, who had an ERA of 2.00 in his first nine innings over two outings this year through Tuesday.
Former Virginia Tech pitcher Zach Brzykcy began the season as the Blue Rocks’ closer.
“He has been throwing 94 to 97,” Watson said of the North Carolina native, who didn’t allow a run in his first three outings over three innings.
The Blue Rocks’ second baseman is Darren Baker, the son of former Washington manager Dusty Baker.
“Darren Baker looks really good at second base; he is running exceptionally,” Watson said of Baker, who hit .243 in his first nine games through Tuesday with the Blue Rocks.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY:
April 21 is a significant day in Washington baseball history on many fronts:
According to baseballreference.com, “Washington Senators catcher Moe Berg [set] an American League record by playing in his 117th consecutive game without an error.
“Berg, a backup catcher who plays sparingly for Washington, started the streak three seasons earlier.”
Berg was also a spy for the U.S. government, according to sources.
On April 21, 1951, Gil Coan of the Senators had two triples in the sixth inning against the Yankees at Griffith Stadium.
On April 21, 1957, according to baseballreference.com: “A power failure stops a major league game for the first time in history. The night game between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Senators at Griffith Stadium is halted after five innings.”
Alfonso Soriano, on April 21, 2006, at RFK Stadium, had three homers and drove in five as the Nationals beat John Smoltz and the Braves 7-3.