Josh Rogers came out of the gate strong with 5 1⁄3 innings against the Braves in Atlanta over which the 27-year-old lefty gave up just two hits, two walks, and one run, but things did not go as well for the Washington Nationals’ starter in his second outing of the season, in which he went just 4 1⁄3 innings in Pittsburgh, giving up six hits, two walks, and three earned runs.
“I thought he struggled earlier,” manager Davey Martinez said after a 6-4 loss to the Pirates in PNC Park.
“I thought he gave us what he had there, he had a little bit of ankle issue, so we thought that was good enough.”
“He was opening up earlier in the game,” Martinez added, “... he started opening up, but he finally gathered himself and got himself together and started pitching better.”
Rogers was more critical in his own assessment of his outing against the Bucs.
“Not very good,” he said. “Behind in counts from the get-go out there, it was just really unfortunate.
“Had a good bullpen to warm up and felt awesome going into the game, and sometimes that’s just how it goes.”
He did what he could to keep things close, however, and give the team what he could on a day he didn’t have it.
“Really competed and grinded there those first two innings,” Rogers explained, “and just was pulling off of everything and just behind in the count. It’s tough to pitch at this level when you’re behind in the count. And to grind out — to get into the fifth was good, but wasn’t my best today.”
In start No. 3 of the 2022 campaign on Thursday afternoon in D.C. Rogers got one out into the fifth once again, giving up six hits (three of them HRs, two solo shots and a 2-run blast) and four runs total over 4 1⁄3 IP, throwing 71 pitches, 46 for strikes, walking one, with two Ks in what ended up a 4-3 loss fo the Nationals.
“He did okay, I thought his slider was a little flat today,” Rogers’ manager said in his post-game press conference last night. “The home runs, obviously, burnt him today, but I thought he threw the ball fine. I mean, look, he’s going to go out there and compete, and he’s going to get hit, but just the slider today was not sharp, and he threw two sliders right in the middle of the plate and both got hit for home runs. The other one was a fastball, he tried to get in and it just leaked over the plate. But like I said, he’s going to keep us in the game and I thought he did that today.”
Rogers was once again critical, and honest, about his stuff and the results.
“Just not really good pitches,” he said of the sliders and fastball that got hit out of the yard.
“I get two outs there in the first, give up a homer,” Rogers continued, “go out there for the second, two outs in the second, give up a homer, on bad breaking balls, just two bad pitches, and then I felt like the homer there in the fifth was probably the best pitch out of all of them, it is what it is. Wasn’t good today.”
Though the results weren’t what he wanted, Rogers said he felt good on the mound in the nation’s capital.
“I felt great, I felt like my fastball command was good, slider was just kind of hanging out there today, i wasn’t really finishing the pitch, just wasn’t my best today.”
With Aníbal Sánchez, whose spot Rogers is pitching in since the veteran landed on the IL after making the Opening Day roster while Rogers went to Triple-A, still rehabbing from a neck issue, the southpaw will take the ball again in five days.