Patrick Murphy DFA’d:
Davey Martinez was excited to see what Aaron Sanchez could do when the club called him up to make his 2022 debut against the San Francisco Giants yesterday in Washington, D.C., after the veteran starter signed in mid-March and went out to Triple-A Rochester to start the season.
The unfortunate part, the fifth-year manager said, was that in order to make room on their 40-man roster to add Sanchez, the Nationals had to clear a spot, which they did when the decision was made to DFA reliever Patrick Murphy, after they’d selected the hard-throwing right-hander off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays last August.
“[Sanchez has] been throwing the ball well,” Martinez said.
“We thought it was time he comes up here. We needed a starter, so he’ll get an opportunity to start for us today.
“The tough part of that it we had to DFA Patrick [Murphy], so that’s always tough.”
Murphy, 26, gave up eight hits, eight walks, and six runs, four earned in 5 2⁄3 IP early this season, with that 12.71 BB/9 an eye-popping sign that his command was not where they needed it to be.
“It was just consistent strikes,” Martinez said when asked what hampered Murphy in his time with the club, and he said he hopes that the pitcher remains in the organization if there isn’t another team out there willing to take a chance on the reliever.
“After looking at all the options we felt that was the right move to make for us right now. It’s a tough decision, always a tough decision, but I talked to Patrick for a little bit, and wished him well, and we’ll see what happens.
“For selfish reasons I’d love to get him back, but we also want him to succeed, and if he gets claimed, I wish him all the best.”
Patrick Corbin Frustrated:
Patrick Corbin, in a rare display of emotion for the normally stoic starter, told reporters after he struggled again on the mound in Friday’s series opener with San Francisco, he was really frustrated with himself at this point.
“I’m pissed. I’m upset,” Corbin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, after he gave up seven hits, three walks, and seven earned runs in just 1 2⁄3 IP against the Giants, leaving him with an 11.20 ERA, a 4.43 FIP, 11 walks, 15 Ks, and a brutal .381/.480/.524 line against in 13 2⁄3 IP over four starts early this season.
“I’m trying to do everything I can to get better. I’m really just still searching a little bit. But I’ll come in tomorrow, like I do every day, and try to get better.”
Martinez was clear after Friday’s game that the team would continue to run Corbin out there and work to get him right, after two-plus seasons of struggles for the 32-year-old lefty, in his fourth season in D.C. after signing a 6-year/$140M contract in 2018-19. How will the club try to build his confidence back up and get him on the right track?
“One, we need to get him back to being who he is,” Martinez said on Saturday morning, “... and that’s a confident Corbin. Sometimes you lose confidence a little bit, but I haven’t lost any confidence on him. He was and still is a very good pitcher, we just got to make him feel that way in that when things start going a little awry out there, he’s just got to focus on getting to the next pitch, and worry about getting that hitter out, and not focusing on giving up any runs, and just focus on just getting outs, and that’s something that we talked a lot last night about, and look, like I said, and like I told you guys, he’s going to start every five days.”
Martinez isn’t one to give up on his players, and he’s not convinced Corbin is done helping the club.
“He’s one of our guys,” the manager said, “so he’s going to get the opportunity every five days to go out there and pitch, and I really believe that he’s going to do well. Like I said, we’ve seen signs of it, not yesterday, but the previous outing, he pitched five strong and then all of a sudden something happened and he lost the strike zone, so we got to get him consistent, try to get him deeper in games, because I know he can do it.”
Unwritten Rules Update:
The PDQ backstory: The Nationals didn’t like the Giants’ Thairo Estrada running on a pitch to Brandon Crawford with a 7-1 lead in the ninth on Friday, and after he ended up going around third and he was thrown out at the plate, several Nats, including Alcides Escobar and Victor Robles had a few words for the visiting team in the nation’s capital.
That carried over into some indirect back-and-forth in post game interviews on each side.
“Just, they did some things that we felt like was uncalled for,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said, “but you guys can ask [Giants’ manager] Gabe Kapler about that.”
Martinez declined to elaborate on his feelings about the propriety of the Giants’ decision-making.
“No. I mean, I’m done with it. I talked to the team about it, we’re going to play baseball the way we play,” he said.
So will the Giants, Kapler said.
“It’s definitely not about running up the score,” Kapler explained, as quoted by Maria Guardado of MLB.com.
“We felt like we’re respecting our opponents, and we’re going to respect our opponents at every turn. This is about using every tool at our disposal to compete.”
“We scored seven runs in an inning tonight,” Kapler explained.
“They have Josh Bell and Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in the middle of their lineup. We know they’re capable of scoring seven runs in an inning as well.
That, of course, wasn’t the end of that. Martinez was asked before the second of three in D.C. on Saturday, if his perspective on the events changed with time to consider what he saw.
“No,” he said. “I view the game — not everybody views the game the same way, I’ll just say that, and for me today it’s just about going out there and going 1-0 today. I’m not going to let that deter what we’re trying to do here. I’m more focused on the Washington Nationals and our players, and I want them to understand that, and I talked to a lot of them this morning already about it, let’s just go out and play good baseball, and let’s focus on what we need to do to win and win a game today.”
But, still. That part about it not being about running up the score...
“We won’t try to run up the score, let’s just say that,” Martinez said when asked for his take on the unwritten rules regarding such things. “Alright? I don’t really believe in that, but it’s not a rule and we all understand that, but the guys that played the game long enough, and I know their veteran players over there very well, respect them a lot, you might want to ask them what they think about it. So, I’ve been doing this for a very long time, but like I said, the game’s changed, so obviously they view things differently.”