From 13 runs on 14 hits to shut out with just four hits. It was a much different game for the Nationals in the series finale with the Houston Astros in D.C. on Sunday, after the offense’s big game in Washington on Saturday night.
A lot of it had to do with the pitchers on the mound in the Astros’ 8-0 win yesterday.
Justin Verlander, who started the day in the nation’s capital with a 1.55 ERA, a 3.51 FIP, six walks, 36 strikeouts, and a .150/.192/.248 line against in six starts and 40 2⁄3 IP on the year, struggled early, giving up two walks in a long first, but he stranded both, and after allowing a pair of one-out singles in the fifth, he left both of those runners on too, and completed his fifth scoreless frame at 107 pitches overall.
“The big thing today,” manager Davey Martinez said after dropping 2 of 3 to the Astros this weekend, “we got four hits. On the other side, we could have got Verlander early, and after that he settled down.
“We got his pitch count up, but he was good. He made his pitches when he had to and he threw up zeroes. He was really good.”
And what did he see from his hitters overall, who managed just two hits off the Astros’ relief corps in four innings, after Verlander allowed just two.
“Like I said, look who we faced today,” Martinez reiterated.
“That’s what — we’ve been swinging the bat well, regardless of whether we score runs or not, we’ve been getting 5-6-7 hits a game, eight hits a game, today that guy was good.”
Aside from the results/hits, what does see that he likes from his lineup in the last stretch?
“One, accepting our walks, two is just hitting the ball,” Martinez said. “Now, like I said, we got to string together innings where we start knocking in some of those runs, but we lead the league in hitting, so that’s a plus, so now we just got to — we get guys on base, we got to stay away from the double plays, and we’re going to start knocking in some runs, consistently.”
Martinez’s club ended the night third in the majors with a .253 AVG as a team, and they’re ninth in OBP (.318), and 18th in SLG (.367).
Their .285/.326/.399 line with runners in scoring position on the year had them ranked at 3rd/18th/16th across the line amongst MLB’s 30 teams.
Tonight, they are back on the road, where their .301 AVG as a team is the major league’s best, while their .369 OBP ... is also the best, and their .428 SLG is second-best.