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Washington Nationals’ Joan Adon takes a step in right direction vs Colorado Rockies

He’s still a work in progress, but Joan Adon has shown just how talented he is early in his career...

MLB: Game Two-Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Joan Adon struggled in his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up a total of seven hits, four walks, and six earned runs in 4 23 innings which left him with a 6.97 ERA, 5.34 FIP, 27 walks, 35 strikeouts, and a .270/.388/.460 line against in nine starts and 41 13 IP to that point this season.

“It’s a great lineup to face, and as the game progressed, it was hard a bit. I think it’s more of being consistent and trying to locate my pitches much better,” Adon explained to reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, when asked about his issues on the mound in what ended up a 10-1 loss.

The 23-year-old rookie ran into trouble late in the outing, retiring two batters on three and then four pitches, respectively, in the fourth and fifth innings, before two-out walks in each frame led to rallies by the Dodgers, who drove both of the free passes in.

“Those are the things that he needs to get better at because his stuff was good,” manager Davey Martinez said after the game.

“I think it’s a little bit of a focus thing, where he thought he got two quick outs and he can ease up. You don’t ease up. You want to get that third out as soon as you can.”

The focus going into Saturday night’s game against the Colorado Rockies, Martinez said, was on pounding the zone.

“He has to attack the strike zone, and he’s got to get ahead of hitters,” the manager told reporters.

“When he does that he’s really good. And he’s another one where the walks really hurt him, so he’s got to really pound the strike zone, get ahead with his fastball, and then use his secondary pitches when he’s ahead. That will be the plan with him, just be aggressive in the strike zone, get ahead and work ahead.”

Errors hurt Adon early in the game, with Rockies’ catcher Brian Serven reaching on an error at third base by Maikel Franco, before scoring on an RBI hit by Yonathan Daza in the next at-bat.

Victor Robles committed a throwing error trying for Serven at home, which allowed Daza to advance to second, before he scored on a Charlie Blackmon single that put Colorado up, 2-1.

Adon held it there through six, working into and out of trouble on a couple occasions, and ending his outing with three straight outs, on a bunt and back-to-back Ks (one swinging at high heat and one looking at a fastball) after he gave up back-to-back singles in the first at-bats of the frame. He was understandably excited as he came off the mound following the final strikeout, pounding his glove repeatedly and pumping his first once as he returned to the dugout.

Joan Adon’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 89 P, 62 S, 10/5 GO/FO.

Screencap via Baseballsavant.com

“It’s one of those things you don’t control. It’s just emotions take over,” Adon said of his real emotional reaction, via translator Octavio Martinez, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“It just happens. It’s something you don’t have control over.”

While he generated just four swinging strikes, two with his fastball and one each with his curveball and changeup, Adon collected 18 called strikes on the night, 13 with his heater, which sat at 95.3 and got up to 97.2, three with his curve, and two with his sinker.

While lamenting the fact that his offense didn’t produce much in what ended up a 3-2 loss, Martinez said he was happy with what he saw from Adon.

“What I’m really excited about is Adon pitched really well. Threw strikes, first-pitch strikes, high-leverage situations he was able to control himself and get through it, so I’m really proud that he went out and battled like he did today, and I think it was a very good step for him moving forward,” Martinez said.

“He’s starting to really understand the importance of getting ahead and throwing strikes, and we talked before the game about his changeups. He didn’t throw many but he threw [six], more than he has been, threw his curveball some. But I thought he had a great outing for us. If he can give us six innings like that he’s going to win a lot of games and we’re going to win a lot of games.”

The fifth-year manager did acknowledge his frustration with the errors which led to the only runs scoring while Adon was on the mound.

“That was the difference,” he said. “We gave up a couple runs right there, we could have been out of the inning with no runs, and we lose the game 3-2.”