While Davey Martinez lamented the fact his club didn’t come up with a big hit when they had the opportunities in a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies this past Saturday, the fifth-year skipper in D.C. did point to the performance by 23-year-old starter Joan Adon as a positive after the game in Nationals Park.
“What I’m really excited about is Adon pitched really well,” Martinez said.
“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.”
After six innings on the mound in which only two unearned runs scored, Adon had a 6.08 ERA, a 6.09 FIP, 29 walks (5.51 BB/9), 38 Ks (7.23 K/9), and .267/.381/.433 line against in 10 starts and 47 1⁄3 IP on the season.
“He’s starting to really understand the importance of getting ahead and throwing strikes,” Martinez said, “… and we talked before the game about his changeups. He didn’t throw many but he threw seven, 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.”
Adon gave up a one-out single and a walk in front of Joey Votto in the bottom of the first in the series opener with the Cincinnati Reds in Great American Ball Park last night, and Votto hit a three-run blast off the rookie starter, taking a 97 MPH 2-2 fastball up and in out to right for his 3rd home run of 2022.
The Nationals’ starter gave up four hits, and two walks, over the next four-plus innings, but stranded all the Reds who reached base after the first, holding the home team to the three runs on four hits in 5 1⁄3 innings in which he threw a season-high 98 pitches.
Joan Adon’s Line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 98 P, 54 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Adon generated just five swinging strikes on the night, four with his fastball and one with his curveball, though he recorded 14 called strikes with his four-seamer and one with the curve, and he threw five changeups in the outing, trying to work it into the mix as he was instructed.
“He settled in,” Martinez said after the 8-1 loss to the Reds. “After the first inning. He’s facing a future Hall of Famer there [in Votto], you know, and just left the ball out over the plate a little bit, and he had a growth moment where we let him face him again and he made the pitch he needed to make and got him to ground out, and that’s good, that’s good for Adon.”
Votto walked the second time up against Adon, loading the bases with one out in the third, before the rookie got an inning-ending 6-4-3 out of Reds’ shortstop Kyle Farmer.
With two on and two out in the fifth, and Adon approaching 90 pitches, Martinez left him in to face Votto a third time, and he got a groundout to first for out No. 3. And he came out for the sixth as well, at 90 pitches, and gave up a single and an out before he was lifted.
“He’s maturing, he’s learning,”Martinez continued.
“I wanted to see him get through that [fifth] inning, see what he does, and he did it, and like I said, he kept us in the ballgame, he gave up three runs, but he kept us in the game.”
His thinking in then sending Adon back out for the sixth, and allowing him to go all the way up to 98 pitches, a season-high.
“I wanted him to learn that hey, the game is not over after the fifth inning,” Martinez said.
“Some of these guys have to get stretched out a little bit. We got to get them going, try to get them into the sixth inning, and that was part of it. Just let him go out there, and like I said, let him understand what it is to go out there and try bear down and get a couple more outs for us. But other than that, I think he did really well.”