Josiah Gray vs Team That Drafted Him:
Josiah Gray struggled against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded him to Washington last July 30th, but the Nationals’ starter bounced back in his next turn in the rotation, allowing a run on three hits in five innings against the Colorado Rockies, after he gave up five hits and seven runs in three innings of work against LA.
“He’s progressing really well, and he’s matured a lot. For him, the training wheels are off,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters after a 6-5 win over the Rockies.
Gray told reporters following the outing against the Dodgers he let his emotions get the best of him going up against his former team, and said he looked forward to facing them again, as well as the Cincinnati Reds, who drafted him in the 2nd Round in 2018, only to trade him to Los Angeles later that year.
Going up against his first big league employer tonight in Great American Ball Park, Gray fell behind early, with Brandon Drury reaching on a throwing error by Luis García on a grounder to short, and scoring on a home run to center by Tommy Pham, who hit a middle-middle, 95 MPH fastball 405 feet to center, in and out of Victor Robles’s glove, and over the fence for a 2-run home run and a 2-0 Reds’ lead.
It was 2-1 in the home team’s favor when Gray retired the side in order and struck out two in a 12-pitch second, and it was 5-2 Nats when he worked around a leadoff single, in a 13-pitch third which left him at 42 total with a three-run lead.
Gray worked around two walks, stranding both Reds to reach base in a 22-pitch fourth that left him at 64 pitches total, and he struck out two, and stranded a leadoff walk in a 17-pitch fifth which left him at 81 total, with seven Ks from 20 batters faced.
He added two Ks in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth inning, after which he was up to 91 pitches and 9 Ks from 23 batters faced, and when the Nationals went up 8-2 with two in the top of the 7th, Gray’s manager went to the bullpen...
Josiah Gray, Nasty Sliders.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 4, 2022
8th and 9th Ks. pic.twitter.com/GU0DLdm8BN
Josiah Gray’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 91 P, 51 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Minor Back In Majors:
Signed to a two-year/$18M deal by Kansas City prior to the 2021 season, and traded to Cincinnati for Amir Garrett this past March, veteran lefty Mike Minor had the start of his 2022 campaign delayed until tonight by a shoulder issue which returned once he threw again after some time off early this spring.
Following a rehab stint, Minor returned to the majors in Great American Ball Park, making his first start for the Reds in the second of four with the Nationals, and the southpaw sent the first three batters he faced back to the dugout, but Nelson Cruz hit a 1-1 change to left for a 371-foot home run a half-inning after the home team jumped out to a 2-run lead, 2-1 Reds after one and a half.
Victor Robles doubled to center, just missing a home run, on a first-pitch fastball from Minor with one out in the third, and he scored on an RBI single by César Hernández in the next at-bat, but stumbled coming around third base and grabbed his lower back/hip as he did, we’ll see if it’s anything serious, 2-2. Lane Thomas followed up Hernández’s game-tying hit with a go-ahead home run in the next at-bat, 4-2, and 5-2 when Juan Soto crushed a 1-0 fastball for a 400-foot home run to right-center. No. 4 for Thomas. No. 10 for Soto.
Mike Minor’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 3 HRs, 60 P, 38 S, 2/3 GO/FO.
Vladimir Guttierez took over for the Reds in the fifth, and gave up a one-out shot to right by Lane Thomas, whose second of the night, and fifth of the season, made it a 6-2 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Juan Soto walked in the next at-bat, (1 for 2, HR, BB) and then Nelson Cruz singled (2 for 3) to put two on with one out, and a single to right field by Josh Bell loaded the bases up for Maikel Franco, who K’d swinging, before Riley Adams grounded out to end the threat.
With righty Jeff Hoffman on the mound in his second inning of work in the seventh, Lane. Thomas. did. it. again.
Thomas hit a 95 MPH 3-2 fastball 396 feet to left field for a towering solo home run, his 3rd of the game and 6th this season. 7-2 Nats. Lane Thomas is on fire.
Nelson Cruz walked and Josh Bell reached on a fielder’s choice/error, then Maikel Franco drove in run No. 8 with a single to center which brought Cruz around, 8-2.
Carl Edwards, Jr. worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Victor Arano gave up back-to-back singles to start the Reds’ eighth, and surrendered a 3-run, opposite field home run by Joey Votto with one down, 8-5 Nationals.
Kyle Finnegan took over on the mound, and got two outs around a single to end the home-half of the eighth.
Tanner Rainey came on in the ninth with a three-run lead and walked the leadoff batter, Alejo Lopez, but he retired the next three in order to end it. Ballgame.
Nationals now 19-35