Gray vs Miami:
In two starts against the Marlins this season prior to tonight’s outing in Miami, Gray gave up seven runs in 11 2⁄3 IP (for a 5.40 ERA), with hitters putting up a .283/.327/.500 line against him in those appearances.
Going into start No. 3 against Washington’s NL East rivals this year, the Nationals’ 24-year-old righty was coming off back-to-back Ws (over the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds) in which he’d posted a 1.64 ERA (3 R, 2 ER in 11 IP), 5.23 FIP, and a .135/.273/.297 line against.
“He’s working really hard to understand how to be successful up here, and he’s doing a great job,” manager Davey Martinez said after Gray’s 11th start in the majors this season.
Gray had to work hard to get out of a jam in the first inning of start No. 12, with back-to-back, one-out singles and a catcher’s interference call loading the bases with Marlins, but the Nationals’ starter got outs Nos. 2-3 on swinging Ks from Avisaíl García and Jon Berti to wriggle his way out of a 27-pitch first in loanDepot park.
Gray struck out two in a scoreless, 20-pitch second, which left him at 47 pitches total, and he worked around back-to-back hits which started the Marlins’ third, with a 22-pitch frame leaving him at 69 total after three.
Josiah Gray, Nasty 83mph Breaking Ball.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 8, 2022
4Ks thru 2 pic.twitter.com/zy8sZg2TID
Keibert Ruiz threw Jazz Chisholm, Jr. out as Chisholm, Jr. tried to steal second after a leadoff walk by Gray in the Marlins’ fifth (11 of 20 CS this season, 37% CS%), and the starter got a couple outs after a one-out single to complete his fifth scoreless frame at 101 total pitches on the night.
Keibert Ruiz has caught more runners stealing (11) than any catcher in @MLB.#NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/Anc8oOA5Z5— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 9, 2022
Josiah Gray’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 101 P, 69 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Josiah Gray allowed 0 runs tonight.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 9, 2022
He’s sporting a 1.13 ERA in his last 3 starts.@JGrayy_ // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/LlQStm8Sxc
Alcantara vs D.C.:
Sandy Alcantara gave up a run on six hits and three walks in six innings of work on the hill in Nationals Park back in late April, and followed up on the solid start with eight innings on the mound in mid-May at home in loanDepot Park in which he gave up just one run on three hits and a walk going up against the Marlins’ NL East rivals.
“Alcantara is one of those guys where we got to get the ball up in the zone, he’s got a great changeup, great mix of pitches, but we got to hit the ball in the strike zone, we can’t chase,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after facing Alcantara the second time this season.
Sandy Alcántara, Stupid 93mph Wrong Way Slider.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 8, 2022
7 inches of arm side run on his Slider. pic.twitter.com/7RriHTZuQS
Sandy Alcántara, 100mph Sinker with 19 inches of run.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 9, 2022
[And somehow balled.] pic.twitter.com/lgpFZ6Wx6g
Alcantara retired the final 20 batters he faced in that second start, impressing himself in the process.
“That means a lot,” Alcantara said, as quoted in an AP write-up after that game. “I’ve never done that. I feel so happy with that.”
“When he’s rolling like that, it’s fun to watch,” Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s in and out of innings quick, throwing strikes. Everything’s working.”
Alcantara was dominant, and efficient again tonight, tossing four scoreless on 48 pitches, working around three hits, and a quick, 14-pitch fifth left him at 62 total in what was a 0-0 game.
Juan Soto doubled off the Marlins’ starter with one out in the top of the sixth, hitting one to the track where Jorge Soler watched it drop after getting twisted around following it back, but two outs later he was stranded at third, and Alcantara was through six scoreless on just 74 pitches, and he came back out for the top of the seventh and stranded a two-out single in a 13-pitch frame.
Alcantara needed just eight pitches in a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, which left him at 95 pitches, and he came back out for the top of the ninth and retired the Nats in order to keep it 0-0.
His 10-pitch frame left him at 105 pitches after nine scoreless, in what was still a 0-0 game.
Sandy Alcantara’s Line: 9.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 105 P, 84 S, 16/3 GO/FO.
Steve Cishek was first out of the bullpen for the Nationals, taking over in the bottom of the sixth, and retiring the side in order on 11 pitches.
And he came back out for the bottom of the seventh, and got the first two outs before Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez went to the pen again. Carl Edwards, Jr. got out No. 3 to keep it 0-0 after seven.
Edwards, Jr. worked around a walk in the Marlins’ eighth as he completed a scoreless frame in what was still a 0-0 game.
Kyle Finnegan got the bottom of the ninth for the Nationals, and gave up a leadoff single to right by Jon Berti, who stole second as Finnegan fell behind 3-0 on Miguel Rojas.
Rojas walked to put two on with no one out, but Jacob Stallings bunted into an out at third, with Josh Bell making an aggressive throw to cut down the lead runner.
Bryan De La Cruz grounded into a force at second for out No. 2, and with runners on the corners and two out, Jazz Chisholm, Jr. stepped in and went down swinging to send it to extras...
Keibert Ruiz drove in the Nationals’ ghost runner (Luis García) with a leadoff single off lefty Tanner Scott in the top of the tenth, 1-0. That’s all they got.
Tanner Rainey tried to make the 1-0 lead hold up in the home-half of the tenth. Garrett Cooper lined out to right, but Chisholm, Jr. didn’t get back in time to tag and move up.
Willians Astudillo singled down the right field line in the next at-bat, however, and a strong throw in by Juan Soto made it close, but Chisholm, Jr. appeared to slide in safe, but there was no call by the home plate ump, Nestor Ceja, so Nats’ catcher Keibert Ruiz applied a tag and the ump punched Chisholm, Jr. out, saying he didn’t touch home.
Miami challenged the call at home, and said Ruiz blocked the path to the plate, and the call was reversed, and Chisholm, Jr. ruled safe, 1-1.
Astudillo then scored on a grounder up the middle by Jesús Aguilar that bounced off of the second base bag and out into center field, ballgame.
Great game until the ghost runners got involved. Thanks, Rob Manfred.
Nationals now 21-37