Espino vs LAD:
Paolo Espino was winless (0-2) in seven starts since he moved into the Nationals’ rotation in mid-June before tonight’s outing, with a 4.88 ERA, 5.65 FIP, eight walks, 26 strikeouts, and a .286/.329/.532 line against over 31 1⁄3 IP, after he’d put up a 2.03 ERA, a 3.05 FIP, four walks, 20 Ks, and .228/.257/.317 line against in 26 2⁄3 IP out of the bullpen to start the season.
Last time out before tonight, the 35-year-old right-hander gave up six hits (two home runs) and four runs total, three earned, in 5 1⁄3 IP against the Atlanta Braves.
“Paolo was okay,” manager Davey Martinez said after the outing, offering a lukewarm, but in the end positive assessment of Espino’s start.
“He had one bad inning. After that he threw the ball well. He gave us five-plus innings.”
Espino retired the first eight batters he faced in LA’s Dodger Stadium tonight, and he got up 0-2 on the ninth, but left a curve up inside for left fielder Trayce Thompson, who lined a 105 MPH, 353-foot home run over the low left field wall for a two-out solo shot and a 1-0 lead for the home team. No. 3 for Thompson this season. Espino’s 15-pitch frame left him at 30 total after three.
Trayce Thompson. That is all. pic.twitter.com/8RrUhLoQEW— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 26, 2022
After stranding Trea Turner at third in a 13-pitch fourth, three outs after Turner hit a leadoff double, Espino was up to just 43 pitches overall, and he came back for the fifth up 4-1 and gave up back-to-back singles which prompted his manager to go to the bullpen for Andres Machado...
Paolo Espino’s Line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 54 P, 34 S, 3/5 GO/FO.
Gonsolin vs D.C.:
Tony Gonsolin, 28, and a 2016 9th Round pick by the Dodgers out of Saint Mary’s College of California (which is located in Moraga, CA), took the mound tonight unbeaten in 17 starts this season with a 2.02 ERA, a 3.41 FIP, 24 BBs, 86 Ks, and a solid .168/.230/.308 line against in 93 2⁄3 IP on the year. So, yeah, potential trouble versus the Nationals’ struggling offense (which did, of course, put some runs (4) up in the series finale with the D-backs on Sunday).
As the Dodgers noted in their pregame, uh, notes, Gonsolin went into tonight’s start versus the Nats, having, “allowed two runs or fewer in 16 of his 17 starts,” (though the one in which he gave up more than two was his last before tonight), and having, “... spun 6.0+ innings of work in eight starts,” of the seventeen turns in the rotation.
Gonsolin held the Nationals hitless through three, working around a walk, and he had a 1-0 lead when he took the mound in the fourth and stranded a leadoff free pass in a 16-pitch frame which left him at 60 total on the night on four scoreless and hitless, but a homer to left by Yadiel Hernández in the first at-bat of the fifth tied things up and ended Gonsolin’s nascent no-hit bid, 1-1. No. 7 for Hernández this season, 407-foot oppo shot.
BODY YADI YADI YADI YADI YADI YADI YADI pic.twitter.com/EgNH8bF1EV— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 26, 2022
Ehire Adrianza and Victor Robles hit back-to-back, two-out singles later in the fifth, and a pop off César Hernández’s fell into short left for the third consecutive hit, bringing in the go-ahead run, 2-1, and Juan Soto followed with a chopper by first base which brought in Robles and Hernández to make it a 4-1 game.
Gonsolin was up to 90 pitches after a quick, seven-pitch sixth, in which he worked around a leadoff single by Yadiel Hernández.
Tony Gonsolin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 62 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Nationals’ Pregame Notes Highlight:
Josh Bell started the series in LA in the midst of a nice run at the plate, going 10 for 26 for a .385 AVG with three doubles, one triple, one home run, five walks, four strikeouts, and five runs scored over his last seven games, as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes:
• In 32 games dating to June 16, he is hitting .333/.424/.617 with 12 doubles, two triples, six homers, 13 RBI, two hit by pitch, 17 walks and 17 runs scored.
• ... Bell leads all MLB switch hitters in average (.305) and on-base percentage (.388) while ranking second in slugging percentage (.496) and OPS (.883).
Bell was 0 for 1 with two walks after three plate appearances against Tony Gonsolin tonight, and he finished the night...
Andres Machado inherited a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth, and the right-handed reliever got the first out, striking out Cody Bellinger, before walking Trayce Thompson to load the bases with Dodgers.
Machado fell behind Mookie Betts, 2-0, but got to 2-2 and threw a 96 MPH sinker by him for a backwards K and out No. 2. Trea Turner stepped in next and lined out to right field to end the threat.
Victor Arano worked around an error in an eight-pitch bottom of the sixth.
David Price worked around back-to-back, two-out singles for a scoreless top of the seventh to keep it 4-1 in the Nats’ favor.
Hunter Harvey retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, and worked around a two-out error, striking out Mookie Betts for out No. 3.
Reyes Moronta walked Nelson Cruz to start the eighth, and threw two, two-out wild pitches which allowed Cruz to take two bases after the Nationals failed to advance their runner, and a two-out HBP on Keibert Ruiz put runners on the corners for Ehire Adrianza, who ... walked to load the bases, after Ruiz stole second base. Victor Robles stepped in next and worked the count full, before he K’d swinging.
Carl Edwards, Jr. gave up a leadoff single by Trea Turner and a two-out single by Jake Lamb in the bottom of the eighth, but he struck Max Muncy out to end the eighth. Still 4-1 Nats.
Juan Soto walked with one out in the top of the ninth, but was running on a Josh Bell liner to right, and got doubled up before he could return to first.
Kyle Finnegan came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, and gave up a hit by Gavin Lux in the first at-bat, on a grounder to short in the shift which third baseman Ehire Adrianza got a glove on but couldn’t corral, but the righty retired three in a row after that to lock down the curly-W. Ballgame.
Final Score: 4-1 Nats.
Nationals now 33-65