Josiah Gray vs Phil-Phil-Lay-Lay:
Winless in his last four starts, in spite of the 3.04 ERA and 3.11 FIP he’s posted in that stretch, even after he gave up six runs in 5 2⁄3 IP last time out before tonight, Josiah Gray took on the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park after he tossed six scoreless against the Nationals’ NL East rivals when he faced them in Washington last month. He got up to 117 pitches total in that start, however, so was limited to six innings in spite of his success.
“His stuff is good. His stuff is really good. And he’s really learning. He battled today to get to those last couple outs,” Martinez said of leaving him in to throw a career-high in pitches, “... but he said he appreciated it, that was a good learning experience for him.”
Going up against the Phillies again tonight, Gray tossed three scoreless on 47 pitches to start, allowing just one hit, and he came out for the fourth with a 1-0 lead, but gave up a leadoff homer to right field by Kyle Schwarber, whose third in two games in the series came on a 2-0 changeup he hit 375 feet into the first rows of seats in Citizens Bank Park. No. 26 of 2022 for Schwarber, 1-1.
Gray walked Rhys Hoskins after the home run, then struck out the next three batters to get through four on 68 pitches, and he added his ninth K, and worked around his own error on a throw to first on a swinging bunt by Odubel Herrera with two out in what ended up being a scoreless, 14-pitch fifth. Still 1-1.
Gray fell behind 2-1 to Schwarber in the sixth, and gave up another shot to right, this one a 399-foot shot by the Phillies’ slugger whose second homer of the game, fourth homer this series, and 27th of 2022, put the home team up, 2-1. Gray did add two Ks in the inning, for 11 total from 23 batter faced in a really solid outing (outside of the at-bats vs Schwarber)...
Josiah Gray’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 2 HRs, 100 P, 67 S, 1/1 GO/FO.
Nola vs the Nats:
Aaron Nola held the Nationals to four hits and a walk in eight scoreless innings on the hill in Nats Park last month, striking out eight in a 106-pitch effort in a 2-1 win for the Phillies.
“We ran into a buzzsaw today. I mean, Nola was really good,” fifth-year Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said after that game.
“We’ve seen him before when he can be that way, we’ve seen him before when we can get some hits and some runs early on him, but today he mixed all his pitches in really well, our offense couldn’t really get nothing going.
“We battled. We didn’t chase a whole lot. But he was — he had his good stuff today. Today Nola was on.”
Tonight in Citizens Bank Park, Nola held the Nationals hitless through 3 1⁄3 innings, but Juan Soto, who walked the first time up, singled on a 3-2 changeup with one down in his second trip to the plate, took second on a Josh Bell groundout, and scored on a two-out RBI double to right-center field by Yadiel Hernández, 1-0 Nationals after four.
It was 1-1 when Nola came back out for the fifth and worked around a leadoff single by Luis García in a 17-pitch frame which left him at 59 total, and he retired the Nationals in order in an 11-pitch sixth which had him up to 70.
Yadiel Hernández and Keibert Ruiz hit back-to-back, one-out singles off Nola in the top of the seventh, and Luis García drove them both in with a 402-foot double to center field on which Odubel Herrera got all twisted up, 3-2 Nationals. Double No. 10 for García.
Nola returned to the mound in the eighth, at 92 pitches, and retired two batters before a two-out hit by Juan Soto ended his night...
Aaron Nola’s Line: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 97 P, 69 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
Carl Edwards, Jr. got the bottom of the seventh, after the Nationals went up 3-2 in the top of the inning, and worked around a leadoff walk to keep the visitors up by a run.
Philly lefty José Alvarado took over for Aaron Nola after a two-out single by Juan Soto in the top of the eighth, and stranded the inherited runner to keep it a one-run game.
Kyle Finnegan struck Kyle Schwarber out on a check-swing strike three to start the bottom of the eighth, but he walked Rhys Hoskins in the next at-bat, then dialed up a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play from Nick Castellanos. Still 3-2 Nats.
Corey Knebel kept it a 3-2 game with a scoreless top of the ninth, working around a double by Yadiel Hernández (3 for 4, 2 2B).
Tanner Rainey came on for the save opportunity and retired the side in order in a 17-pitch, 11-strike frame to end it.
Nationals now 30-54