Abbott vs Cubs:
Cory Abbott, 26, was a 2017 2nd Round pick by the Cubs, who debuted for Chicago in 2021, and was traded to San Francisco’s Giants this past April, before Washington’s Nationals got him on a waiver claim in early May.
Abbott made three appearances in the majors in June/July, then came back up earlier this month to start for the major league club, and got off to a good start with five scoreless on August 2nd at home against the New York Mets, but in his previous two outings before the right-hander took on his former team tonight, he gave up 11 hits (4 HRs), eight walks, and a total of 10 ER in 7 2⁄3 IP, allowing seven hits, five walks, and seven runs in 3 2⁄3 IP in a start on the road in Philadelphia, and four hits, three walks, and three earned runs in four innings in the Nationals’ home park against San Diego.
“He’s been good. He’s been awesome. He’s been positive,” Davey Martinez told reporters in D.C. after Abbott’s outing against the Padres. “He was frustrated today because he thought he could have pitched better, but like I said, I told him, I said, ‘That’s a good lineup.’
“‘I thought you threw the ball well, it’s just remember when you get ahead you’ve got to find something to put them away right away or your pitch count is going to be up there.’”
Abbott threw 90 pitches in his four innings against the Padres.
Tonight, in his fourth start for the Nationals, and his first against the Cubs, Abbott worked around a leadoff single in the first, and a leadoff double in the second, retiring nine hitters in a row once he was done with a five-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth which left him at 53 pitches total.
Abbott’s streak of retired batters ended with a leadoff walk to Rafael Ortega in the top of the fifth, and two outs later his shutout bid ended on a hanging, 3-1 curve to P.J. Higgins which went out to left for a go-ahead home run, 2-1 Cubs.
Cory Abbott’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 57 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
Smyly Eyes 3rd Scoreless Outing:
Signed to a 1-year/$5.25M free agent deal by the Cubs this winter, Drew Smyly, 33, and a veteran of nine MLB seasons, got off to a good start with back-to-back scoreless outings, but over the 11 starts which followed, he put up a 5.29 ERA, a 5.18 FIP, and .284/.332/.520 line in 49 1⁄3 IP, while missing six weeks with an oblique injury in June.
In back-to-back starts before this afternoon’s turn in the rotation, however, the southpaw tossed a combined 11 2⁄3 scoreless in appearances against Miami and Cincinnati, and the veteran starter got another scoreless frame in in the first, but Keibert Ruiz doubled off of him with one out in the second, and was off and running on a single through the left side and scored on César Hernández’s hit, 1-0.
Smyly held it there through four, and came back out for the fifth with a 2-1 lead, courtesy of a two-run home run by first baseman P.J. Higgins, and the Cubs’ lefty struck out two in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 frame which left him at 91 pitches overall, with eight-straight batters set down.
He got a ninth consecutive out to start the sixth, but Joey Meneses hit Smyly’s 100th pitch to left for a one-out double which ended the lefty’s outing...
Drew Smyly’s Line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 83 P, 57 S, 3/8 GO/FO.
Going into today’s game, Joey Meneses had hit safely in 10 straight games, going 15 for 37 over that stretch (.405/.450/.730) with four home runs in those 10 games, and he extended it to 11-straight games with a one-out double in the sixth, and scored the tying run later in the inning to make it 2-2 after six.
Erich Uelmen took over for the Cubs with Joey Meneses on second and Luke Voit at the dish in the sixth, and gave up an infield single when the visiting team botched coverage on a ball hit softly to second base. Nelson Cruz stepped in next, and sent a grounder to short to start what looked like an inning-ending double play, but the Nationals challenged two aspects of the play, the out at second, and throw to first, and won one challenge, with Cruz called safe at first base. So a run scored, 2-2 after six.
Jake McGee took over for the Nationals with the score tied in the top of the seventh, and the southpaw gave up a leadoff double by Franmil Reyes (2 for 3, 2 2B), before striking a couple batters out.
Steve Cishek came on to face Yan Gomes, and gave up an opposite field single which drove Reyes in and put the Cubs up, 3-2.
Steven Brault got the ball for the Cubs in the bottom of the seventh, and retired the side in order to keep the one-run lead intact.
Erasmo Ramírez struck out three around a one-out walk in the top of the eighth.
Brault returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning, and the southpaw gave up a one-out double by Lane Thomas, who took third on a wild pitch, but was stranded there a couple outs later, with Joey Meneses flying out to short right before Luke Voit K’d swinging. Still 3-2 Cubs.
Ramírez kept it close with a scoreless top of the ninth.
Cubs’ closer Rowan Wick came on next, and the right-hander retired the side in order to end it. Cubs win, 3-2 final.
Nationals now 39-80