Sánchez vs San Diego:
Aníbal Sánchez received no decision in his five-inning, 98-pitch outing against the San Diego Padres last week in D.C., leaving him winless in six starts so far in 2022, in which Washington’s 38-year-old starter has gone (0-5) with a 7.20 ERA, a 7.48 FIP, 14 walks, 12 strikeouts, and a .286/.363/.571 line against in 30 IP since he returned to the rotation.
Sánchez missed the first three and a half months while dealing with a cervical nerve impingement in his neck, which his manager tried to tell him played a role in his early struggles since returning to the mound.
“He was frustrated early in the season because he couldn’t get his neck right,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez explained, “... and now he’s back and for me it’s almost like his first outing or two he was struggling with a lot of different things, and I had to remind him that he missed almost 3 1/2, 4 months of the season, so he’s almost playing catch-up, and now he’s starting to feel a lot better, he’s starting to pitch better, his location has been a lot better, you’re starting to see the Aníbal that we’ve seen before.”
Sánchez matched up against the Padres again in tonight’s series opener in Petco Park, and got through 3 1⁄3 hitless, working around one walk, before he gave up a one-out solo home run by Manny Machado in the home-half of the fourth, with the shortstop hitting a 3-0 pitch 406 feet to left field for his 22nd of 2022. 1-1.
Sánchez issued a two-out walk to Ha-Seong Kim in the home-half of the fifth, but stranded the Padres’ shortstop at the end of a 14-pitch frame which left him at 79 total after five in a 1-1 game.
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 4/3 GO/FO.
Yu vs D.C. in SD:
The four runs the Nationals put up on Padres’ starter Yu Darvish in D.C. last week were the most he gave up since he allowed five in a July 2nd outing. Darvish, who turned 36 earlier this summer, held the home team off the board through five in Nationals Park, but the Nats’ hitters got to the right-hander in the sixth, with back-to-back, two-out home runs, and the leadoff single he gave up in the seventh came around to score after he was lifted from the start.
The four earned runs left Darvish with a 3.40 ERA and a 3.36 FIP, and he finished the game with a .220/.268/.343 line against in 22 starts and 140 1⁄3 IP on the season.
“We got to make him throw strikes, we got to get the ball up,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters before tonight’s game. “That’s something that we know, but he’s going to go out there and compete, and he’s a tough opponent.”
Yu Darvish, Wicked 89mph Splitter. pic.twitter.com/OdsaBAbwrW— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 19, 2022
“We just got to focus on our at-bats, and have good at-bats, and hopefully he makes some mistakes, and we get some runs off him, but we know what we’re up against.”
Going up against the Nationals again tonight, the 10-year veteran retired the first eight Nats’ hitters he faced, but he left a 1-0 cutter up for Ildemaro Vargas with two down in the top of the third, and Vargas hit it 398 feet to right for a solo shot and a 1-0 lead after two and a half in Petco Park.
This ball is gonna be Ildemaro. pic.twitter.com/1iPKt1qj7y— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2022
Vargas was 2 for 2 with the Nationals’ only two hits off Darvish when he singled with one out in the top of the sixth, but the Padres’ starter stranded him two outs later.
A six-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left him at just 76 pitches total, and it was still a 1-1 game when he came back out in the eighth and retired the first two batters, but Lane Thomas singled with two down to keep the inning alive (connecting for the third hit off Darvish). Darvish went at Ildemaro Vargas in the next at-bat, however, got a fly to center, stranding Thomas at second to complete a scoreless top of the inning and keep it tied at 1-1.
Darvish returned in the ninth, at 92 pitches, and gave up leadoff and one-out singles by César Hernández and Alex Call, respectively, before he was done for the night...
Yu Darvish’s Line: 8.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 96 P, 74 S, 10/6 GO/FO.
Joey Meneses started the series opener in San Diego with hits in 11-straight games, going back to his second major league outing, over which he was 16 for 41 (.390/.432/.707) with one double and four home runs.
Meneses went 0 for 4 against Yu Darvish, who gave up just four hits in 8 1⁄3 IP... and his streak ended in Petco Park.
Joey Meneses has an 11-game hitting streak and this sliding catch.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 19, 2022
Joey Meneses is a good baseball player. pic.twitter.com/FI5vc5UbI8
Jake McGee walked Juan Soto with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but got out No. 2 without Soto advancing, then manager Davey Martinez went to the pen again for right-hander Hunter Harvey against Brandon Drury with Soto on first. Harvey walked Drury in front of Josh Bell, who sent a swinging bunt back to the mound for out No. 3.
Harvey returned to the mound in the home-half of the seventh, and gave up a single before getting an out. Martinez went to the ‘pen again, for Victor Arano, who gave up a single out to center by Ha-Seong Kim, then walked Austin Nola to load them up with one out in front of Trent Grisham, who K’d swinging at a high fastball for out No. 2. Juan Soto stepped up to the plate next, against his old teammates, and went down swinging as well. Still 1-1.
Carl Edwards, Jr. retired the Padres in order in the eighth.
Josh Hader replaced Yu Darvish in the ninth, with two runners on, and hit Luke Voit to load them up, before Nelson Cruz walked, 2-1 Nationals, and Keibert Ruiz hit a sac fly to left, 3-1.
Kyle Finnegan took over with a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth and issued back-to-back, one-out walks to Wil Myers and Ha-Seong Kim, but got an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP to end the game on a Jurickson Profar grounder. Ballgame.
Nationals now 40-80