Espino vs San Diego:
Paolo Espino gave up seven hits, two walks, and four earned runs in 5 2⁄3 IP against the San Diego Padres last week in the nation’s capital, in a 6-0 loss in Nationals Park which left him with a 5.27 ERA, a 5.66 FIP, and a .299/.333/.540 line against in 12 starts and 54 2⁄3 IP since moving from the bullpen to Washington’s starting rotation back on June 12th.
Manager Davey Martinez pointed to the two walks Espino allowed last time out against the Padres (both of which ended up scoring), and the starter’s struggles putting hitters away in his post game press conference, when asked to assess the right-hander’s outing.
“It’s the walks, you know,” he said, “... and the 0-2s, 1-2s, to the 2-2s, 3-2s, I mean, we talk about efficiency, he’s got to start burying guys when he gets ahead like that. His stuff is good, he’s just got to stop trying to get swing and miss, he’s just got to try to get the ball in the strike zone as he does 0-0.”
Espino retired the Padres in order in the bottom of the first tonight, but after the Nationals wasted a two-on, no-out opportunity in the top of the second, the home team put the first two men on in the home-half of the inning, with back-to-back hits by Brandon Drury and Jake Cronenworth, and a one-out, RBI single by Trent Grisham followed, 1-0.
Espino got the next two outs without further damage, then retired the Padres in order in a 14-pitch third which left him at 49 total.
It was 2-1 in the Nats’ favor when Espino returned to the mound in the bottom of the fourth, and gave up one- and two-out walks to Cronenworth and Grisham, respectively, but he got Ha-Seong Kim to ground out to end a 19-pitch frame which pushed him up to 68 total.
Espino gave up a one-out walk to Jurickson Profar in front of Juan Soto in the fifth, and a walk to Soto put two on and ended the outing for the Nats’ starter...
Paolo Espino’s Line: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 84 P, 44 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Snell vs Nats - Round Two:
Going into his start against the Nationals last week in the nation’s capital, Padres’ lefty Blake Snell had allowed one earned run or fewer in six of his previous seven outings, putting up a 2.41 ERA, a 2.47 FIP, 17 walks, 57 Ks, and a .213/.295/.331 line against in 37 1⁄3 IP, and he kept it going with six scoreless in Washington, giving up three hits, but no walks, and striking out 10 of the 21 batters he faced in a 6-0 win.
“Snell was really good,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after the loss. “I mean, his fastball had good life. He was throwing strikes. His slider was good, but he was pumping strikes, and we couldn’t get nothing going. But our plan was to make him throw strikes, and he did that, but his fastball location was really good, and his breaking ball was good.”
Snell held the Nationals off the board for a seventh inning this season, with a quick, eight-pitch first, but Nelson Cruz singled and Keibert Ruiz walked, to start the top of the second, before the lefty buckled down, retiring the next three batters in order in a second scoreless frame.
Keibert Ruiz and César Hernández hit back-to-back, one-out singles in the top of the fourth, and pulled off a double steal with Ildemaro Vargas up, but Vargas K’d looking at a 98 MPH 2-2 fastball up high for out No. 2, before former Padres’ infielder CJ Abrams drove two in with an opposite field single, 2-1.
CJ Abrams with another clutch hit.@CJAbrams01 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/8Dtkej4dB7— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 20, 2022
Joey Meneses lined a single to right, and Nelson Cruz reached on a weak roller to short that Ha-Seong Kim couldn’t handle, and Keibert Ruiz (2 for 2, BB) singled to left-center for a two-out RBI hit and a 3-1 lead.
Blake Snell’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 98 P, 63 S, 1/5 GO/FO.
Victor Arano took over for the Nationals after back-to-back, one-out walks by Paolo Espino to Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto in the Padres’ fifth, and gave up a game-tying double off the right field fence by Manny Machado, 3-3. Arano struck Brandon Drury out for out No. 2, and then got Jake Cronenworth swinging as well, to strand Machado.
Manny: Clutch— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 20, 2022
Game: Tied#TimeToShine pic.twitter.com/KpI9IcOQOc
Padres’ lefty Tim Hill took over with the score tied at 3-3 in the sixth, and the southpaw gave up a leadoff double by Ildemaro Vargas, but got two outs before Robert Suarez came on to get the third.
Steve Cishek hit Trent Grisham in the foot as he squared to bunt with one out in the home-half of the sixth, but he stranded him two quick outs later to keep it tied.
Suarez returned to the mound in the seventh and retired the Nationals in order.
Carl Edwards, Jr. worked around a two-out throwing error by CJ Abrams on a grounder to short by Manny Machado, and got out No. 3 on a low liner to center by Brandon Drury to Victor Robles. Still 3-3.
Keibert Ruiz walked to start the Nats’ eighth, but was stranded three outs later, by Nick Martinez.
Erasmo Ramírez retired the Padres in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Josh Hader walked Victor Robles to start the top of the ninth, and Robles scored from first on a swinging bunt by Lane Thomas in the next at-bat, when Hader fielded the ground back to the hill, then threw well wide of first base. Alex Call followed with a two-run home run, 6-3 D.C. First MLB HR for Call. 372-foot shot.
It’s too late for us to even decipher what happened here but it gave us the lead so we'll take it. pic.twitter.com/50yapPs5nU— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 20, 2022
Alex Call drinking that Haderade for his 1st career @MLB home run.@ACAD_27 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/ddPoC3Ykmp— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 20, 2022
Kyle Finnegan came on for the sudden save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, and set the side down in order to end it, striking out two before a fly ball to center for out No. 3.
Nationals now 41-80