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Washington Nationals drop 7-3 decision to Cincinnati Reds; Cade Cavalli makes MLB debut...

It didn’t go how Cade Cavalli probably wanted it to go, but there were plenty of positives from his MLB debut...

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Cavalli’s Debut:

Cade Cavalli, 24, made 20 starts at Triple-A Rochester this season, putting up a 3.71 ERA, a 3.22 FIP, 39 walks (3.62 BB/9), and 104 Ks (9.65 K/9) in 97 IP, and the 2020 1st round pick (No. 22 overall) checked all the boxes Washington’s Nationals wanted him to check before they called him up for tonight’s series opener with the Cincinnati Reds.

Davey Martinez ran through some of those boxes after the official announced on Cavalli coming up.

“His breaking ball, throwing it for strikes early in counts. His changeup. We talked a lot about him developing a changeup. He’s done that,” Martinez said.

“He’s been throwing them 12-15-18 times a game now, he feels comfortable throwing them, so that was definitely a plus for us.”

“He has checked all of the boxes,” Rochester manager Matt LeCroy told FBB’s David Driver on Thursday.

“I am really happy for him and happy for our pitching coach here, Rafael Chavez.

“He has done a really nice job with him. I am proud of the work Cade has put into it. I am hoping he will go and keep doing what he has been doing.”

Cavalli’s debut began with an action-packed first which saw him hit Jonathan India in their one-out at-bat, then throw a wild pitch/passed ball on a curve which got away from him to advance the runner, before a two-out RBI single by Donovan Solano, and an RBI double off of TJ Friedl’s bat, put the Reds up 2-0 at the end of a 27-pitch opening frame.

Cavalli worked around another HBP (on another curve which got away from him), but two outs later, his catcher, Keibert Ruiz, caught the runner (Stuart Fairchild) trying to steal his way into scoring position for out No. 3 of a 16-pitch second.

Jonathan India hit a 95 MPH 2-0 fastball back up the middle for a one-out single in the top of the third, then Kyle Farmer (on a 95 MPH first-pitch fastball) and Donovan Solano, (on a first-pitch curve), hit back-to-back doubles off the Nationals’ debuting starter, with Solano’s 11th of 2022 driving in both India and Farmer for a 4-0 Reds’ lead.

It was 4-1 in the visiting team’s favor when Cavalli retired the side in order in a quick, nine-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth, which likely extended his outing, and he returned to the mound in the top of the fifth, at 80 pitches overall.

India walked to start the fifth, moved to second on a single by Farmer, and took third on a force at second base on a Donovan Solano grounder to Luis García at second, and a third hit-by-pitch, this one on Friedl, loaded the bases and ended Cavalli’s outing...

[ed. note - “As you can tell by his final line, it didn’t go too well when Erasmo Ramírez took over...”]

Cade Cavalli’s Line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 99 P, 57 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Minor Threat:

A 2009 1st Round pick by Atlanta (taken six picks after Stephen Strasburg went No. 1 overall to Washington), Mike Minor, now 34, was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in late March this past spring, and in 14 starts and 72 23 IP on the year in his 11th major league season, the southpaw had a 6.44 ERA, a 6.16 FIP, 29 walks, 59 Ks, and .293/.364/.550 line against before tonight.

He made his first start of the year back on June 3rd against the same Nationals (sort-of) he was facing tonight, giving up six hits (three home runs) and five runs in four innings.

“This wasn’t the way I wanted it to go,” Minor said after his 2022 debut, as quoted in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“I was glad to get out there, glad to compete. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

Last time out before tonight, Minor snapped a 10-start winless streak, over which he had a 6.02 ERA, a 5.99 FIP, and a .288/.367/.535 line against in 52 13 IP, in spite of the fact he got knocked around a bit, giving up nine hits and five runs in 5 23 IP in a 9-5 win.

Tonight in D.C., Minor took the mound with a 2-0 lead, and tossed two scoreless to start, on 27 pitches, and he came out for the third with a 4-0 lead, but Ildemaro Vargas hit a leadoff double to left in the bottom of the third, and scored two outs later on a Luis García single to center field, 4-1.

Minor held the Nationals there through four, which he completed on just 56 pitches, and he came back out for the fifth with a 7-1 lead, and worked around a single in a 16-pitch frame to get through five on 72, but the veteran lefty gave up a one-out home run to right field in the Nats’ half of the sixth, with Luke Voit powering a 3-2 slider outside out for his 17th of 2022, 7-2.

A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the seventh ended Minor’s outing after 105 pitches in a solid start...

Mike Minor’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 71 S, 5/4 GO/FO.


Going into tonight’s game, the Nationals’ starting rotation was on a nice run, as the Nats’ highlighted in their pregame notes:

“Over the last seven games, Washington’s starting rotation has pitched to a 2.83 ERA (11 ER/35.0 IP) with a .197 opponents’ batting average...”

But, of course, there was the other stat the club and we here have been tracking for a while now:

“Nationals’ starting pitcher has not been credited with a win since Josiah Gray on July 6 at Philadelphia - a span of 41 games...

“According to the Elias Sports Bureau, 41 straight games played without earning a win by a starting pitcher is the longest such streak in Major League Baseball history.”

Could Cavalli be the stopper? Yeah, nope. 42-straight with out a silly win for a starter...

Bullpen Action:

Erasmo Ramírez replaced Cade Cavalli with the bases loaded and gave up a base-clearing line drive to left field by Aristides Aquino, whose sixth double of the season put the Reds ahead 7-1 after five.

Ramírez returned to the mound and retired the Reds in order in the top of the sixth, and he stranded a two-out triple for a scoreless frame.

Steve Cishek retired the Reds in order in the top of the eighth.

One-time National and Bryce Harper fighter Hunter Strickland gave up a leadoff walk to Lane Thomas, who came around to score on a two-out hit by Joey Meneses, 7-3.

Jake McGee tossed a scoreless fourth to keep it a four-run game.

Buck Farmer came on to end it for the Reds, and worked around a two-out walk to end it.

Nationals now 42-84