Just in case you didn’t see it elsewhere, read it, or hear Davey Martinez say it himself, Luis García sat out of the Nationals’ series finale with the Reds on Sunday, but not because he had a flare-up of the groin strain which landed him on the IL earlier this month, but rather because of a decision by his manager to take a beat, and a couple days off, after the 22-year-old played a lot the past week after rehabbing the injury.
“I just wanted to get him [a day off],” Martinez explained.
“He went down to rehab [at Triple-A Rochester], played three days in a row, he’s been playing here, so just thought it would be good day to give him a day off, this way he has two, and we’ll get him back in there Tuesday.
“He’s doing well though, he said he feels fine, just wanted to make sure that we take care of him.”
García missed 11 games on the IL, but he’s picked up where he left off at the plate, with a hit in each of the three games he played upon returning, and a .318/.333/.476 line, with two doubles, a triple, two home runs, two walks, and 12 strikeouts over his last 17 games and 66 plate appearances going back to July 26th.
Good Corbin Shows Up:
Two runs, one earned, scored in Patrick Corbin’s first two innings on the mound on Sunday, then the left-hander held the Cincinnati Reds off the board for four more innings, giving up a single hit and one walk after the second, but nothing else, in an 82-pitch outing in which he earned his first win since June 28th and the Nationals’ first win by a starter in 43 games going back to July 6th.
“He’s been pitching well,” manager Davey Martinez said after the Nats’ 3-2 win. “First inning, he threw the ball well, kept the ball on the ground, which, when he’s going good, that’s who he is. He gives up a home run, but then he bears down and pitches really well.
“So a big six innings for us today, and the bullpen comes in and does their job.
“But like I said, since we gave [Corbin] a little breather, he’s come back and pitched well.”
Martinez said he leaned on recently-recalled catcher Riley Adams, with whom the southpaw has a 3.48 ERA and a .225/.286/.413 line against in nine starts and 54 1⁄3 IP this season, to try to guide Corbin through the outing.
What changed after he allowed the home run in the first (which was the 24th he’s allowed in 2022, tied for 4th most in the majors)?
“[For the] most part, I talked to Riley, I said, ‘Just continue to attack the strike zone. Don’t let him run away from the strike zone,’” Martinez said.
“‘Pound the strike zone. Keep the balls down. When you have to pitch in, go up,’ and he did that really well today.”
Hunter Harvey, 27, went on the IL back on April 21st with a right pronator strain, but he got back on the mound in mid-July, and in 20 appearances and 20 innings since returning, the hard-throwing right-hander has put up a 3.15 ERA, a 1.48 FIP, five walks, 24 Ks, and a stingy .211/.253/.296 line against out of the Nationals’ bullpen.
A 2013 1st Round pick by the Baltimore Orioles, Harvey dealt with injuries while with the O’s, making 26 appearances between 2019-2021. He had Tommy John surgery in 2016, and was limited by oblique and lat strains in 2021, before he ended up in D.C., after he was selected off waivers by the San Francisco Giants in November of ‘21, and selected by Washington in March ‘22.
“We always say he’s been a guy where he’s been hurt,” Davey Martinez told reporters over the weekend. Harvey tossed two scoreless, striking out four in two appearances in the 3-game series with the Cincinnati Reds in the nation’s capital.
“And we’re just trying to keep him healthy,” the manager continued, “... we’ve done some things with him as far as strengthening, and things of that nature. Our medical staff, once again, they do a great job trying to keep these guys on the field, but if he’s healthy, you’ve seen what he can do for you on any given day. So he’s been really good. He’s not afraid, I can tell you that, but I think he learned that from his dad. His dad closed for many, many years, and he’s got that same mentality, where he’s just going to go attack you and try to get you out.”
Harvey’s dad, of course, is former big league closer Bryan Harvey, who put up a 3.49 ERA in nine major league seasons, with 177 saves for the California Angels and Florida Marlins over the course of his career (1987-1995).
In a 16-pitch appearance in the seventh inning on Sunday’s game, Harvey worked around a leadoff hit, striking out two while throwing 94% four-seam fastballs, hitting 99.6 MPH with a heater and averaging 98.7 MPH on the 15 he threw (12 swings, 5 swinging strikes, 42 %).
“Harvey hit 100 today,” Martinez said after the win, rounding up.
“Which, we knew he could do it, but he’s got great stuff, and he’s another guy we talk a lot about controlling his emotions out there, and just attacking the strike zone, and he’s been really good.”