Sánchez in Chicago:
Winless in four starts (0-4) since coming off the IL on July 14th, with a 7.65 ERA, a 7.01 FIP, 16 Ks collected, and nine walks and six home runs allowed in 20 innings pitched, over which opposing hitters had a .273/.352/.533 line, 38-year-old, 16-year veteran Aníbal Sánchez did not get off to the start he and the Washington Nationals were hoping he might when they signed him to be part of the starting mix after a season off in 2021.
A cervical nerve impingement in his neck at the end of Spring Training delayed the return of the right-hander, who was part of the World Series winning roster in 2019, before struggling through 2020’s 60-game campaign.
“When he’s really good he works ahead,” manager Davey Martinez said after start No. 3 for Sánchez.
“He’s got so many different pitches, so when he’s ahead, they got to worry about a lot of different things, but when he’s behind they know he’s got to come throw strikes, so he’s got to work ahead. His stuff is still good, it really is. His changeup is still good, it really is. His changeup is good, his curveball is effective, he’s got a sinker, he’s got a cutter, and we all know he’s got that whatever he calls it, mariposa, whatever, and it’s still effective, but he’s got to start working ahead.”
Sánchez fell behind a few of the batters he faced early in tonight’s game against the Cubs, but he got through two scoreless frames before rookie Nelson Velázquez went down for a 1-0 slider down and in to lead off the home-half of the third, and hit a 381-foot home run to left-center field for Chicago’s first hit and a 1-0 lead.
A walk to Nick Madrigal followed, then Christopher Morel hit a full-count cutter all of 399 feet to left, 3-0.
Forces to be reckoned with. pic.twitter.com/oikkTgQqG6— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 9, 2022
Sánchez came back out for the bottom of the sixth at 85 pitches, with the score 3-1 in the Cubs’ favor, but back-to-back hits (by Seiya Suzuki and Patrick Wisdom) ended his night...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 56 S, 2/6 GO/FO.
Thompson vs Washington:
A third-round pick by the Cubs in 2017, 27-year-old right-hander Keegan Thompson made his debut for Chicago in 2021, posting a 3.38 ERA and a 5.16 FIP in 32 games (six of them starts) and 53 1⁄3 IP, and it’s been more of the same so far this season.
Through 22 appearances, 14 of them starts, Thompson had a 3.48 ERA and a 3.98 FIP in 93 IP before tonight’s start, coming off a rough 4 2⁄3-inning outing in which he gave up 10 hits and five earned runs in a 6-0 loss to St. Louis.
“Probably just not his best outing,” Cubs’ manager David Ross said of Thompson’s outing against the Cardinals, as quoted in an AP article on ESPN.
“His stuff wasn’t as sharp as it has been. He wasn’t as crisp and they took advantage of it.”
Tonight, in the series opener with the Nationals, Thompson tossed four scoreless to start, on 58 pitches, with a 3-0 lead to work with after three, but he hit Lane Thomas in the first at-bat of the fifth, and César Hernández singled on a fly to right Seiya Suzuki got a glove on with a sliding attempt but couldn’t catch, putting two on with no one out, but a 6-4-3 DP from Maikel Franco got the Cubs’ starter the first two outs, and Victor Robles K’d swinging to end an 18-pitch frame, his fifth scoreless.
Luke Voit got all of a 1-1 fastball from Thompson in the sixth, however, and hit a one-out home run to right-center, 421 feet from home for a solo shot, which got the Nats on the board, down 3-1.
NUKE VOIT@LLVIII40 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/4qJoR9EMui— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 9, 2022
Keegan Thompson’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 51 S, 6/5 GO/FO.
Keegan Thompson has recorded a 2.40 ERA this season at Wrigley Field! pic.twitter.com/I9SxXINBeo— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 9, 2022
VoiOBPt (or something):
Luke Voit started the night with a 17-game on-base streak going, over which he had 18 hits, six walks, three HBPs, and a .400 OBP, and the new Nationals’ 1B/DH was 6-for-13 (for a .462 AVG), with one home run, two walks, a hit by pitch, and two runs scored since he came over from San Diego, as the major league component of the Juan Soto/Josh Bell for a package of five prospects+ trade deadline deal with the Padres.
Voit was 0 for 2 through the first five innings, but the third time around against Cubs’ starter Keegan Thompson he got a 1-1 fastball he could handle and hit it 421 feet to right-center for his second home run since joining the Nats and an 18-game on-base streak.
Steve Cishek took over for the Nats with runners on 1st/3rd and no one out in the home-half of the sixth, and the sidewinding righty gave up an RBI single to center field by Nico Horner, 4-1.
Nico Hoerner is hitting .381 with RISP at Wrigley Field. pic.twitter.com/CqqNh9N6Ro— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 9, 2022
Michael Rucker came on for the Cubs in the top of the seventh, and gave up a one-out walk to Lane Thomas, before Maikel Franco reached on a two-out error on a grounder to third, but Victor Robles Kd swinging to end the threat, still 4-1 Cubs.
Hunter Harvey gave up two singles around a walk in the first three plate appearances of the Cubs’ seventh as the home team added to their lead, 5-1, and 6-1 on a sac fly.
Nelson Cruz singled off Cubs’ lefty Brandon Hughes with two out in the eighth, and scored on a two-run home run to left by pinch hitter Joey Meneses, 6-3. No. 2 for Meneses.
JOEY MENESES PINCH-HIT 2-RUN HOMER pic.twitter.com/X5iObj0HGC— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 9, 2022
A strike’em out, throw’em out double play to end the game was a final indignity. Cubs win, 6-3.
Nationals now 36-75