Gore Walks Four; Throws 88 Pitches Over 3 2/3:
MacKenzie Gore got plenty of support from his teammates, who scored 10 runs on 19 hits in the club’s 10-5 win over the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field, and the 24-year-old left-hander earned his second win is as many outings, finishing the game with a 2.38 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and a .205/.311/.282 line against in his first two starts and 11 1⁄3 innings pitched this season.
“That’s huge,” he said of the eight runs of support he received while in the game, explaining that it allows him to, “... just go at guys, especially with a 4-5-run lead, where the solo [home run] can’t beat you. You just go out guys, and yeah, the offense did it again.”
Gore helped stop a four-game slide, and earned his second win in two starts while the Nats won their second in eight on the season to that point.
But he dismissed talk of establishing himself as a stopper in the team’s rotation.
“I think everybody here is capable of doing that,” Gore explained. “But now we can win.
:We played really good today. We played good the other day when I pitched, and now we just have to figure out how to do that consistently, and building off of each other, and we won yesterday, so let’s try to do it again today is kind of what we’re going to try to get to.
“Everybody is capable of being a stopper. It’s just kind of worked out this way so far.”
Spoken like a true stopper.
Gore didn’t last long in start No. 3, however, struggling to throw strikes (53 of 88 pitches) and walking four of the 18 batters he faced in 3 2⁄3 IP, over which he gave up four hits and two earned runs.
The southpaw walked the first batter of the inning in the first, third, and fourth innings, with a leadoff single in the second.
The leadoff walk in the home-half of the third put Los Angeles Angels’ center fielder Brett Phillips on base, and he stole second, and then third, and scored on a throwing error by catcher Keibert Ruiz on the play, 1-0 LA.
Gore’s outing ended after he gave up his fourth walk of the game with the bases loaded and two out in the home-half of the fourth inning, striking out two after the Angels loaded them up, but missing with a 3-2 fastball to Phillips to force in the second run he allowed, after the Nats rallied to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the inning.
The starter looked surprised when his manager emerged from the dugout to take the ball, but he acknowledged after the game it made sense.
“When you throw 88 in 3 2⁄3, you’re going to shower early,” Gore acknowledged, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after a 3-2 loss in the finale in Angel Stadium.
“I don’t think he realized how many pitches he had thrown,” Martinez said of Gore’s reaction to the early hook, “but that’s a lot. I’m not going to leave him out there like that.”
Summing up Gore’s struggles in the outing, the skipper said it was simple. “MacKenzie just couldn’t throw strikes consistently today,” Martinez told reporters.
“He threw some pitches that were pretty close, I mean, he was around the plate, they just weren’t strikes. So, just one of those days. His pitch count got way up there, so we had to get him out of there.
“But you know what, he’s got five days to be back out there, and I told him after the game, ‘Hey, you’re throwing the ball well ... we just got to keep the ball over the white, make those guys hit the ball, our defense has been playing really well, so let’s come back in five days and do it again.”
With back-to-back losses to the LA Angels, the Nationals, who took the series opener in Anaheim, wrapped up their six-game road trip to Colorado and Anaheim 3-4, after they dropped 5 of 6 on the season opening homestand earlier this month.
Davey Martinez’s ballclub played competitive baseball on the first trip of the year, and he talked about his team stepping up after the rough start to the 2023 campaign.
“I think we played really well, I really do,” the sixth-year skipper said after the Nationals split a four-game set with the Rockies and dropped 2 of 3 to the Angels.
“We were in every game [on the road trip],” he continued, “it’s just a matter ... we swung the bats fairly well, now we just got to hone in on driving in those runs from third base with less than two outs, I mean, that’s the key, right? So we got to keep working on that, but the boys are battling. I’m proud of the way they’re going out and playing the game. We’re playing with a lot of energy, and everybody can see that, so we just got to keep battling. We got a day off tomorrow, a well-needed day off and we’ll come back Friday.”
Running, Running, Running:
Asked in his pregame press conference on Tuesday if the Nationals stealing three bases (one by CJ Abrams and two by Victor Robles) on Angels’ rookie catcher Logan O’Hoppe Monday night was a matter of testing a young backstop or a sign of the way his club will play the game this season, Davey Martinez said its the way Washington has to play if the ballclub is going to be competitive this year.
“That’s how we play under — we’ve got to be a little bit — push the envelope a little bit and play the game the right way, but we’re going to try to make things happen,” he explained.
As for whether it was part of a league-wide shift towards running more, Martinez reiterated what he’s said before this season, the rule changes in Major League Baseball for 2023 were designed with this stuff in mind, and the Nationals are just reacting to it.
“With all the rule changes, they wanted more stolen bases, they wanted guys to run more,” he said. “We’re very athletic, so we’re going to try to take advantage any way we can. But believe me, I love the three-run homers more than anybody, but we’re just put together to try to put the ball in play, score as many runs as possible and like I said, take the extra base when we can.”