clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Washington Nationals news & notes: Nats’ mistakes hurt in 8-4 loss to Seattle Mariners; Amos Willingham gets call...

Notes and quotes from the Nationals’ series opener in T-Mobile Park...


Lane Thomas hit the third pitch of the series opener in Seattle, a 95 MPH 1-1 sinker from Luis Castillo, just off the middle, out to left field for a 369-foot home run, his 14th of the year, and a 1-0 lead for Washington’s Nationals in the first of three this week in T-Mobile Park.

Going into the series, Thomas, 27, had, “a hit in 12 of his last 13 games, going 19-for-51 (.373) with six doubles, four [homers], nine RBI[s], a walk, one stolen base, and 10 runs scored,” as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes.

All 14 of Thomas’s home runs on the year had come since May 1st, after he went homer-less in the first 25 games and 107 plate appearances.

After the leadoff blast off the M’s starter, Thomas had 14 in 51 games and 217 PAs after that first month.

Dominic Smith hit a 2-2 slider down, but not nearly far enough in, from Castillo in the top of the second, after a J.P. Crawford home run off Nats’ starter Trevor Williams tied things up at 1-1, and Smith sent his third home run this season out to right field 374 feet to right field, to put the visitors back on top, 2-1 early in the Mariners’ home.

CJ Abrams singled, advanced on an error by Crawford on the play, and scored on a one-out hit to center by Luis García, who sent an 0-1 change low and away back up the middle, 3-1.

It was 3-3 after the fourth, and the Mariners busted things open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs in what ended up a 8-4 win.

Thomas drove in the Nationals’ fourth run of the game in the ninth, with a ground-rule double (2 for 5, 1 R, 2 RBIs, 3 Ks), but they dropped the series opener.

Trevor vs the M’s:

Trevor Williams tossed six scoreless in his outing against St. Louis in D.C. last week, giving up five hits and striking out four of 21 Cardinals’ batters he faced in a 3-0 win for the home team.

“Just mixing in all his pitches,” manager Davey Martinez said when asked what was working for the 30-year-old right-hander against the Cards. “He really had good stuff today.”

“I thought we did a good job of mixing well today and just executing early and hoping that they make weak contact early,” Williams said of the results overall, but he added that it was not necessarily the best he has felt on the mound this season.

“Possibly, with the results, sure,” Williams conceded. “But is today the best I’ve felt this year? No. But it’s one of those where you get 32 starts, 33 starts, and you’re going to feel amazing for five, you’re going to feel awful for five, and you’re trying to figure out everything in-between. So I’m just thankful that today we came out and played well.”

Which one of those categories did his start in Seattle last night fit in?

Williams started the game with three-strong, on 58 pitches total, with just a home run by J.P. Crawford resulting in a run, but with the score 3-1 in the Nationals’ favor, the right-hander gave up a leadoff home run by Eugenio Suarez in the top of the fourth, and an RBI single by Julio Rodriguez with two out in the inning which drove in tying run, 3-3 after four, with the starter up to 83 pitches after a 25-pitch frame.

His manager decided that was enough, going to the bullpen in the fifth.

“He gave us everything he had,” Martinez said of Williams’ relatively brief outing. “He had [83] pitches I think in the fourth inning. We could’ve sent him out for another hitter or two, if something had gone awry — but I wanted [Cory] Abbott to start a clean inning knowing that he had to get in the game.”

Trevor Williams’ Line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 83 P, 55 S, 3/0 GO/FO.

“I just felt like I couldn’t get in a rhythm today,” Williams said after the game, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “You tip your hat to their lineup. They were taking some good pitches in the zone. It looked like they were waiting for their one pitch. I’ve just got to be more efficient. Coming out after four innings isn’t good.”


Cory Abbott had himself a rough bottom of the fifth, giving up a leadoff single, on which Dom Smith committed a throwing error, tossing it by first with no one covering after he’d fielded a grounder hit his way, and a groundout and a sac fly brought in the go-ahead run, 4-3 Mariners. A reversed call on a close play at first gave the home team another shot to add to their lead, and both Mike Ford and Kolten Wong added RBI hits to make it 6-3 at the end of a 25-pitch frame for the Nats’ reliever.

Abbott worked around a walk in the sixth, and retired the Mariners in order in the seventh, and he got one out in the eighth before Thaddeus Ward took over after back-to-back free passes ended Abbott’s outing.

One of the runners Ward inherited scored on an RBI single, 7-3 Mariners, and then a sac fly brought in the eighth and final run for the home team, 8-3.

“Cory did a great job,he really did,” manager Davey Martinez said after the loss. “He saved our bullpen. We had a few guys that were down today. He gets out of that inning possibly with no runs if we keep that guy on first base, but we got to come back tomorrow and do it again.”


Amos Williams, 24, and a 2019 17th Round pick by the Nationals out of Georgia Tech, earned five saves and posted a 1.90 ERA, 25 Ks, and a .198 BAA in 20 appearances between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Rochester this season (in 23 23 IP).

His work this season earned him another promotion and an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues, after 90 games and 145 13 IP in four seasons in the Nats’ minor league system (over which he put up a 3.84 ERA overall).

“Amos Willingham, yeah, young kid, worked his way up to Triple-A, he was throwing the ball really well,” manager Davey Martinez said before last night’s series opener in Seattle, after it was officially announced that Willingham was joining the club.

“We decided to maybe get him up here and take a look at him. But he throws in the mid-to-upper 90s, the thing about it is he throws strikes, he’ll attack the strike zone. So we’re going to give him a shot. And hopefully, like I said, we’re trying to look for somebody who can fill that void anywhere in the fifth, sixth, seventh inning if need be. So we’ll see how he does.”

2022 Arizona Fall League Headshots Photo by Kelsey Grant/MLB Photos via Getty Images

In 29 games and 34 13 IP at Double-A in 2022, Willingham walked just seven batters (1.83 BB/9 on the year), and in the 10 games and 10 23 IP at AA this season, he walked just one (0.84 BB/9), though he walked eight in 13 IP at Triple-A before was called up (5.54 BB/9).

“His velo was a tick up,” Martinez said, offering a brief scouting report on Willingham’s run before he got the call, “... but his command got way better. So he’s throwing the ball, he’s throwing strikes, he’s attacking hitters, he worked on his secondary pitch, and he’s throwing that well as well.

“After talking to [GM Mike] Rizzo we thought now is the time to kind of bring him up and see where he’s at and give him a shot.”

Given where he was drafted, and how quickly he’s risen through the ranks, Martinez said he did consider it an organizational success when a pitcher like Willingham makes it to the big leagues.

“It’s awesome, and kudos to him, right,” the manager said, “... for working hard and getting up here.

“Now the big thing is to stay up here,” Martinez added. “That’s what we always tell all these young kids.

“‘Congratulations getting here, now the next step is to go out there, compete, and stay up here.’ But I’m excited. I’m excited [about] the fact that here is a guy that we drafted late, developed him, and he’s here to try to help us win games.”