NATS WIN SECOND STRAIGHT:
San Francisco Giants’ starter Logan Webb threw 10 pitches to Washington Nationals’ hitters in a quick, 1-2-3 first, but then Joey Meneses battled the right-hander for nine pitches before he got hold of a changeup outside and lined it to right for a single to start the bottom of the second.
Keibert Ruiz worked for 10 pitches before drawing a walk, after the leadoff hit, and in the next at-bat, Dominic Smith battled Webb for 10 pitches before singling to center to drive Meneses in for the first run of the game, 1-0 Nats.
With no one out in the inning, Webb was up to 29 pitches in the frame, and 39 in the game.
By the time Alex Call tripled to drive in two more runs, making it 5-0 (after Corey Dickerson drove in the fourth run of the inning), Webb was up to 49 pitches, and CJ Abrams homered on the Giants’ starter’s 51st overall pitch to end Webb’s outing with the score 6-0 in what ended up a 10-1 win.
BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT BOMB. CJ ABRAMS. pic.twitter.com/kFQRMpNHuf— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 23, 2023
Josiah Gray, coming off a 10-hit, four-run, five-inning outing in his initial second-half start, went seven innings on an efficient 87 pitches, giving up four hits, three walks, and one run.
Going into the start, Gray’s manager, Davey Martinez, talked about what he wanted to see from his 25-year-old starter after the right-hander struggled last time out.
“He’s got to get ahead, he’s got to throw strikes, he’s got to utilize his fastball,” Martinez told reporters.
“We talked a lot about that with him,” the Nats’ skipper added. “When he throws his fastball and he keeps the ball down, he’s very efficient, so we got to get him back to that.
“The key with [Gray] is he’s got establish his fastball. It makes his breaking ball that much better, so regardless of what breaking ball he’s going to throw today, his fastball — he’s got locate his fastball and get ahead and everything else will be that much better.”
Gray threw his slider 26% of the time, his curveball 22% of the time, cutter 20%, his sinker 10%, changeup 8%, sweeper 8%, and his four-seamer 6% of the time, generating a total of 12 swinging strikes, and 13 called strikes in the outing.
He walked the first two batters he faced, before stranding them both, and the leadoff batter in the second. He gave up a run in the third, with a single, double, and sac fly, but held it at one run through seven innings.
Josiah Gray, Nasty 86mph Slider. pic.twitter.com/8gSjnCEloz— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 23, 2023
“Josiah was good,” Martinez said in his post game presser.
“After the first two batters, he settled down and he got ahead of 26 hitters, which is great.
“So, like I said it before, you get pitching like that, we hit the ball well, but the pitching is what really got us going. So yesterday was good, today was really good, so I like the trend.”
To get a win on the same day they introduced their recently-signed 2023 1st Round pick to the nation’s capital, meant a lot to the manager.
“Big day. Big day for us. Like I’ve said, the future is bright here. We’re excited about it. Our young guys are playing really well. Veteran guys are keeping us grounded. So just a really good day. It’s been a good weekend so far. So let’s finish up tomorrow and go 1-0.”
DYLAN CREWS INTRODUCTION:
Before he was selected by the Nationals with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, Dylan Crews won a Golden Spikes Award, which is awarded to, “the top amateur baseball player in the United States based on their athletic ability, sportsmanship, character, and overall contribution to the sport,” as a junior at LSU.
Crews, 21, was a consensus First-Team All-American, and he, “won a Rawlings/ABCA Gold Glove following the 2023 season,” on his way to helping the Tigers win a seventh national championship in the 2023 College World Series.
“Crews hit .426 with 16 doubles, two triples, 18 home runs, 70 RBI, 71 walks, 46 strikeouts, six stolen bases and 100 runs scored in 71 games as he helped lead LSU to its seventh national championship in the 2023 College World Series,” the Nationals wrote in their press release on the selection.
“He posted a .567 on-base percentage and a .713 slugging percentage. Crews led the SEC and ranked among NCAA Division I hitters in runs scored (1st, 100), walks (1st, 71), hits (2nd, 110), on-base percentage (2nd, .567) and batting average (3rd, .426).
So, yes, the Nationals were excited to be introducing their new prospect to the nation’s capital at his introductory press conference in Washington, D.C. yesterday.
“Another exciting day here at Nationals Park,” GM Mike Rizzo said in his opening statement.
“Over the years that I’ve been here,” he continued, “... we’ve been here many times, and few occasions can match the excitement that we have today. To get into the organization one of the most decorated, accomplished, winning-type of players in collegiate history to join the Washington Nationals is a special occasion for us.
“This is a player that left it on the field all season at LSU. We’ve scouted him since his high school career and through LSU, and [he had] one of the most magnificent careers that any college player has ever had.
“Winning the national championship I think was the culmination of his collegiate career, and we have way bigger and way more important goals to accomplish with Dylan here.”
“It’s all happened so fast, honestly,” Crews said of a whirlwind couple months from the end of his collegiate career, to the draft, and his introduction in Nationals Park.
“From competing for the national championship, and winning that, and the Gold Spikes and getting drafted to a great organization, it’s all happened so fast. It’s honestly kind of hard to enjoy everything.
“But I’ve learned how to slow things down and be where my feet are every single day. So I’ve enjoyed it. Like I said, I couldn’t be happier with where I am today.”
“I listened to his press conference,” Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez said before the 10-1 win over the San Francisco Giants last night, “...and it sounds like he’s got a great plan. I sat there and I listened to him talk about being where his feet are and I thought, ‘Man, that’s a young Dave Martinez right there. Not bad.’ But it’s good. We’re all excited to have him. Now he’ll go down and get his feet wet and get him going.
“And hopefully he goes down there [to the minors] and does the things that we know he can do and he makes his way up here as soon as possible.”
Rizzo said the plan was to send Crews to the club’s Spring Training facilities to start, before sending him out to an affiliate at some point this season.
“We’re going to get him acclimated to the organization,” Rizzo explained.
“First of all, he’s going to run around the outfield today under the guidance of manager Dave Martinez, and have a little fun out there. Then we’re going to get to work, get to business. Everyone’s got a different plan of development. I think we’re going to start in West Palm Beach, get acclimated to the organization, and then he’ll probably head somewhere — one of the A-ball clubs, soon thereafter. But it’ll all be driven by where he’s at and how rusty he is from the season and that type of thing.
“But I don’t think it should take very long for him to get into the swing of things and to get rolling.”
Martinez liked what he saw from Crews on the field in D.C.
“He did some things that surprised me a little bit, but I really liked it, I really did,” Martinez said. “He stayed inside the baseball really well, he used his legs, but it was a good first impression. Even though I’ve seen him play in college, it’s always a little different when you’re on a big league field. But his ball was coming off the bat hot, so there was no difference between the way he was hitting and the guys that we had here. The ball was coming off the bat hot, so it was good.”
Crews didn’t bite when a reporter asked him for a timetable on how long it’s going to take him to get up to the majors.
“I’m just going to play my game, at the end of the day,” he said. “I’m going to do what I can to try my best and perform to the highest I can perform, and that decision is up to the Nats, and however fast I get up, that’s up to them, but I’m going to play my game at the end of the day.”
“It’s always great to add a keystone-type of player in the organization,” Rizzo said. “Like I’ve said before, we’ve been here before. And when I was out and about seeing some of the top players in the country this year, I knew I had my pick when I left the University of Mississippi against LSU. So it was something that we, you know, there was a lot of decision-making, there was a lot of thought put into this, but my instinct was when I left that ballpark, I knew who we were taking.”
Crews, he added, “... is not only a unique player, but a player that I’ve seen for years. I’ve seen him grow as a player. He’s been the man for three years at LSU. He had to add the target on his back and you would never know it. He plays with a slow pulse and a slow heart rate, a lot like [2006 Nats’ 1st Round pick] Anthony Rendon was when I saw him at Rice. And this is a guy that it was about one thing. It wasn’t going 4-for-4 and impressing the scouts. It was about winning that game. And I would solo in on him, and he’s pitch-to-pitch, and a guy that took great pains in preparation, and not only pregame, during the game, but postgame I’d watch him in the dugout and he was always helping people and trying to get the edge.”
Crews said he looked forward to showing everyone in the organization what Rizzo and Co. saw when they scouted him.
“I’m just going to go out there, doesn’t matter what day it is, give it all I got, and leave it out on the field,” he said.
“All I want to do is win, really. I hope to bring that to this organization, and hope to bring other guys along with my game and hope to impact others as well.”