“We’re going to call up [Joan] Adon,” manager Davey Martinez told reporters Friday night, after announcing before the series opener in Cincinnati Trevor Williams would not return from the Bereavement List in time to face the Reds
“So [Adon will] start for us tomorrow and then we’ll see what happens after that.”
“He’s actually been throwing the ball a lot better,” Martinez explained when asked why the 24-year-old right-hander was the right choice, “… and I liked the way he threw the ball before we sent him back, but he’s got a little confidence coming [up], he’s been throwing the ball well, so he gets an opportunity to come in here and start for us tomorrow.”
Adon debuted in the majors in Game 162 of 162 in 2021, and made 14 starts in the Nationals’ rotation last season, but he made just two appearances for the big league club before their matchup with the Reds on Saturday, both out of the bullpen.
At Triple-Rochester, Adon had a 4.62 ERA, a 4.70 FIP, 4.11 BB/9, and 8.21 K/9 over 17 starts and 89 2⁄3 IP.
“He’s been attacking the strike zone,” the Nats’ skipper said when Adon came up in early July.
“His secondary pitches have been really good as well. He’s throwing them for strikes.”
“His fastball is in the mid-90s still, and he’s still throwing it for strikes, and utilizing his secondary pitches.”
While Martinez was expecting a solid outing from Adon, he probably didn’t foresee the starter retire the first 17 Reds’ hitters he faced, taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning before he gave up back-to-back, two-out singles, and a three-run home run, 6-3 in the Nationals’ favor.
Joan Adon's 2Ks in the 4th.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 5, 2023
6Ks thru 4. pic.twitter.com/Wm4YL3k1YU
Adon recorded the final out of the inning, and finished his outing 86 pitches total, 61 of them strikes in six strong over which he struck out seven without allowing a walk.
The starter threw 43% fastballs and 41% curves, mixing in a few changeups, sliders, and sinkers, but leaning heavily on his heater and breaking ball, generating seven swinging strikes, but 20 called strikes, 10 of them with his four-seamer and seven with his curve.
“The last time he was out there - I know he was in the bullpen - but he threw the ball a lot better,” Martinez said after a 7-3 win, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“He went down [to Triple-A] and worked on some things, and now he came back up here and polished up a lot of things. ... He did everything we asked of him to do, and that was awesome.”
“It was awesome to see him go out there, understand what he was trying to do and attack hitters, and do it well.
“Today, for me, was a perfect example of what he really can do. If he stays engaged, I can see him helping us win games here.”
“It felt great to be able to go out there and contribute and pitch the way I did for six innings,” Adon said, through translator Octavio Martinez, and as quoted on MASN.
“On the field, I felt like I had good command of all my pitches,” he added.
There would have been some decisions to make if he’d remained perfect through the home-half of the sixth.
“We had him pencilled in for about 80-85 pitches,” Martinez said. “I think he finished with maybe 86, so for six innings and 86 pitches, that was awesome.”
“I think he ran out of gas,” the sixth-year skipper added. “We talk about the breaking balls, he started leaving the breaking balls up a little bit, fastballs started creeping up a little bit. We tried to get him through that sixth inning, he finished, but like I said, he did a great job.”
Adon said he was starting to cramp up in the sixth, when he started having trouble on the mound.
“I don’t know what would’ve happened, because in that sixth inning, I started cramping,” he explained.
“That’s when I started feeling it. But no one wants to come out of a perfect game.”