Jake Irvin tossed four scoreless, working around one hit and three walks on the road in Milwaukee last week, but the 26-year-old starter didn’t make it out of the fifth.
A leadoff walk, two-out walk, and back-to-back home runs brought his outing to an end after he threw 102 pitches in 4 2⁄3 innings pitched.
“The walks and home runs,” manager Davey Martinez said of what led to Irvin’s outing ending when it did.
“That’s what got him in trouble. But he competed, got out of some jams early.
“We were hoping to get him through the fifth inning. It’s just that the walks got him.”
Most frustrating for Irvin was the fact he got a 3-0 lead to work with before he took the mound against the Brewers.
“It stinks, man,” Irvin said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“The offense did what they have been doing all year. They put up three runs early, and it’s my job to secure that for us and get us deep into that ballgame. And I didn’t do that today. It’s very frustrating.”
His manager said it was an anomalous start for the rookie hurler, who’s given the club solid turns in the rotation on a regular basis this season, going 5+ innings in 13 of his previous 16 starts.
“I want to see him bounce back after this one,” Martinez said. “He’s been doing really well. He really has. He’s the one constant pitcher who’s been going 5-6+ innings for us, so we’ll take a look at everything tomorrow, we’ll see where he’s at and try to get him ready for his next start if everything is well.”
Going up against the Atlanta Braves last night in the nation’s capital, Irvin worked around a two-out single in a scoreless first, and two walks in the second inning, but the second time around the visitor’s lineup, he gave up a leadoff triple by Ronald Acuña, Jr. (on a full-count curve up and in), an RBI double by Ozzie Albies (another full-count in an 11-pitch at-bat), an RBI single by Austin Riley (on a 2-2 curve up in the zone outside), a single by Matt Olson (on a 2-2 sinker not far enough in), a third run on an RBI groundout by Marcell Ozuna, an RBI double by Michael Harris II (on a 2-2 sinker down the middle), RBI single by Travis d’Arnaud (on a 1-1 sinker up and in), and a two-out walk (on his 50th pitch of the inning and 80th of the game).
That was, mercifully, it for Irvin in the outing, with the Nationals going to the pen early in what ended up a 10-3 loss in the first game of this weekend’s four-game set.
Irvin gave up seven hits, three walks, and five earned runs before he was done.
“Good hitters, all the way through,” he said of his first career start against the Nationals’ NL East rivals.
“Hats off to those guys. They’ve put together a great year, but got to see firsthand kind of what they can do at the plate, so...”
“Jake just fell behind a lot of good hitters,” his manager said.
“When you fall behind, you got to give them good pitches to hit, and that’s what happened tonight. He threw a lot of pitches, but he fell behind a lot.”
“I think it’s just kind of fighting myself at times,” Irvin explained, when asked about what had changed the second time around the lineup. “And it’s tough to face a lineup when you don’t feel 100%, and that’s on me, got to be better.”
Both the skipper and starter said there was plenty to learn from even the rough outings that every pitcher has to struggle through in the course of a season.
“I told him, I said, ‘Hey, not everything is going to go smooth. You’re going to get your lumps,’” Martinez said, “... just understand what you need to do to get better.
“His stuff is really good, as we know. Today, he was just — he just fell behind on some really good hitters.”
“I think that’s kind of what I’m trying to do right now, is just learn every outing, especially being in uncharted territory for myself innings-wise,” he said, after reaching 121 IP overall this season.
“Trying to learn as much, and soak up as much as I can, but we want to be in the position [the Braves are in now] next year.
“So, trying to learn a lot from that,” he continued, “see the things that they do, but also just continue to make pitches, compete and learn more about myself, and ourselves as we get deeper into the season.”
Since he brought up the uncharted territory he’s in at this point: Martinez talked about what is next for the rookie after last night’s outing.
“We’ll let him marinate tonight, and talk to him tomorrow. We’ll see where we’re at with him tomorrow,” he said. “I’m sure he’s going to talk to me — he don’t want to finish the season like that, I know that, but I’m going to make sure we go everything and see where we’re at with him and then we’ll go from there.”