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Nationals Run Into Red Hot Guardians

After taking three out of four against the Braves, the Nationals headed up north for an interleague matchup with the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians ended up taking the first two contests with a 7-1 victory on Friday and a 3-2 win on Saturday, while Washington took Sunday’s game by the score of 5-2.

The Nats closed out the weeklong road trip in Atlanta and Cleveland going 4-3, bringing the team’s overall record to 27-31 on the season. The pitching was strong for the most part while the offense had some key moments once again.

After four strong pitching performances against Atlanta, the Nats had to rely on the “black sheep” of the rotation in Patrick Corbin for Friday’s blowout loss. Corbin had yet another abysmal performance where he gave up six hits and two earned runs in six innings.

After this contest, Corbin is now 1-6 with an ERA of 5.83 and a WAR of -0.8, along with the most hits (85), earned runs (43), home runs (9), and walks (26) allowed by any Washington pitcher in 2024. It’s only a matter of time before the ballclub decides to make a move with the 2019 World Series champion.

The bullpen didn’t fare much better either in that game, as the Guardians have a stacked lineup of batters such as Jose Ramirez, Steven Kwan, and David Fry that stepped up in this series.

The lone Nationals run came in the top of the seventh when Eddie Rosario hit an RBI double to right and sent home Luis Garcia Jr.

Saturday’s game was much closer, as Mitchell Parker got the start for Washington and struck out five Cleveland batters, but gave up three earned runs in 5.2 innings with a pitch count of 98. Despite this, there was a point where Parker struck out 13 of his last 15 through the fifth inning.

Down 3-0 in the top of the fourth, the Nationals offense responded with Joey Meneses hitting a sacrifice groundout to score Lane Thomas, followed by Jesse Winker hitting an RBI single. However, the team wasn’t able to tie it up after that, losing the series as a result.

Washington fared much better in the series finale on Sunday, as Jake Irvin had himself another stellar performance. Irvin began the contest by tossing 14 consecutive strikes before he finally threw a ball. He finished with six strikeouts through six innings pitched for his third win of the year.

Irvin also got some run support that really helped, as the Nats scored four runs in the top of the second. In that inning, Meneses hit a two-RBI double while Ildermaro Vargas and Thomas each had singles that drove in runs. Thomas later batted in another run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Finally, Kyle Finnegan came through in the final inning once again as he recorded his 16th save of the season, ending the Guardians’ nine-game home winning streak. Finnegan is now tied for fourth place with the Yankees’ Clay Holmes in terms of saves in 2024.

Next up, Washington returns home for a three-game series with the divisional rival New York Mets on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Nats Park.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


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