Pitcher Max Scherzer wasn’t at his best — allowing four fifth-inning runs — but the three-time Cy Young Award winner was good enough to earn his second victory of the season.
Once Scherzer’s day was done, Kyle Finnegan, Tanner Rainey and Daniel Hudson retired seven straight batters to halt Miami’s potential rally and secure a 5-4 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.
All seemed right in the universe as the Washington Nationals jumped out to an early lead and were cruising to an apparent victory against the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles.
That is, until relievers Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson imploded in horrific fashion during a cover-your-eyes collapse that turned a three-run lead into a 5-3 loss. Homers by Pat Valaika, Pedro Severino and Anthony Santander sparked the Orioles’ comeback and left Doolittle searching for answers.
“I should be able to get through an inning and it just hasn’t come together. I feel terrible. I’m letting the team down. I want to help. I want to be a part of that group,” said Doolittle, who now sports a 18.00 earned run average in four appearances this season. The loss drops the Nationals to 4-7 on this season, which is troublesome because they have yet to play a game away from Nats Park.
The Toronto Blue Jays hosted the defending World Series champions, the Washington Nationals, during an early-season matchup at Nationals Park. If that sentences baffles you, you’re not alone. Welcome to life during a pandemic.
Thanks to COVID-19, the Blue Jays are unable to play games at their Toronto stadium. While the long-term plan for the abbreviated 2020 season involves playing at a Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo, the Blue Jays had to settle for a few empty ballpark home games in D.C. in the interim.
Outfielder Michael A. Taylor’s second home run of the season and a two-run double by catcher Kurt Suzuki helped Washington pick up consecutive wins for the first time this season. Relief pitcher Ryne Harper got five outs in the 6-4 win and closer Daniel Hudson notched his first save.
While the weather was anything but cooperative, the Washington Nationals still manage to make it a day to remember as they added outfielder Jayson Werth to their Ring of Honor and swept a doubleheader against the visiting Chicago Cubs.
Ace Max Scherzer went the distance for his 17th win of the season in a 10-3 route to start the day and the dynamic duo of Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper went a combined three of five with three walks and four runs batted in to complete the sweep.
In between both games, Washington paused to acknowledge Werth’s contributions to the Nationals. During the ceremony, the team presented him with three gifts — a ring presented by the Lerner family; a photo from the celebration after his walk-off home run to win Game 4, signed by all of his 2012 teammates presented by general manager Mike Rizzo; and a camouflage rocking chair, presented by Ryan Zimmerman on behalf of his teammates.
Starting pitcher Steven Strasburg lasted just two innings before leaving the game due to tightness in his shoulder.
The Washington Nationals can only hold their breath now and hope for a speedy recover for their ace. In the meantime, they are going to need a better all-around performance than this from those players who are healthy and remain in the lineup.
It’s also worth noting that allowing the San Francisco Giants to rack up 15 hits and nine runs isn’t exactly the most productive way to improve the team’s mediocre 15-15 record at home.