Skip to content
July 3, 2022 / Nat Anacostia

Nats’ June in review: ‘If you squint you might see everything coming together’

The Nationals in June were up and down. In the middle of the month, they went through a brutal stretch, losing  8 straight games. For a while, their pitching rotation was in shambles, and their bullpen was falling apart from exhaustion. Their June record was 1–11 against divisional rivals, but they went 10–5 against teams outside the division. As they ended the month, their pitching appeared to be solidifying, and they went 6–3 in their last nine games. And the games were more exciting! There were one- and two-run games with opportunities for the relievers to succeed (and fail) and for clutch hitting to matter. For the month as a whole, the Nats went 11–16 and finished the month with a 29–49 record, last place in the division and 19 games behind the Mets.

The month began with the Nats in New York playing the last game of a three-game series with the Mets. Alcides Escobar had been injured, so Luis Garcia was called up to play shortstop. They also needed a starter, so they called up Evan Lee from Double A to make his major league debut. They were shut out by the Mets (their second consecutive shutout) and swept in the series. Garcia would hit well in June and take over as the regular shortstop, but Lee soon found himself on the injured list.

Their next series was in Cincinnati against the Reds—the only team in the league with a record as bad as the Nats’. The Nats won three of four. The road trip concluded in Miami with a three-game series against the Marlins, and the Nats lost all three. The third game featured the return of Stephen Strasburg from his thoracic outlet surgery—his first game pitched in a year. It did not go well, and he quickly returned to the injured list with a “stress reaction of the ribs.”  The team had a 3–7 record on the road trip. With the Miami series, the Nats began an intense span of 14 games played in 13 days.

Returning to Washington, the Nats first faced the Brewers, who were leading the Central Division race. The Nationals won the first two games and lost the last one. Next came the Braves, who came into the series having won 11 straight games. When the Braves left three days later, they had won 14 straight games. The series began inauspiciously when Josiah Gray was scratched from his start when long rain delay occurred after he was fully warmed up. The already depleted bullpen had to pitch 9 innings and gave up 9 runs. The next night, Jackson Tetreault started, making his major league debut in another loss. The Braves completed their sweep in the third game, and the Phillies came to town.

Since firing manager Joe Girardi, the Phillies had been on a 10–2 hot streak. The series, which began on Thursday, was five games in four days with a double-header on Friday. On Thursday, the Phillies clobbered the Nats 10 to 1. The Phillies swept the doubleheader too, but the games were close—with their 2–1 win in the second game coming in the tenth inning and impacted by a controversial umpiring decision. Before Saturday’s game, Ryan Zimmerman‘s number 11 was retired in an emotional ceremony.  The Nats tried really hard to win that game, but lost it 8 to 7, again in the tenth inning. For Sunday’s game, they finally got a win after 8 straight losses by a decisive 9 to 3 score. Their record on the home stand was 3–8.

The next road trip began close to home with two games in Baltimore. They shut out the Orioles in the first game, but the next night were shut out by the Birds in a rain-delayed six-inning game. The brief road trip concluded with a three-game series in Texas against the Rangers. The Nats won the first and third games and lost the second, giving them a 3–2 record on the road trip.

The month concluded at home with a three game series against the Pirates. The Nats won the first two games, both of which were low scoring and close. By this point, the Nats’ starters had pitched well in nine of their last ten starts. The Bucs won the final game, another close game but with a higher score (8 to 7), with another controversial umpire call (this one dealing with an obscure rule that calls for a “fourth out” to be called in an unusual situation that most of us have never seen in a lifetime of watching games).

Besides Lee and Tetreault, a few other players debuted with the team during June. Utility player Ehire Adrianza made his first appearance as a Nat after a stint on the 60-day IL due to a left quad injury. Reliever Reed Garrett was called up. He’s 29 years old and pitched briefly for the Tigers 2019 before spending two years in Japan with the Seibu Lions. Reliever Cory Abbott is 26 years old and was claimed off waivers from the Giants after pitching with the Cubs last season. Departing the team was Dee Strange-Gordon, who was designated for assignment. When Adrianza and Escobar were both finally available on the bench, Strange-Gordon had become redundant.

Record:

11–16 (.407)

Pythagorean Record:

10–17 (4.04 R/G – 5.44 RA/G)

June MVP:

Josh Bell (.358/.447/.695, 7 HR, 15 R, 18 RBI, 204 wRC+, 1.6 fWAR)

Pitcher of the month:

Josiah Gray (1–0, 1.50 RA/9, 4 GS, 24 IP, 10.5 K/9, .232 opp OBP, 1.3 RA9-WAR)

Reliever of the month:

Carl Edwards, Jr. (2–1, 3.94 RA/9, 14 G, 16 IP, 8.4 K/9, .250 opp OBP, 3.65 RE24, 0.2 RA9-WAR, 7 shutdowns, 1 meltdown)

Worst month:

Joan Adon (0–3, 10.13 RA/9, 3 GS, 13⅓ IP, 8.1 K/9, .415 opp OBP, –0.5 RA9-WAR), a performance that had him sent back to Rochester

Best start this month:

Patrick Corbin (June 28, 3–1 win over the Pirates at home) pitched 8 innings, giving up 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks and striking out 12 for a game score of 78.

Worst start:

Joan Adon (June 7, 12–2 loss to the Marlins in Miami) gave up 8 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings with 3 strikeouts for a game score of 13.

Tough loss:

  • Paolo Espino (June 12, 4–1 loss to the Brewers at home) pitched 3⅔ innings and gave up 1 run on 4 hits and no walks, while striking out 2, for a game score of 51 in his first start of the year.

Cheap wins:

  • Patrick Corbin (June 5, 5–4 win over the Reds in Cincinnati) gave up 3 runs on 9 hits and no walks in 6 innings, while striking out 5, for a game score of 47.
  • Patrick Corbin (June 11, 8–6 win over the Brewers at home) gave up 4 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings, while striking out 2, for a game score of 42.

Biggest shutdown:

Andres Machado (June 18, 2–1 loss to the Phillies in 10 innings at home). This was the day that Ryan Zimmerman’s number was retired. In the bottom of the ninth, Lane Thomas drove in the tying run and sent the game to extra innings. Reed Garrett, who had pitched a scoreless inning in the top of the ninth, was still on the mound in the tenth, when he gave up a single, scoring the ghost runner, followed by a walk and another single. When Machado got called into the game in the top of the tenth, the Nats were trailing 2–1 with the bases loaded and no outs. Machado got Castellanos to ground to second, forcing the runner at home. Then he got a pop fly from Realmuto and a fly out from Herrera to end the inning with no further damage. (Win probability added/WPA +.285) The Nats, however, were unable to score in the bottom of the inning and lost the game.

Worst meltdown:

Tanner Rainey (June 8, 2–1 loss to the Marlins in Miami). Facing Sandy Alcantara, who pitched 9 scoreless innings, Josiah Gray and the Nats’ bullpen had managed to keep the game a scoreless tie through 9. In the top of the tenth, the Nats drove in their ghost runner to go ahead 1–0, and Rainey got the call to close out the game in the bottom of the tenth. He got a lineout from Cooper for the first out. Astudillo hit a bloop single to right and Chisholm raced home. He was initially called out, but the call was reversed when replay review determined that Keibert Ruiz had blocked the plate, which tied the game. Astudillo had advanced to second on the play. The next batter, Aguilar, grounded up the middle. The ball deflected off second base and into center field while Astudillo sprinted home, giving the Marlins a walk-off win. (WPA –.556)

Clutch hit:

Maikel Franco (June 27, 3–2 win over the Pirates at home). The Nats were trailing 2–1 when Franco came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the eighth and Luis Garcia on second. Franco launched the first pitch into the Pirates bullpen, putting the Nats ahead 3–2. (WPA +.574)

Choke:

Luis Garcia (June 29, 8–7 loss to the Pirates at home). In the bottom of the eighth with 2 outs, the Nats had the bases loaded and were trailing 8 to 7. Garcia lined out to left field to end the inning and the potential rally (WPA –.199).

Memorable offensive plays:

Memorable fielding plays:

%d bloggers like this: