December 10, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 118 Review: Offense Awakes, Rockies Stunned, Nats Win 15-6

NATS SLIDE STOPS AT SIX, OFFENSE EXPLODES FOR 15 RUNS, 10 WALKS

With the season on the line, and a new batting order in place, the first ten minutes of Tuesday night’s game held a lot of hope for the Nationals. Bryce Harper drew a walk in the three slot, and Yunel Escobar crushed a homer to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead.

And then the Rockies came to the plate.

The Rockies scored three in the first, and added another in the seconds, on a pair of home runs off Jordan Zimmermann, and some horrific defensive miscues by Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond.

Carlos Gonzalez was the first to strike for Colorado, sending a 1-1 fastball high in the air over the fence in right field. Jose Reyes came in ahead of Gonzalez after a smooth single. The Rockies would add one more on some ham-handed defense by Ian Desmond. With Nolan Arenado at third, Nick Hundley hit a routine grounder right to Desmond, who couldn’t pick it cleanly, nor hold on to the ball

The Nationals fought back in the third, getting a Danny Espinosa double, and a Bryce Harper walk to put the tying run at first base with one out. Escobar singled up the middle, scoring the fleet-footed Espinosa, and Harper gunned it for third on the play. Ian Desmond followed with the world’s luckiest bunt single, badly misread by David Hale. Hale came charging in, but didn’t complete the charge to cover home as Nick Hundley fielded the ball. Harper spotted the miscue and snuck right down the third base line to score the tying run, knotting the score at 3.

In the fifth, newly-minted leadoff hitter Jayson Werth racked out a single on the sweet spot with two outs, and Espinosa knocked him right in on a double to the right field corner to take the lead. Next frame, the Nationals would strike on another gutsy baserunning play, this time by Ian Desmond. With Wilson Ramos batting, and Desmond at third, Hale threw a wild pitch that just got away from Hundley at the plate. Desmond broke as soon as the pitch looked wild and charged the plate well ahead of the relay back from Hundley, making it 6-4.

The Rockies tied it in the sixth on a monster shot from Jose Reyes, leading many to question why perhaps Zimmermann was still in the game. Clearly struggling after five innings, he had given up five runs, but there he was, batting for himself in the top of the sixth.

With the game tied, the Nationals had to make a push. The Mets had finished their victory over the Baltimore Orioles, and moved to a five-game lead over the NL East. And push they did. The Nats put up nine runs from the seventh onward, including four in the eighth and ninth. Bryce Harper drew his fourth walk of the night, Danny Espinosa drew up a 3-for-5 with 2 RBI, Jayson Werth went 2-for-5 in the leadoff slot, and Yunel Escobar racked up 4 RBI in a 3-for-4 with two walks.

The bullpen did a remarkable job of shutting down the Rockies, with Drew Storen throwing a scoreless eighth and Tanner Roark doing the same in the ninth to shut the Rockies down for good. Jordan Zimmermann did surrender six runs, including a pair of unearned runs thanks to bad defense, but the young pitcher looked gassed after five full, and why he was left in despite that remains a mystery. Thankfully for the Nationals, the Rockies had their own troubles Tuesday night.

HERO: Let’s give this one to Matt Williams, who shuffled the lineup to some actual success. Whether it was the movement, or some other psychosomatic change, let’s give this guy one. After all, if they lose the next two he might still be in the BLS report next month.

GOAT: Wilson Ramos puts up an 0-for-5 on the day and looked atrocious at the plate.

NATS NOTES:

  • Harper’s four walks are a career high
  • Escobar’s four RBI match a season high
  • The Nats’ 15 runs and 10 walks are both season highs

NEXT UP: Rematch! Nationals/Rockies return tomorrow night at 8:40pm. Strasburg vs De La Rosa.

About Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals. Tom has been in love with baseball since he was 10. He is a founding editor of We Love DC, where he covered the Nationals and Capitals as a credentialed writer for four seasons. He grew up as an Oakland Athletics fan in the Central Valley in California, where he learned to appreciate Bill King, Mark McGwire and even Tony LaRussa. By day, he is a partner at Technolutionary LLC, where he handles IT operations. He cannot abide the Cardinals. You can follow Tom on Twitter @TomBridgeDSP.

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