October 19, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 136 Review: Rendon, Harper and Werth Come Up Big

NATS SWEEP BRAVES, NARROW DIVISION GAP TO 4

The Washington Nationals went for their first four-game sweep of the season Sunday afternoon at Nationals Park, and they got it, finishing the Atlanta Braves with an 8-4 thumping. The Mets lost in the ninth inning, and the Nationals won, bringing the deficit to be overcome to four games, just in time for a three-game series against the division leader. Powered by home runs from Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, and with 4.2 IP of scoreless ball from the bullpen, the Nationals completed the sweep.

With Ryan Zimmerman, a last-minute scratch due to foot soreness, the Nationals substituted Tyler Moore at first base. Zimmerman’s latest hot streak has been incredible, but the Nationals managed to do just fine without the face of the franchise.

The Braves struck first, getting a leadoff double off the bat of Nick Markakis. Two outs later, Markakis rounded third on a Nick Swisher single to right, and charged home, testing Harper’s arm in right. Harper’s throw was right on the mark, but Wilson Ramos could not handle the ball, and Markakis scored easily. Harper was charged with an error.

The Nationals added five runs in the bottom of the second in an offensive explosion they’ve been waiting for. Yunel Escobar lead off with a single to left, and Ian Desmond drew a full-count walk to put runners at first and second with one out for Michael A. Taylor, making his first start in since Wednesday’s heroics. Taylor smashed a double to the left field corner, allowing Escobar and Desmond to score, and giving the Nationals a 2-1 lead.

They weren’t done yet. Joe Ross worked the count all the way full, and Manny Banuelos tried to handicap Ross in on his hands, but the pitch got away from him and hit Ross in his hip. Jayson Werth followed up with a no-doubt homer to left to put the Nats up 5-1.

Bryce Harper lead off the third with an opposite field home run, his 34th of the season, to make it 6-1. Yunel Escobar completed Manny Banuelos’ day, getting an infield single despite an athletic play by Andrelton Simmons. Sugar Ray Marimon would make his second appearance in the series, where he would experience the defensive power of the Atlanta Braves at its fullest. Marimon walked his first batter, Ian Desmond. Michael A. Taylor reached on an error by Michael Bourn in center, as the outfield communication was particularly lacking, loading the bases.

Tyler Moore hit a hard grounder to the leftside, but Adonis Garcia couldn’t make the transfer from glove to throwing hand, scoring Escobar, and Moore made it to first. Joe Ross, batting with the bases loaded, grounded into a 6u-3 double play to end the inning at 7-1.

Anthony Rendon hit his fourth home run in the season in the bottom of the fourth to make it 8-2 Nationals, getting back a run lost by Joe Ross in the top of the inning. Ross had a rough day, going 4.1 IP and surrendering 5 hits and 4 runs with 3 walks. The bullpen, though, kept it together for the Nationals, getting 4.2 IP of scoreless ball, with outings from Sammy Solis, Casey Janssen, Felipe Rivero, Drew Storen and Jonathan Papelbon to walk away with it.

HERO: Jayson Werth for his 3-run jack in the 2nd to put the Nats up 5-1. Yunel Escobar (3-for-5, 2 runs), and Bryce Harper (2-for-4, HR, RBI) get honorable mentions.

GOAT: No goats today! Finally. That feels good to type.

NATS NOTES:

  • Tomorrow begins the most important series in the Nationals season so far. If you can get to Nationals Park tomorrow for their 1:05pm, you owe it to this team to get there.
  • Bryce Harper continues his MVP Campaign. He leads MLB in Slugging, OPS, WAR, and OBP. He leads the NL in batting average and runs scored.
  • The four-game sweep against the Braves was their first home 4-game sweep of a divisional opponent since returning to Washington

NEXT UP: The Biggest Series of the Year starts tomorrow at 1:05pm, Max Scherzer vs. Jonathan Niese. Be there.

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.

%d bloggers like this: