May 24, 2018

Washington Nationals Game 34 Review: Votto slams Nats with walk-off homer against Hot Rod

The game was delayed for over three hours due to a steady rain that fell in the Cincinnati area overnight, continued into the morning, and just kept on falling throughout the game. Maybe now the Nats wish they went ahead and called it.

Leading 6-5 going into the bottom of the ninth, “Bad Henry” showed up again, as Henry Rodriguez gave up a seeing-eye single ahead of two walks, bringing up Joey Votto, who had only gone 3-for-4 with two home runs and a double to that point in the game. On a 2-2 fastball that caught too much of the plate, Votto ended it, sending the 96-MPH offering into the batter’s eye in center field, delivering a walk-off grand slam and a 9-6 win for the Reds.

It’s easy to blame an erratic closer who walked two batters with two outs, but the Nats had every opportunity to blow this game wide open earlier but couldn’t convert, stranding an incredible 14 runners in the game.

But the bottom line is that the Nats couldn’t figure out a way to retire Joey Votto all day. He homered twice off Nats starter Edwin Jackson and doubled off Sean Burnett in the eighth inning. Votto came around to score two batters later, when Jay Bruce lined a shot to the wall in right field that Bryce Harper lost in the mist and twilight, falling in safely for a double and scoring two runs in the process.

Votto’s final line for the day: 4-for-5, three home runs, four runs scored and six RBIs.

Jackson fought through five innings, allowing three runs on five hits, walking no one and striking out four.

The offense came to play today, but just couldn’t cash in enough of their opportunities. The Nats pounded out 16 hits and walked five times, but went 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left an astounding 14 on base.

THE GOOD: The offense, at least the get on base part of it. Seven Nats hitters had two hits in the game. The Nats also hit five doubles.

THE BAD: The offense, the driving in runs part. The Nats had an almost unbelievable 19 at bats with runners in scoring position and could only cash in for six runs. The 14 men left on is a season high.

THE UGLY: Hot Rod. As good as he was Saturday night, that’s how bad he was Sunday. There’s no way to sugar coat it. Four earned on two hits and two walks, with several balls in the dirt.

THE STATS: 16 hits, 5 BBs, 10 Ks. 6-for-19 with RISP, 14 LOB. E: Desmond (5).

NEXT GAME: Monday against the San Diego Padres at 7:05 pm at Nats Park. Ross Detwiler (3-2, 2.10 ERA) hosts Tim Staffuer, making his first start of the season.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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