Giants Stomp on Nationals; Strasburg Departs Early

As baseball season turns to the “j” months injuries have a way of depleting a team’s depth. Yesterday was not a good day for pitchers. Injuries knocked out pitchers Masahiro Tanaka, Walker Buehler, Shohei Ohtani and Stephen Strasburg. Stras was hit hard by the Giants, lasting only two innings in a 9-5 loss. It was later announced he was having shoulder issues and an MRI would be performed to determine the extent of his injuries. This is the time of year Strasburg appears on the disabled list because of an injury. This will test the lack of depth in the Nationals farm system as far as starting pitching.

Andrew McCutchen got things started for the Giants in the first inning, tagging Strasburg for a deep drive just reaching the bleacher seats in centerfield. The first two hitters in the order also made solid contact against Stras, hitting balls solidly to the outfield. While his fastball hit 97 and sat at 95 he was not getting the swings and misses he normally does.

In the second Strasburg gave up hits to the first four hitters he faced. Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence smashed doubles into the gap and Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernandez ripped singles to score two. If not for a wild pitch that hit the umpire, preventing the ball from going to the back stop and allowing Pedro Severino to throw Hernandez out at second for the first out the inning, the score could have been worse.

Shawn Kelley trotted out to pitch the third inning. Max Scherzer got the opportunity to make his second pinch hitting appearance in the bottom of the third and grounded out to short.

Wander Suero came on to pitch the fourth. Alen Hanson lined a 3-2 pitch into right field and hustled it into a triple, sliding between the legs of Anthony Rendon as Bryce Harper’s throw came into third. Gorky Hernandez blasted a pitch from Suero into the first row of the bleacher seats into centerfield. He also gave up a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Brandon Crawford on a hit that fell short of the glove of a sliding Juan Soto. McCutchen, who had singled earlier scored easily when the ball bounced away from the sprawling Soto.

The Nationals brought some life to the 42,000 plus in attendance in the fourth. Their 19 year old rookie blasted a drive into the left field bullpen, just over the glove of a leaping Hunter Pence to score the Nationals first two runs. They scored two more in the bottom of the fifth on a Bryce Harper two run single, a rare occurrence over the last couple weeks. This knocked Anderew Suarez from the game, falling two outs short of pitching five innings to get the win. They pulled to within one in the sixth when pinch hitter Matt Adams bounced a single down the third base line to score Michael Taylor to make the score 6-5.

Brandon Kintzler came on to pitch the seventh. The Giants feasted on him. A leadoff double by Joe Panik, two singles and a hit by pitch to the four of the five hitters he faced gave the Giants three runs. A hard line drive to short was his only out. Matt Grace, who was warming up in the bullpen when lefties Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval got on base against Kintzler, came in too late to contain the damage. Evan Longoria hit a pinch hit sacrifice fly to score the third run to make it 9-5.

The Nationals were retired meekly in their last three at bats.

Game Notes: The Nationals were forced to use seven pitchers on the mound because of the early Strasburg departure. They actually used 8 pitchers in the game if you count the Max Scherzer pinch hit…Alen Hanson singled and tripled in his first two at bats. That made him 6 for 6 with two doubles, a triple and a homerun during that time. The streak ended in his third at bat when he popped out to short…On the defensive side myworld was not impressed with the arm of Hanson at third base. On a play in the first inning he bounced a ball in the dirt on a ground ball down the line. He doesn’t appear to have the strong arm to play the position on a consistent basis, though he was a shortstop in his early years. He was slow getting up diving for a stop on the Matt Adams single down the line, Difo advancing to third with no one covering the bag. Juan Soto also made a couple poor defensive plays. He failed to come up with a sliding catch in the fifth inning, which would have been a good play, but he allowed the ball to bounce away from him to allow McCutchen to score from first. In the eighth he broke back for a ball hit by Mac Williamson and then had to come in, but the ball bounced in front of him…It appears Adam Eaton will be able to play on Saturday. Michael Taylor has started to hit, Juan Soto is impossible to get out and Bryce is in a big slump. The odd man out would appear to be Harper, who is hitting .174 for June with no extra base hits. The logical choice would be Taylor, but if he hits his defense saves a lot of runs. For the month of June Taylor is hitting .318 with three doubles and one homerun.

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