Ka-Boom to Ker-Plunk

In any sport you can go from hero to goat in a flash. Carter Kieboom discovered that on Friday night. In the bottom of the eighth, with the Nationals down 3-2, Kieboom led off the inning by driving a ball to deep centerfield. Manuel Margot went back on the ball, leaped and came up short as the ball travelled over the fence to tie the game.

Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth Kieboom got another opportunity. The Nationals loaded the bases off Padres closer Kirby Yates. Kieboom worked the count to 2-2. His next pitch, a nasty splitter dove into the dirt, Kieboom swung at it and missed. The catcher tagged him out and the Nationals lost another game the bullpen swallowed.

Max Scherzer was strong at the start throwing four perfect shutout innings, while striking out six. The Nationals gave him a lead in the bottom of the fourth on a two run homer from Yan Gomes that landed on the planters in left field for a homerun. After the Gomes homerun the next 11 hitters failed to get on base.

In the top of the fifth Eric Hosmer drove a 0-2 pitch from Scherzer into the right field bleachers to cut the lead to one. In the seventh he struggled with his control, getting behind in the count to four of the five batters he faced. A double down the left field line by Wil Myers and a single up the middle by Manny Machado tied the score. Another single by Eric Hosmer put runners on first and third with one out. Scherzer K’d Ian Kinsler and Franmil Reyes was picked off third by catcher Gomes.

Matt Strahm stymied the Nationals bats. He gave up a two run homer to Gomes in the fourth but he also struck eight batters in six innings, five of them looking. The Nationals need to be more aggressive at swinging the bat, taking too many called third strikes. Strahm was gone after six and Scherzer was pinch hit for in the bottom of the seventh.

The Nationals bullpen does what it does best in the eighth inning. It implodes. Kyle Barraclough got the first opportunity. He walked the first hitter he faced, Austin Hedges, missing on a 3-2 pitch. Ty France got his first major league hit, pulling a single through the hole into left field. That was it for Barraclough. Wander Suerro came in to replace him. Fernando Tatis grounded one back to the box. Suerro turned to second to get two, threw the ball in the dirt but still got the out at second. Not turning the double play turned critical when Suerro threw a wild pitch that was ruled a passed ball to score Hedges and give the Padres a 3-2 lead.

After Kieboom homered to tie the game the Nationals went to their best reliever Sean Dolittle. He did not prove best enough. Hunter Dozier lined a 1-2 pitch into the centerfield bleachers to give the Padres a 4-3 lead. Kirby Yates was able to protect it, loading the bases but striking out Carter Kieboom for his 13th save. The Padres have only won 15 games.

Nats Notes: Carter Kieboom was the second player out of the dugout after Max Scherzer. The Nationals were also selling Kieboom jerseys at their stores…Max Scherzer struck out the side in the sixth. That put him at 2,500 strikeouts…Myworld was supposed to go to the game today but a volleyball tournament had me running late. We still tried to make it but Metro failed me, shutting down the station I wanted to get on. The still unreliable Metro. They provided shuttle service, but we were already running late so we returned back home…The eight K’s by Matt Strahm were a career high…Fernando Tatis had his 12 game hitting streak broken on an 0 for four day.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.