A Doo-Littleless Pen Shines

There were a number of people who thought Dave Martinez had lost it Friday night. First he brought in Tony Sipp in the eighth, a lefty to face Freddie Freeman with the Nationals up 4-3. This is a lefty who has had trouble getting lefties out facing a future Hall of Famer. Tony struck out Freeman, then gave up a double to Josh Donaldson. When fans looked into the bullpen to look for Tanner Rainey warming up all they saw was Trevor Rosenthal. He of the 19.90 ERA. Did anyone tell Davey this was the Braves he was playing? It was like a nightmare for Nats fans. Pinch me to wake me up.

He allowed Sipp to face the lefty hitting Nick Martinez. Nick hit a harmless fly to left. Fans did their best to calm their racing hearts. Out walked Martinez from the pen. The hearts began running like it was a President’s race. In from the bullpen with the tying run at second came Trevor Rosenthal. To face the rookie Austin Riley. Who had clubbed a two run shot off Stephen Strasburg earlier in the game. This can not be a reality that I am witnessing.

Gotta give Trevor credit. He threw strikes. Worked the count to 1-2. Austin then hit a slow roller to Anthony Rendon. It appeared Anthony lost the ball briefly as you could see it hanging like a snow cone from his glove, but he was able to recover and throw Riley out at first. Disaster averted. Now quit fooling around. Bring in Doolittle.

But for the ninth that was Wander Suerro warming up in the bullpen. He of the above 5 ERA and no career saves on the back of his bubble game card. There have been some blown saves on the back of that card. Now the hope was the Nationals would score some insurance runs to give Suerro some cushion. A lot of insurance runs. That was not to be. They went down 1-2-3. In came Suerro to protect a 4-3 lead. Mercy. Mercy. Someone take me to the hospital. I think I’m about to lose it.

What does Suerro do? He walked the leadoff batter. Ozzie Albies lined his first pitch into centerfield for a base hit. This did not look good. Not good at all. Davey would be roasted tomorrow. Charlie Culberson came up. The Nationals expected him to bunt. He did not and after getting two strikes he flew out harmlessly to right. Suerro was now facing the rookie of the year last year Ronald Acuna Jr., who has been known for a few of his clutch hits, more game winning hits than Suerro has saves. Wander was not phased and blew a 93 mile per hour cutter past him for strike three.

Now it was Dansby Swanson up with Freddie Freeman on dice. Matt Grace of the ERA above 6 was now warming up in the bullpen. This did not look like it was going to end well. Dansby swung at the first pitch he saw. He blooped it into right field. Dozier raced back for it. Robles came charging in. It looked as if it was going to fall with two bodies colliding into each other. Robles slides to avoid crashing into Dozier. He reaches out with his glove and catches the ball. Nationals win. What a game.

Now it is off to Omaha for myworld to watch some College World Series. Davey is a genius. If he is going to make a playoff run he is going to have to trust his bullpen, even those pitchers who did not get the job done at the start of the season.

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