One of the things I appreciate about the Nats is that over the last few years they have increased the number of mid-week day games (I wish the O’s would do the same). It’s been about a month since I’ve seen the Nats play so a trip to Nats Park to see them play Tampa seemed just the ticket.
Over the years I’ve always wondered by no manager had tried a certain strategy. That was, rather than starting some bottom-of-the-barrel starter, why not start with a relief pitcher. Then every couple of innings swap in a fresh arm. It seemed like an in intriguing strategy. Why hasn’t it been tried?
Well this year Tampa manager Kevin Cash has been giving it a whirl. Johnny Venters , exclusively a reliever, started for Tampa. This was the first start of the lefty’s career. Venters is a pretty decent pitcher so let’s see how it goes. When the game started at 1:05, Johnny was sporting a 0.87 ERA. Twenty minutes later when he departed, it had risen to 5.06 and the Nats had a commanding lead. The interesting thing is that Cash brought in to relive Ryan Yarbrough, who is one of their starting pitchers. He wasn’t great but he did give them 5 plus innings.
Anyway the game was pretty much decided in the first inning and the Nats cruised to an 11-2 win. A few faces on the field who weren’t there back in early May. Relievers Justin Miller, (something) Suero, and old friend firstbasman Mary Reynolds. The big addition however was stud Juan Soto. And while it was just one game, I was impressed. Two hits and a walk. He knows the strike zone. He seems comfortable hitting against lefties. And he has pop in his bat. Not sure about his glove; he wasn’t really tested. We’ll see but for now I suspect they’ll keep playing him.
I can’t let this pass without mentioning that today was the seventy-fourth anniversary of D-Day. The Nats had a number of WWII vets on hand who were recognized. Nicely done, Nats.