After losing a game, winning a game and losing two mainstays to injuries Friday night, the Washington Nationals will look for more stability when they face the host Baltimore Orioles again on Saturday.
On Friday, the teams completed a game that was started on Sunday, and the Orioles finished with a 6-2 win that technically was part of the earlier series. The Nationals bounced back with a 15-3 victory later Friday in the regularly scheduled game, thanks to six players who knocked in two runs apiece.
Results aside, the Nationals had a rough night Friday.
Starter Stephen Strasburg experienced a nerve irritation issue in his pitching hand — the reason he sat out the two weeks of the season before debuting Sunday — forcing him out in the first inning of the regularly scheduled Friday game. He lasted just three batters and 16 pitches.
“I don’t want this to become a bigger issue,” manager Dave Martinez said to the media. “It was the same (thing). We’ll re-evaluate him.”
Martinez said basically there is no real timeline for the right-hander yet.
Washington also lost second baseman Starlin Castro with a broken right wrist in the suspended game. X-rays showed the break. The Nationals called up infield prospect Luis Garcia between games, and he went 2-for-5 with two RBIs while starting at second base in his major league debut. Martinez said Garcia would receive good playing time while Castro is on the mend.
Castro, who will undergo a CT scan on Saturday, was placed on the 10-day injured list. The Nationals also moved left-hander Sam Freeman (left flexor strain) to the 60-day injured list, selected the contract of pitcher Dakota Bacus and optioned pitcher Ryne Harper to their alternate training site in Fredericksburg, Va.
Patrick Corbin (2-0, 2.50 ERA) will start for the Nationals on Saturday, looking to improve upon an 0-1 record and a 3.38 ERA in three career outings, two starts, versus the Orioles. This season, Corbin has 20 strikeouts and three walks in 18 innings over three starts, two against the New York Mets and one against the New York Yankees.
Asher Wojciechowski (0-2, 3.95 ERA) gets the ball for the Orioles in the middle game of the series. Wojciechowski has an 0-2 career mark plus a 4.05 ERA in five games (three starts) against Washington. He faced the Nationals last Sunday and was lifted after 3 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Orioles need to get their offense and relief pitching going again.
“The bullpen guys have pitched quite a bit lately,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the first game was completed Friday.
Looking to ease that burden, Hyde gave a major league debut to left-handed reliever Keegan Akin in the second game. Akin lasted three innings but allowed three runs, including a homer.
“I was kind of clueless, really, going in,” Akin said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I just took a deep breath and said, ‘You got this,’ and that was it. I waited my whole life for this.”
Before the games Friday, the Orioles brought up pitcher Cody Carroll from the alternate training site at Bowie, Md., to serve as their 29th man for the “doubleheader,” and he was torched for six runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings.
After the game, Akin and Carroll were both sent back to Bowie.
Baltimore also brought up right-hander Chandler Shepherd and sent down struggling right-hander David Hess.
Anthony Santander kept up his hot streak with a solo homer off Strasburg. The Baltimore outfielder now is tied with three others for most RBIs in the majors, 20.
–Field Level Media