WASHINGTON NATIONALS NOTES:
The Nationals and Diamondbacks will meet six times in 2023 (3 in D.C., 3 in ARI)…Henry Blanco played in Arizona from 2011-12 prior to serving as their assistant coach and bullpen catcher in 2014… Patrick Corbin played the 2012-18 seasons with the Diamondbacks prior to signing with the Nationals… Blanco caught Corbin’s Major League debut on April 30, 2012 at Miami…Mike Rizzo spent seven seasons (2000-06) in Arizona’s front office… Stone Garrett made his Major League debut with the Diamondbacks in August of 2022…Ildemaro Vargas played for Arizona from 2017-2020…Trevor Williams attended Arizona State University from 2011-2013.
DUEL IN THE DESERT
The Washington Nationals continue a six-game road trip tonight in Phoenix with the second of three games with Arizona…The Nationals look to bounce back after dropping Friday night’s game to the Diamondbacks, 3-1.
• Washington struck first on Friday night with a first-inning home run by Luis García, but that would be the only offense that the Nationals could mount last night.
• Josiah Gray took the loss for the first time in his last three starts…He struck out six over 5.0 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits…Gray was bitten by some costly defensive miscues in the fourth inning, including his first career throwing error…Despite the loss, Gray is still pitching to a 2.14 ERA (8 ER/33.2 IP) in his last six starts.
The Nationals come into tonight having won four of their last six games…They are 9-8 dating to April 16 vs. Cleveland and 12-13 since April 7 at Colorado.
• Following this weekend’s series with the Diamondbacks, the Nationals will head to San Francisco for a three-game series, Monday-Wednesday, against the Giants.
Ricky Bones’ bullpen is tied for the MLB lead with six wins since April 15…Over that span, the bullpen has pitched to a 3.52 ERA (25 ER/64.0 IP)…They are tied second in the National League (tied for eighth in MLB) with five home runs allowed over that span.
• The bullpen leads Major League Baseball in double plays induced with 15 in 2023.
LEFT IS RIGHT
The Nationals rank fifth among Major League clubs in batting average (.286) and eighth in on-base percentage (.341) against left-handed pitching.
• Victor Robles (.400) is ninth in Major League Baseball in average against lefties, while Lane Thomas (.375) is tied for 10th in the National League.
CJ IN DC
Over his last 10 games, CJ Abrams is 10-for-31 (.323) with a double, homer, seven RBI, one hit by pitch, four runs scored and a stolen base…He’s hit safely in seven of the 10 games.
• Since April 15, he is hitting .267 (16-for-60) with a .400 slugging percentage (2 2B, 2 HR).
SPEAKING OF DOM
Dominic Smith is 9-for-24 (.375) with one double, one homer, one RBI, one walk and four runs scored over his last seven games…He’s struck out just twice in 25 plate appearances over this stretch.
• He is one of three National League first baseman to accumulate at least two defensive runs saved along with Pittsburgh’s Carlos Santana (3) and Arizona’s Christian Walker (3) per FanGraphs.com.
Jim Hickey’s starters rank tied for fourth in the National League (tied for sixth in MLB) in starts of at least 5.0 innings this season with 25…In 2022, the Nationals ranked 28th in Major League Baseball with 94 starts of at least 5.0 innings.
• Starters Josiah Gray (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO), MacKenzie Gore (4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO), Trevor Williams (5.1 IP, 4 H, BB, 4 SO) and Jake Irvin (4.1 IP, 2 H, ER, 4 BB, 3 SO), Patrick Corbin (7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 6 SO) have combined to pitch to a 3.51 ERA over the last five games.
• The bullpen has pitched to a 1.69 ERA (4 ER/21.1 IP) over the last six games.
NO Ks HERE
Thanks to Luis García (3rd, 8.4%), Keibert Ruiz (6th, 9.6%), and Victor Robles (20th, 13.2%), the Nationals have three players in the top 20 in MLB in strikeout rate…The Nationals are one of two teams with more than two players (Boston).
• As a team, the Nationals have the lowest strikeout rate in Major League Baseball (18.6%) and the fewest strikeouts (221) ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks (238).
STARTING PITCHER – #1 MACKENZIE GORE
Left-handed starter was acquired by Washington at the 2022 Trade Deadline…Entered 2020 as the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball and 2021 as the No. 10 prospect, according to Baseball America …Was cited by Baseball America as having the “Best Fastball” in San Diego’s system entering the 2022 season and the “Best Slider” in 2021 and 2018…Was the 2017 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year, just the second baseball player to win the award at the time (Dylan Bundy in 2011; Bobby Witt Jr. in 2019).
Took the loss after he allowed four runs on seven hits in 4.0 innings against the Chicago Cubs on May 1…He struck out four and walked two…It was the first time Gore had allowed more than 3 ER in a start this season.
Faced Arizona once in 2022 while he was a member of the Padres…Working out of the bullpen, Gore allowed two runs on a hit and two walks in 0.1 inning on July 17 at Petco Park.
Gore is second among National League left-handed pitchers (12th among all pitchers) with 11.32 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (Min 30.0 IP).
EARNING THE CAPITAL K IN MacKenzie
Gore’s 39 strikeouts through six starts are the fifth-most in Nationals history (2005-pres.) by any pitcher in his first six starts with the club… Max Scherzer (49 SO in 2015), Patrick Corbin (44 SO in 2019), Gio Gonzalez (41 SO in 2012) and Joe Ross (40 SO in 2015),
• Gore would need 16 strikeouts today to pass Scherzer (55 in 2015) for the most strikeouts through a pitcher’s first seven starts with the club.
SWING AND A MISS
Gore ranks tied for fouth among all MLB left-handed pitchers with 85 swings and misses this season, according to MLB Statcast…On April 19 vs. Baltimore, he induced a career-high 18 swings and misses in 6.0 innings pitched.
WELCOME TO D.C.
Earned the win in his Nationals debut on April 2 vs. Atlanta…Allowed one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks.
• With the win, Gore became the seventh Nationals pitcher (2005-pres.) to win his debut with the team while allowing three hits or less in at least 5.0 innings of work.
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS NOTES:
HERE’S THE STORY
♦ The D-backs are 1-0 in their 10-game homestand vs. Nationals (1-0), Marlins (May 8-10) and Giants (May 11-14).
♦ The D-backs are currently second in the NL West, 0.5 game behind the Dodgers…Arizona has spent 23 total days this season in or tied for first place (since April 8).
♦ The D-backs have won 5 of their last 7 games and look to go 5 games above .500 for the first time since finishing 85-77 at the end of the 2019 season.
♦ Arizona has won 5 of its last 6 games vs. Nationals since April 2022.
♦ Corbin Carroll has a 10-game hitting streak (.438; 14- or-32, 4 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR), which is tied for the third-longest active streak in Majors (also: Bryan Reynolds/PIT), behind Masataka Yoshida/BOS (15) and Robbie Grossman/TEX (13).
♦ Tommy Henry is making his first start vs. Nationals and second vs. an NL East opponent (last: Aug. 31, 2022 vs. Phillies).
♦ Last night, Merrill Kelly collected his third career 10+-strikeout performance and his first since May 20, 2021 @ Dodgers (12)… the 10 strikeouts marked the most by an opposing starter vs. Nationals this season (previous: Spencer Strider/ATL, 9 on April 1).
♦ Christian Walker, in his last 6 games, is hitting .423 (11- for-26)/1.426 OPS with 2 doubles, 4 home runs, 7 runs and 10 RBI.
♦ Geraldo Perdomo’s .397 average ranks second in the Majors [min. 80 PA], behind Luis Arraez/MIA (.437 in 29 games)…is batting .397 (27-for-68)/1.085 OPS with 7 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 15 runs, 17 RBI and 8 walks in 25 games.
♦ Dominic Fletcher has hit safely in his first 4 Major League games (.357; 5-for-14, 1 2B, 2 RBI)… is tied for fourth longest streak in D-backs history to start a career (last: Mitch Haniger in 2016)…record is David Peralta (7 games in 2014).
♦ Ketel Marte has 3 homers, 7 RBI and 5 walks in his last 5 games.
♦ Emmanuel Rivera has hit safely in 6 of his 7 games (.409; 9-for-22, 2 2B, 4 RBI).
♦ Since April 25, D-backs’ starters have surrendered the fewest walks (5) in the Majors and lead in strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.80), ahead of the Phillies (5.50).
OFFENSE AMONG THE REST
♦ The D-backs rank in the Majors in strikeouts (2nd fewest, 238), sac fl ys (2nd, 14), doubles (4th, 67), triples (5th, 7), average (6th, .265), hits (9th, 285) and stolen bases (9th, 26).
♦ Arizona boasts the Majors’ second-best fielding pct. (.992), behind the Padres (.993)…the D-backs’ 9 errors are also tied for the fewest in baseball (also: Padres).
♦ The D-backs’ 11 Outs Above Average (OAA) lead the Majors, ahead of the Mariners (10) and Padres (10).
♦ Josh Rojas’ 6 OAA are tied for the most among all fi elders (also: Javier Báez/DET).
WALK IT OUT
♦ Arizona has drawn 54 walks in its last 16 games compared to 28 walks in its first 16 games.
♦ The D-backs have walked 3+ times in 8 of their last 10 games, including a season-high 8 walks on April 24 vs. Royals.
LHP TOMMY HENRY ♦ #47
AT A GLANCE: Signed by the D-backs as a Competitive Balance-B selection (74th overall) in the 2019 draft.
• Attended the University of Michigan, where he helped lead the Wolverines to the 2019 College World Series vs. eventual champion Vanderbilt University.
• A Michigan native, attended Portage Northern High School, where he lettered in baseball and basketball.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Looking for his first home win of the season and fi rst since Aug. 9, 2022 vs. Pirates.
• The D-backs are 2-0 in both of his starts this season.
• In 2022, went 3-4 with a 5.36 ERA (28 ER in 47.0 IP) over 9 starts with Arizona.
LAST START: Earned his first win of the season on April 29 @ Rockies (W; 4 ER in 5.1 IP).
VS. NATIONALS: Will be making his first career start.
PITCH TRACKING: Opposing batters are 0-for-5 with 1 strikeout on his changeup and 3-for-15 (.200) with 2 strikeouts on his curveball.
DEBUT DETAILS: Was the first D-back to make his MLB debut as a starter since Alex Young on June 27, 2019 @ Giants.
• Andrew Chafi n was the only other D-back pitcher to have made their big-league debut in Cleveland as a starter (Aug. 13, 2014 – GM 2).