Nationals salvage finale vs. Braves behind Joey Meneses, Tres Barrera

ATLANTA — When catcher Keibert Ruiz went on the injured listing Sept. 9, Supervisor Dave Martinez mentioned that he’d break up the remaining video games behind the plate with a committee of Riley Adams, Israel Pineda and Tres Barrera.

Within the 10 video games earlier than Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves, Adams began seven with Pineda dealing with the opposite three. Barrera, known as up Sept. 1, was nonetheless ready for his likelihood.

So on a day when Joey Meneses lifted the Nationals with a two-run homer within the seventh inning into the second deck at Truist Park to beat the defending World Collection champions, there was Barrera, going 2 for 4 whereas adeptly dealing with 5 pitchers and 164 pitches behind the plate. The win allowed the Nationals to salvage the finale of the three-game collection.

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“I knew it was going to come at some point,” Barrera mentioned about beginning. “It’s part of it and I just try to maintain and [stay] ready. Come with the same attitude like I was going to play every single day and today was the day and I had fun with it.”

The ultimate few weeks of this season are a chance for Martinez to see who may fill the crew’s backup catcher function to Ruiz. Adams, 26, has essentially the most main league expertise. Pineda may have essentially the most upside offensively, however he’s simply 22. Each have proven flashes of energy — Adams on the main league degree, although he’s hitting .193. Pineda has excelled within the minors after beginning the yr at Excessive-A Wilmington.

Barrera, 28, suits the mildew of a extra conventional, game-managing backup — robust defensively even when he lacks the pop on the plate. Barrera’s two hits Wednesday lifted his common to .216 (8 for 37, with only one further base hit and 11 strikeouts).

“Those guys that come off the bench and are only playing once or twice a week … their job is not really to go out there and hit home runs,” Martinez mentioned. “Their job is to just get on base and do the little things right. And he did that today.”

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Barrera helped the Nationals (52-97) pitching workers navigate the Braves (93-56), who put starter Paolo Espino in an early gap. Espino allowed a leadoff single within the first to Ronald Acuña Jr., who reached second later when Espino made an errant throw on a pickoff.

Espino walked Matt Olson with two outs. Then, William Contreras’s swinging bunt between Espino and Barrera led to a throwing error on Espino that introduced in Acuña.

An inning later, Acuña drove in a run the next inning with a two-out RBI single.

Barrera open the highest of the third with an infield single that ended with him diving into first base; Barrera mentioned after the sport that his momentum carried him and he nearly fell, so he slid to keep away from embarrassing himself. His second at-bat was additionally a single, a blooper that fell in heart subject and put runners on the corners for the Nationals within the fifth. Lane Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to chop the Braves result in 2-1.

Although Barrera’s stat line appeared good, his exit velocities from his at-bats Wednesday inform a unique story: 88.5, 79.7, 57.7 in his first three at-bats earlier than a 94.9 fly out within the eighth inning.

However Barrera made his presence felt on the protection: Barrera threw out Vaughn Grissom stealing second to finish the seventh after Carl Edwards Jr. struck out Dansby Swanson. Then, he threw out Contreras in a rundown within the eighth.

“He did really well,” Martinez mentioned. “Handled the pitching staff well, got a couple of hits. It’s just a testament about how he prepares and how he stays ready: get an opportunity to play and comes through.”

What was Luke Voit’s last stat line on this collection? Not nice: 1 for 12 with a single, a stroll and eight strikeouts. The Braves weren’t afraid to face the Nationals’ cleanup hitter all through the collection — they deliberately walked Meneses forward of him to load the bases Tuesday and Voit flew out to finish the sport. They did the identical on Wednesday afternoon and he grounded out to second base.

Martinez mentioned he desires Voit to get again to hitting the ball to right-center subject.

How is Patrick Corbin feeling after exiting with again spasms? Martinez mentioned Corbin continues to be sore after exiting Tuesday’s sport with again spasms. Corbin threw simply 12 pitches earlier than strolling off the sphere with head coach Paul Lessard. Martinez hopes that he’ll really feel higher after a couple of extra days of remedy.

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