Washington Nationals’ dropping streak hits six in loss to Chicago Cubs


CHICAGO — Aníbal Sánchez’s response when the ball left the bat of the Chicago Cubs’ Christopher Morel was one the Washington Nationals’ pitching employees is changing into all too conversant in. Sánchez didn’t trouble to see the place it landed, as a substitute holding out his glove and awaiting the following ball — whereas attempting to neglect all concerning the one he had simply left over the plate.

All of the whereas, the Wrigley Subject followers roared as Morel’s two-run blast sailed excessive into the left area seats. It was the second dwelling run of the third inning — Nelson Velázquez hit a solo shot two batters earlier — because the Cubs grabbed the lead for good in a 6-3 win Monday night time.

Whereas permitting 4 runs, Sánchez gave Supervisor Dave Martinez five-plus innings, a minor victory for a bullpen that has been closely taxed of late. However he wasn’t capable of do practically sufficient to get a win for the Nationals (36-75), who’ve misplaced six in a row and fell to 1-7 in August. With the defeat, the Nationals maintain a 5 1/2-game margin on the Oakland Athletics for the worst document in baseball.

“We tried to stretch him out for another inning, knowing our bullpen has been taxed,” Martinez mentioned. “He gave us five strong innings; we just couldn’t get that sixth inning from him.”

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Pitching has been the basis of the Nationals’ large struggles of late. Washington entered Monday’s recreation having been outscored 53-25 in August, with an analogous theme taking maintain in most video games: The starter doesn’t final lengthy, a results of too many dwelling runs allowed, after which the offense doesn’t have sufficient juice to claw out of the early deficit.

Just one different starter had pitched at the very least 5 innings within the Nationals’ eight tries in August — Cory Abbott lasted 5 within the Nationals’ lone win of the month.

Sánchez retired the facet so as within the first two innings, putting out a pair along with his change-up. However within the third, he allowed a solo shot to Velázquez on a low slider that caught an excessive amount of of the plate.

After strolling Nick Madrigal, Sánchez had a six-pitch at-bat with Morel that included 5 pickoff makes an attempt. Possibly he threw a foul pitch or possibly he misplaced his focus, however his 88.8-mph cutter exited Morel’s bat at 109.4 mph and the Cubs (44-64) by no means appeared again.

“I tried to execute my fastball down and away, and I missed a little bit up in the middle,” Sánchez mentioned. “That guy just put a really good swing on it. Like I always say, every time that I make a mistake, I pay for it.”

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Sánchez got here out for the sixth, however back-to-back singles ended his night time after 91 pitches. Steve Cishek entered, and Nico Hoerner singled on his first pitch to offer the Cubs a 4-1 lead. They added two extra runs towards Hunter Harvey within the seventh. A defensive blunder led to the second run — Rafael Ortega left second base early and may’ve been picked off at third, however Maikel Franco was too removed from the bottom and couldn’t apply the tag. Ortega then scored on a sacrifice fly.

In March, the Nationals signed Sánchez, 38, to a minor league deal as a doable back-of-the-rotation arm who might solidify a employees that they hoped would come with Stephen Strasburg, Erick Fedde, Josiah Grey and Joe Ross. However all of these gamers, minus Grey, are injured, and so are the youthful pitchers who obtained an opportunity to switch them, Evan Lee and Jackson Tetreault. Meaning Sánchez is more likely to proceed to get alternatives to pitch regardless of his 7.56 ERA and eight dwelling runs allowed in 5 begins.

“A lot of it has to [do] with just getting behind hitters and then having to throw strikes,” Martinez mentioned of the house runs allowed by his starters just lately. “We got to start working ahead of hitters. … When Aníbal does that, he’s really good. He can mix things up and keep guys off balance. When he’s behind, he’s got to get more in the strike zone — and he knows that.”

How did the Nationals rating? They blasted two dwelling runs: a solo shot by Luke Voit within the sixth and a pinch-hit, two-run homer by Joey Meneses within the eighth. The Nationals managed eight hits however went 0 for six with runners in scoring place. Victor Robles had two alternatives with a runner 90 ft away and two outs — within the fifth and seventh — however struck out swinging on three pitches every time.

What did Martinez say about returning to Wrigley Subject? “I have great memories here — first major league field I stepped on. Every time I come back here, I go outside and I see this field and see some of these guys I’ve known for 35 years, so it’s awesome to come back and see them. I tell the guys, especially young guys that never been here before, ‘Hey, when you step on that field, man, it’s something else, so enjoy it and have fun doing it.’ ”

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