Since winning NL Pitcher of the Month honors in April, Pablo López, while not bad - the right-hander posted a 3.92 ERA (4.15 FIP) in 11 starts in May/June - his stock went from possible NL All-Starter to questioning whether he even deserved a selection at all.
For the first 6 innings in Sunday’s 7-4 victory over the Nationals, though, shades of April-Pablo rang through. Working around a hit-by-pitch, 3 walks and 3 consecutive inning-ending double plays, López kept the Nationals hitless until Josh Bell doubled to lead off the bottom of the 7th, by time Miami had taken a 2-0 lead.
Come for the third consecutive inning ending double play, stay for the Pablo Lopez and Juan Soto hug. pic.twitter.com/yiKQmfIF9r— Isaac Azout (@IsaacAzout) July 3, 2022
A Nelson Cruz single brought in Bell to cut the deficit to one, and following a Luis García double and hitting of Yadiel Hernández, López would hand the ball off to Anthony Bass, who induced a first pitch flyout to Ehire Adrianza to tie the game at 2.
López’s final line for the day would read as such: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2, HBP, 5 K’s.
Fortunately, for Erick Fedde - the owner of a 1.70 ERA in 8 career starts against Miami entering play - that’d be all the Fish could muster, matching López pitch-for-pitch in 6 innings of two run ball.
Turning to Steven Okert for a third straight game, manager Don Mattingly’s decision would be met with sighs upon after the aforementioned Bell drilled his 12th home run over the left field wall to put the Nationals ahead 3-2. The Fish were now facing their 18 one-run loss of the season as they came to bat in the 9th.
But, as the baseball’s gods - should your spirituality manifest itself on the diamond - tend to do, a familiar scenario presented itself when Avísail García came up with two outs. In the final game of the series in St. Louis, García homered to put Miami ahead 4-3 with a two-run home run in the top of the 9th. While not the hero in the same fashion as he was Wednesday, García’s walk set the table for Jesús Sánchez.
Facing Tanner Rainey, Sánchez took a fastball in on the hands for a go-ahead two-run blast of his own.
Jesus Sanchez! Wow. 2-out, 2-run HR and the Marlins take a 4-3 lead in DC. pic.twitter.com/T5eCz3ot12— Will Manso (@WillManso) July 3, 2022
Yet again, we were tied.
For the sake of fans still viewing, Miami would quell any anxieties that remained, tagging reliever Carl Edwards Jr. for 3 runs in the top of the 10th before Dylan Floro made quick work of the Washington bats to help Miami improve to 37-40.
Miami will kickstart the 4th of July festivities around the Majors when they conclude their four-game set in D.C. at 11:05. Braxton Garrett (1-3, 5.24 ERA) will oppose Patrick Corbin (4-10, 6.06 ERA). In his lone career start against Washington on 09/15/20, Garrett lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing 5 earned runs in a 15-0 Marlins loss.
- Upon being retired on an inning-ending double play in the third, Nationals’ right fielder Juan Soto exited with a reported left-hamstring injury. Soto owns a .382 OBP, .449 SLG, and 19.5-percent walk-rate despite hitting just .226 thus far.
- Per Marlins’ Communications, both of Jesús Sánchez’s go-ahead home runs have come against Washington, with the first one coming off of Kyle Finnegan on 09/15/21.