Herrera holds Orioles at bay with shutout inning in D.C. debut

Kelvin Herrera dealing blue.jpgRight-hander Kelvin Herrera arrived at 3:30 p.m. eastern time into Washington, D.C. Six hours later, he recorded his first hold as the Washington Nationals came back to beat the Orioles, 9-7.

He recorded three outs on six pitches: getting Jonathan Schoop, Danny Valencia and Trey Mancini in order.

“I saw velocity, which is what you see,” shortstop Trea Turner said. “I’ve seen him pitch for a while now, not all the time, but I watched that 2015 World Series when they won, and he’s lights-out. He’s a big-time arm back there, and I think it’s huge for us to get a guy like that on our team. Can only help.”

Herrera bridged the eighth inning into the ninth where Sean Doolittle took over and notched his 19th save.

Herrera last pitched June 12, a blown save against the Reds. He walked two batters in that game, which were the ONLY two walks he has allowed the entire season to date.

“I felt great,” Herrera noted. “My whole purpose, once I got into the game, was to be aggressive, and get ahead with the first-pitch strike.”

Manager Davey Martinez said Herrera is a “nice little toy to have”. With the shutout inning on Tuesday in his Nats debut, Herrera’s season ERA dips to a stunning 1.01.

“Six pitches. Came in, threw strikes,” said Martinez. “He knows what he’s doing. He goes in and gets outs, quick outs.”

The Nats came back from a 5-1 deficit to beat the Birds 9-7. Turner went 4-for-4 with home run and two runs scored. Adam Eaton went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and two RBIs.

“I’m glad he’s on my team. Thank goodness,” Eaton said. “It’s funny, you see 95 mph on the Jumbotron, but it looks (like) 104 mph. I’m not kidding. I don’t know what the gurus upstairs say about his spin effect or whatever, but I’m telling you it looks it 104 mph coming out of a cannon. I’m so happy he’s here and he’s on my team and I don’t have to face him anytime in the near future.”

The biggest takeaway in mid-June acquiring an arm like Herrera means the Nats have some time to get their bullpen healthy: Brandon Kintzler is out with a right forearm flexor strain and Ryan Madson, who has already visited the disabled list once, has said he would prefer to have his workload eased a bit so he can go full strength for the stretch run.

With Herrera on the club, they have a pitcher who has the stuff that looks like 104 mph. That kind of stuff can now be utilized by Martinez in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning while the ‘Law Firm’ gets back on track.

That is a pretty good toy to have, indeed.

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