Hello, East Coast. Nice to see you again.
The Nationals are back from their second-to-last road trip of the season, and boy, will they enjoy this day off. A cross-country flight after a 14-inning game meant an arrival in D.C. after 4 a.m., so the chance to rest up is much needed.
I believe, in fact, that this is the Nats’ first off-day at home since the All-Star break. Players know the tough schedule comes with the job, but it certainly isn’t easy as we get into the season’s final month.
There’s so much to discuss coming out of yesterday’s thriller in Los Angeles.
There’s Adam LaRoche’s heroics while battling a tight back and a bruised elbow that was so bad that he thought going into his 12th-inning at-bat that he wouldn’t be able to swing and would instead have to lay down a bunt. LaRoche not only delivered a two-run single in that 12th inning, he also drove in the game winning run in the 14th, busting it down the line to beat out a potential inning-ending double play.
There’s the entire roster effect, with 26 Nationals appearing, everyone doing their part to try and scratch out a win. We remember LaRoche’s pinch-hit homer in the ninth, but how about Jose Lobaton then singling, Danny Espinosa pinch-running and stealing second base and then Denard Span knocking Espinosa in? Heck, Doug Fister was even called upon to pinch-hit at one point in the ballgame.
There’s Asdrubal Cabrera, who now has five homers in just a little over a month as a National and continues to make big plays when it matters.
But let’s focus for a second on the three pitchers the Nats called up on Monday after rosters expanded, and how all three played a significant role in a tight September ballgame between two division leaders yesterday.
Cedeno came in with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 10th, with Adrian Gonzalez up and the Dodgers on the verge of walking off with the win. Cedeno struck out Gonzalez, one of the more feared left-handed hitters in the league over the last handful of years, and in the process, the Nats’ lefty reliever likely bought himself some more high-leverage spots down the stretch.
Then came Barrett, who took to the mound to face Juan Uribe with the bases still loaded. Barrett fanned Uribe, leaving the bases loaded and keeping the Nats alive.
In the 13th, Matt Williams called on Treinen, who was one of just two pitchers remaining in the bullpen. Ross Detwiler had worked the day before and the Nats wanted to stay away from him, so Treinen knew he’d be run out there for a while, if needed.
The hard-throwing sinkerballer worked a scoreless 13th, then was handed a three-run lead to work with in the 14th. Treinen closed it out, earning his second big league victory and securing the series win for the Nats.
How many September call-ups can get thrust into key situations in crucial ballgames against a top opponent and not only hold their own, but impress in a big way? In Cedeno, Barrett and Treinen, the Nats appear to have three of them.
It speaks to the ability that they possess, and it speaks to the depth of the Nats’ minor league system, as well.