WASHINGTON — It was a weird night for the Washington Nationals, playing in primetime on ESPN against the New York Mets. Here’s a bulleted recap of some of the highlights, in no particular order:
- Stephen Strasburg throws another bullpen session and could be back Wednesday
- None of the Nats’ six pitchers used were on the roster on Aug. 31
- Reynaldo Lopez turns into Wild Thing
- Trea Turner legs out an infield single and gets his first MLB outfield assist
- Danny Espinosa crushes a 400-foot home run to tie his single-season career high
- Bryce Harper robs James Loney of extra bases
But perhaps the strangest performance of the evening goes to new Nats reliever Mat Latos, called up this week to resuscitate a season of struggles. Sunday was his Nationals debut and his first appearance in the Major Leagues since June 7.
Pitching out of the bullpen, Latos relieved an ineffective Lopez, and started out well:
And then things unraveled quickly, in an at-bat against former Cincinnati Reds teammates Jay Bruce. What were once two building blocks of a championship challenger in Ohio, were now two players looking to contribute on teams stocked with talent.
It’s fitting that their former manager, Nats skipper Dusty Baker could be in attendance, although he probably didn’t like what he saw:
Given that it was a nationally televised game, the hit drew the commentary of much more than the mid-Atlantic region. In fact, nostalgia was radiating out of Ohio:
All of the feels indeed. Latos finished the night with two innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs. While the increased velocity is encouraging, he’ll need to show more in order to carve out his role down the stretch.