Looking for his first win in his seventh start of the season, Austin Voth adjusted his mindset before taking the mound against the Braves on Friday at Truist Park.
“Today was a day about me just going out there and competing,” Voth said. “I need to stop thinking about all mechanics and what not, because it’s not about mechanics anymore -- it’s just going out there and competing and hitting locations and getting outs, basically.”
Game 1 of the doubleheader ended in a 7-1 loss -- the Nationals' seventh straight defeat -- as Voth fell to 0-5 with an 8.26 ERA. But he didn’t walk away from this one with his head down.
“Progress,” he said. “It’s definitely not what I want, but today I wanted to throw out mechanics and just compete. I felt like I did that. I felt like I had a plan to just attack, attack, attack. I missed some locations, paid on those. I gave it my all today, but definitely not the end result that I wanted. But I think I’m slowly getting there.”
The upside: Voth threw 4 2/3 innings, his longest outing since Aug. 8, and the Nationals only had to call on one reliever out of the bullpen. Voth also tied his season high of five strikeouts.
The downside: Voth’s afternoon began with a wind-driven leadoff home run by Ronald Acuña Jr., and that was just a preview. He gave up a two-run shot to Dansby Swanson in the third and another two-run homer in the fourth, a no-doubter by Acuña. Voth has allowed multiple home runs in four of his seven starts.
“Fastball’s coming out really good,” Voth said. “Curveball location right now for a strike, I’m not commanding it very well. For an out pitch, that’s the one pitch I can have as my out pitch. The slider, changeup, I just haven’t been able to locate those for strikes in the zone. I can throw those out of the zone, but just not in the zone right now.”
Despite Voth’s struggles in his first season as a full-time starter, manager Dave Martinez has expressed his confidence in the right-hander. The staff worked with Voth leading up to Friday, including maintaining a higher arm angle.
“I think, overall, he threw the ball a lot better,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, we’re heading in the right direction.”
Ultimately, Voth believes his improvements will come from taking in what he has learned and zeroing in on the mound.
“I’ve had so many people come up to me and kind of try to help me and tell me, ‘You need to do this. You need to do this.’ So I’ve been focusing on those things, but I can’t focus on everything on the mound at once,” he said. “I have to focus on just basically hitting my spots and competing while I’m on the mound. I can’t just think about everything.
“It became something where I just wanted to go out there and focus on one thing, which was throwing strikes, and that’s what I did.”