Braymer, Nats' bats overwhelm Marlins in G2

September 21st, 2020

Two optimal scenarios for the Nationals in Game 2 of Sunday's seven-inning doubleheader against the Marlins would have been: holds his own in his first career start and the offense gets going after scoring just one run in a Game 1 loss.

The Nats got both and then some.

“This game is unbelievable,” manager Dave Martinez said. “That’s why we love to come out here; they love to play it. First game, we can’t score any runs, had opportunities. Second game, we score a bunch.”

Braymer, the Nationals’ No. 23 prospect per MLB Pipeline, threw five scoreless innings to earn the win in the 15-0 victory. He held the Marlins hitless through 3 2/3 frames and finished with four strikeouts, three walks and just one hit allowed over 86 pitches (47 strikes). The Nats wanted to cap his pitch count at 90.

“He was outstanding,” Martinez said. “When he throws strikes, he’s effective. His fastball sneaks up on you, good breaking ball, really good changeup.”

Braymer’s performance was impressive not only because it was his first start, but because he had only pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings in two relief appearances since making his big league debut on Aug. 28. He said he actually felt more comfortable making the start on Sunday than he did pitching out of the bullpen, having had three weeks since his first outing on this level.

“It’s just one of those things as you spend more time here and hone your craft more, get more innings, it’s going to be better,” the 26-year-old said. “I think that had a part today, for me.”

The Nationals poured on the run support for Braymer. , , , and belted a home run, and the team churned out 18 hits.

Martinez attributed the offensive outburst to being aggressive early in at-bats, especially with fastballs.

“That was crazy. There were some times where I was like, ‘Dang guys, it’s been like 30 minutes,’” Braymer said with a smile. “For me, going out there with crooked numbers on the board multiple times was definitely comforting. I know I wanted to get those guys shutdown innings, so I’m glad that we were able to kind of help each other out.”

Braymer got a big assist from Suzuki behind -- and at -- the plate. Suzuki caught Braymer in Game 2 of the doubleheader after Martinez swapped in to catch in Game 1. Suzuki also finished 2-for-4, including his second homer of the season, with three RBIs.

“It was obviously a good day. You get some RBIs, help the team win,” Suzuki said. “Braymer, he’s pretty much the story today. ... He came out and really established himself like, ‘I’m just going to throw strikes. I’m going to get you guys out quick, get us back into the dugout to score more runs.’ He kept the tempo of the game great, kept them off balance. That’s really all you can ask for.”

The Nationals won two of the five games over the three-day weekend series against the Marlins. Both of their victories were shutouts, with a combined 20-0 margin. The trip to Miami wraps up their road schedule for the year, and they head back to Washington to host the Phillies and Marlins for the final eight games of the regular season.

“Now we’re getting on a plane and we’ll go home for the last week,” Martinez said. “The boys swung the bats well the second game, so let’s continue to do that.”