Oakland Athletics vs. Washington Nationals Pick & Prediction APRIL 14th 2024

The Washington Nationals will take the type of dominance they got Saturday out of MacKenzie Gore every day. Well, hopefully not every day, according to manager Dave Martinez.

Gore showed why he was one of the centerpieces of the 2022 trade that sent star outfielder Juan Soto to San Diego in exchange for a haul of Padres prospects, striking out 11 over five innings in a 3-1 win in Oakland.

But in piling up the strikeouts, Gore also piled up the pitches, which meant extended use of the bullpen.

“That’s one of the downsides of striking out a bunch of guys,” Martinez said after Gore threw 90 pitches in the five innings. “The pitch counts build up, and the more guys he strikes out, that means sometimes he can’t work quite as deep as we’d like him to.”

Washington’s bullpen situation puts the onus on right-hander Trevor Williams (2-0, 2.61 ERA), who will oppose Oakland left-hander Alex Wood (0-1, 8.03) in a duel of veteran hurlers in Sunday afternoon’s series finale.

The Nationals had to use five relievers to finish off Saturday’s victory, a day after they used four in the 10-inning, 2-1 Oakland victory on Friday that opened the series.

Closer Kyle Finnegan has thrown 19 pitches the last two games, and relievers Hunter Harvey and Robert Garcia have thrown 38 and 32, respectively.

“If we get into the bullpen early, we should be all right,” Martinez said. “Our guys down there are always ready to go.”

Wood, a 12-year veteran on his fifth team, has made 16 career starts against the Nationals, with a 6-6 record and a 3.52 ERA with 90 strikeouts and 12 homers allowed over 92 innings pitched.

Williams has only made three career appearances (two starts) against Oakland, not recording a decision while compiling a 7.94 ERA in 11 1/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. Williams has allowed four career homers to the Athletics.

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay would be happy with an outing similar to that turned in by Saturday’s starting pitcher, Joe Boyle, who struck out five in five innings and took the loss despite giving up only one run.

“I thought he did his job really well,” Kotsay said. “There’s a lot of lefties in that lineup today, and he gave us a chance after five to just have a one-run deficit. I thought he did really good.”

–Field Level Media

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