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Mitchell Parker’s 10th major league start last week was a seven-inning, 71-pitch game in which he allowed three hits, a home run, two earned runs, and two strikeouts without walking a batter.

It was the 10th time in his first 10 major league starts that the 24-year-old left-hander allowed 3 ER or fewer. Parker’s consistency has impressed, if not surprised, his manager.

“We’ve talked about it before, it’s a long year,” Davey Martinez told reporters, “… it’s tough… but what he’s doing really doesn’t surprise me because he’s so composed. He gets the ball, he attacks, he works fast and he’s all in. On days when he’s not as good, not as fresh, it’s probably good to take him out earlier, but man, he goes out there and just fights, he fights for every pitch, like I said. He’s got good stuff. Not overwhelming, but he knows what he wants to do every time he’s out there, every pitch he makes, and he gets quick outs.”

MLB: June 11, Nationals at Tigers

Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“We’ve taken the same approach every time we launch: try not to think too much and attack them,” Parker said after the outing, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “And when we attack them, obviously good things happen. Just try not to think too much about it.”

Also remarkable was the efficiency with which he lasted seven innings with 71 pitches.

“He hit the strike zone hard, they were aggressive, he got outs early, so it was great,” Martinez said. “He pitched really, really well.”

In his 11th start for Parker, the left-hander evaded a two-out double in the first inning, left two men on base in the second, retired the team in order in the third inning and allowed a one-out single in the fourth inning, completing four games without a hit on 59 pitches. He managed two outs and a one-out walk in the fifth inning before everything went wrong for the starter.

Washington Nationals vs Detroit Tigers

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

It started with an error by the pitcher, who kicked a grounder off Andy Ibañez’s bat back to the mound, bringing two on. Mark Canha worked a walk to load the bases before Riley Greene’s triple to right-center field cleared the bases. An error by Luis García, Jr. on the cut throw to third base allowed Greene to hit a Little League grand slam and a 4-3 Tigers lead after Jesse Winker walked with the bases loaded to force in a run in the Nats’ half of the third inning, and CJ Abrams hit a triple to score a run in the fifth inning before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Lane Thomas.

“He threw strikes when he needed to, like he always does, but he threw the ball well, he really did,” Martinez said after Parker finished the night with just two swinging but 17 counted strikes against Tigers hitters.

“He messed up his throws again. Everything was going smoothly until that (fifth) inning. When he went to the nine-hole bat with four throws, I started getting a couple of guys up, but at that point he only had 60 throws, and I said, ‘He can do this, he’ll be fine,’ and then the one error was the worst one with two outs.

“But you know what, we did it. I’m proud of him. He pitched really well and kept us in the game, so he did well.”

“I let the play bounce off me and tried to make the shot before I even caught it. I mean, I have to be better,” Parker said of the mistake.

“We do this a lot during spring training. We do this a lot while we’re here. It just has to be that way, it can’t happen.”

Screenshot by Baseball Savant

Sounds like he’ll be doing more PFP in the near future. Martinez was asked what his message to the starter was about the foul.

“PFPs. We’re going to do PFPs. I mean, seriously. I sat there and told you, I’m not going to lie to you, I sat there scratching my head, like, ‘You can’t get a ball any easier than that.’ But that’s why it’s a fun game. Sometimes things happen, but like I said, I’m really proud of the guys for battling tonight.”

Parker’s conclusion on the expensive E:1?

“Catch the ball and throw it,” he said, laughing. “Don’t let the game get too fast. I mean, it’s a fast game, but don’t make it faster than it has to be.”

The young starter admitted that he probably took the mistake to heart and that it affected the following at-bats.

“I probably let it stick in my head a little too long,” he said, “… and then eventually I pulled it all back a little bit, but I definitely left it in my head a little too long.”


Trailing 4-3 in the eighth inning, the Nationals tied the game on a one-out single by Lane Thomas and ROE after a grounder to shortstop by Jesse Winker, giving Idlemaro Vargas a pinch-hit opportunity that he capitalized on with a sac fly to make it 4-4. The game was tied after nine innings, so they went to overtime and used a wild pitch/strike three with the free runner on second base and Abrams at the plate to get to first and third base with no outs, allowing a sac fly by Thomas to give them a 5-4 lead that they held when Kyle Finnegan put the Tigers out of the game in order in the bottom half of the 10th inning.

“(The character) they showed tonight was great,” Davey Martinez said after the series-opening win. “We had the lead, we lost the lead, they fought, they fought with all their might, and the guys at the back end of the bullpen held it together and we were able to score one more point than them, sometimes that’s what it takes. But I’m proud of the guys. They fought, they hung in there, and in the end we won the game.”

Hard-earned day off on Monday; 1-0 today:

In their 17th game in 17 days last Sunday, Davey Martinez’s club turned things around with a seven-run fourth inning to pull out an 8-5 victory, winning 3 of 4 against Atlanta for the second time this season in two four-game series with their NL East rivals.

Martinez was really impressed with the effort he demanded from his team in the 17th consecutive game.

“I’ve been saying that since spring training, right? This group is fun. They play with a lot of energy. And it showed in the last series. Seventeen games in a row without a day off, and they’re fighting and grinding. The last few games have been incredible, and I’m proud of them because they just keep going. They don’t give up. So the much-needed day off has come, and then we go to Detroit and play 1-0 on Tuesday.”

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