Nathan Karns looked solid in his big-league debut against the Orioles last night, giving up three runs over 4.1 innings. Karns didn’t go five complete innings, so he was ineligible for the win, however he certainly gave the Nationals the opportunity to get the win.
May 28, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals staring pitcher Nathan Karns (57) throws during the second inning against the Balitimore Orioles at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Two of the three runs Karns gave up came off mistakes to JJ Hardy and MLB home run leader Chris Davis. At this point it appears Davis could take Walter Johnson deep in his prime, and Hardy definitely has some pop, so all in all not too shabby for someone that hadn’t made a start above A+ prior to this season. Karns clearly brought his stuff, hitting 97 MPH on his fast ball on a few occasions, and Karns also topped out at 86 MPH on his devastating curveball. Once he begins to rely on his secondary stuff more, he should be just fine. It appears the Nationals think so as well, as Davey Johnson told the media after the game that Karns will start again on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves. “I thought the kid pitched great,” Johnson said.
As for the Nationals as a whole, the offense was back after having a quiet night on Monday against Jason Hammel. One-out singles by Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman set up Adam LaRoche runners on first and second in the bottom of the first, and LaRoche hit a three-run shot deep to right-center field off Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead heading into the second inning. Two more home runs by LaRoche and Bernadina helped power the Nationals to nine total runs, their highest total in a single game since a 10-3 win against the Marlins way back on April 15.
The Nats head into Baltimore for the second half of the Battle of the Beltways tomorrow, as early Cy Young candidate Jordan Zimmermann (8-2, 1.71 ERA) takes on the Orioles’ Chris Tillman (4-2, 3.68 ERA).