James Paxton struggles as Yankees get pounded by Nationals

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WASHINGTON – There is no start to this condensed baseball season. No time to get comfortable. In a normal calendar, the turned page looks like a feather. Now it’s a bank safe.James Paxton, who had lower back surgery in early February and was reportedly not ready for opening day one in late March, started his year of marching on Saturday night with a stench that put the Yankees in a ditch that they weren’t able to do. climb the path to a 9-2 victory by the defensive defensive Nationals at Nationals Park.

“I’m not happy with that, not with the way I wanted to start the season,” said Paxton, who didn’t give up any of the five batters he faced in the second inning. That being said, I need to put this one behind me and focus on what’s to come. ”

A year ago, Paxton’s fastball was timed between 93 and 97 mph. It was in the neighborhood of 91-93 on Saturday. In the more than one footage, the No. 2 Yankees starter gave up three runs, five hits, walked one and smelled one.

The good news for Paxton and the Yankees is that he’s physically saying he’s okay. The bad news is that the margin for error in a 60-game schedule is paper thin.

“No pain when throwing,” Paxton said. “I felt a little slow tonight. “

James Paxton is pulled down by Aaron Boone in the second inning of the Yankees' 9-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night.
James Paxton is pulled down by Aaron Boone in the second inning of the Yankees’ 9-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night.AP

A day after stud outfielder Juan Soto was sidelined by COVID-19, the Nationals scratched right-hander Stephen Strasburg, last year’s World Series MVP, with a nerve issue in his right hand.

Erick Fedde replaced Strasbourg and saw the Nationals make four mistakes in the first three sets. Two of them came in fourth when Fedde gave Giancarlo Stanton a late inning double play ball. They made a fifth mistake in the ninth.

For the second game in a row, Stanton, who along with Aaron Hicks took a knee for the national anthem, flexed his considerable muscles as he sent a 483-foot home run to the left that nearly left the building in the fourth.

Mike King replaced Paxton and struck out the first five batters, but gave up a two-run homerun to Victor Robles in the fourth and Jonathan Holder gave up an RBI brace to Howie Kendrick in the fifth. Former Met Asdrubal Cabrera scored against Ben Heller in seventh place for an 8-2 advantage. Michael Taylor’s home run against Luis Avilan in the eighth made the score 9-2.

Paxton’s miserable outing and drop in gear that existed during Spring Training 2.0 didn’t send waves of worry through Aaron Boone’s head from a health standpoint.

“I am not alarmed. I feel like he’s physically strong, ”Boone said. “Just a matter of really getting his delivery and finding that click stretching through the ball. This is what he was looking for in recent weeks. ”

Outside of Stanton, who also smoked a brace in the eighth inning, the Yankees haven’t done much against five domestic pitchers, none of whom will ever be mistaken for Strasbourg.

The Yankees went 1 for 10 with runners in goal position. The hit was DJ LeMahieu’s RBI single in the third. They also failed nine baserunners. Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, the No. 2 and 3 hitters, had a 0 for 9 combined and Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez went without a hitting on eight batting.

“We have to score points,” Hicks said. “I tried everything to score points and just didn’t succeed. ”

As for Paxton, he was not close to doing so. If this happens in the second game of the season and he doesn’t come back from surgery, the page turns easily.

Still, with every game feeling like a wild card contest, Paxton’s brief outing and lack of velocity can’t be ignored because as a No.2 starter behind Gerrit Cole he has to be a lot better than he is. was not on Saturday.

And quickly.

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