Mock has disappointing outing

A couple of weeks ago, it seemed a certainty that right-hander Garrett Mock was in the Nationals’ rotation because he didn’t walk a batter in his first nine innings this spring.

But, before Tuesday’s action, he had allowed five runs in his last nine innings. That’s not including the disappointing outing last week against the Minor League Astros in which he gave up three home runs.

Now Mock finds himself competing against left-hander Scott Olsen and right-hander J.D. for the final spot in the rotation.

Mock didn’t do himself any favors Tuesday afternoon against the Marlins, allowing six earned run — four earned — in 4 2/3 innings. Even worse, he walked five batters and struck out three. He threw 96 pitches, 57 strikes.

“The outing speaks for itself. I can’t say much about it. You saw it,”  manager Jim Riggleman said. “He was good for two or three hitters in a sequence. He would throw to a couple of hitters and leave the balls up in the zone and get hit.”

Mock’s worst inning was the fifth. He was able to get two quick outs, but he walked Ronny Paulino and gave up a double to Gaby Sanchez to put runners on second and third. Mock had Bryan Petersen, 0-2, but Mock couldn’t throw a strike and walked Petersen to load the bases.

Mock was taken out of the game in favor of right-hander Jason Bergmann, who allowed five straight hits before retiring Mike Lamb to end the inning. 

“His stuff wasn’t bad, but he was throwing a lot of pitches per inning,” pitching coach Steve McCatty said about Mock. “Ninety-six pitches, you should pitch seven innings. There were some foul balls, but you still have to be more aggressive because he wasn’t able to get out of that inning. … I don’t know if he was tired. I don’t think so. He didn’t make the pitch he needed to make.”

Mock most likely pitched his final game of the spring. Did he hurt his chance to be in the starting rotation?

“No, I don’t think so,” Riggleman said. “The choices are not that varied. We know we are going to pick between him .J.D. and Olsen. They are doing OK, but none of them are grabbing the job.”                

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