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Instant Analysis: Nats 4, Phillies 2

Jun 5, 2014, 6:44 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals completed a three-game sweep of the struggling Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon with another impressive showing from their offense.

Now healthy, the Nationals are starting to torment opposing pitchers and that continued in their 4-2 win over the Phillies. Ryan Zimmerman knocked in an RBI in the bottom of the first to tie the game at one before the Nats broke it open in the fifth inning with a three-run outburst.

Doug Fister was sharp once again for the Nationals, recovering from the run he allowed in the first to pitch seven innings of two-run ball. He took his fourth win of the season also flashed his glove in an all-around good day for the right-hander.

The Nats are now 30-28 on the season and one game out of first in the National League East. The Atlanta Braves – who sit atop the division with a 31-27 record – were off Thursday.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The fifth inning saw the Nationals break out with three runs to take a commanding lead over Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick. With the score tied at 1-1, Denard Span led off the inning with a double off the wall in right field. He then tagged up to reach third on an Anthony Rendon flyout that was about two feet from clearing the fence in center. Jayson Werth then brought Span home on a single up the middle.

With Werth on first, Adam LaRoche crushed a towering home run into the home bullpen in right field to make it a 4-1 game. It was LaRoche’s eighth homer of the season, tying him with Rendon for second-most on the team. LaRoche is now slugging .531 on the year.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Fister gave up a run in the first inning on a Chase Utley RBI single, but quickly settled in to put a strong outing for the fifth consecutive time. Fister was again in complete control, walking zero batters and allowing only four hits, including a solo home run to John Mayberry in the seventh. Through 36 2/3 total innings this season, he has just two walks.

Fister continues to impress after his forgettable season debut out in Oakland. Even with the five earned runs he gave up that night, he now holds a 3.19 ERA on the year. Take that start out of the equation and his ERA is 2.23 in his last five outings. Not bad, not bad at all.

Fister also stood out on Thursday with his glove. He made a nice putout on Jimmy Rollins in the first on a sacrifice bunt where he fielded the ball on a full sprint and beat the Phillies shortstop to first with a quick throw. Later in that inning he did a full split while covering first base on a double play attempt, showing off the elite athleticism that allowed him to play the position in college. Then, in the third inning, Fister went full extension across his body to make a near-diving grab on a Ben Revere comebacker on the pitchers mound. Fister might want to keep the tape of Thursday’s game when it comes time to hand out Gold Gloves.

KEY STAT: Nationals starters combined to post 20 strikeouts and only one walk in this series.

UP NEXT: The Nationals leave tonight for San Diego where they will begin a three-game series with the Padres on Friday. Tanner Roark (3-4, 3.25) and right-hander Tyson Ross (6-4, 2.85) will be your starters in a 10:10 p.m. start.

  1. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    That’s how you dominate against a sub-par team. On to San Diego!

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Bartender! A round of Untucks for the house!

  3. MicheleS - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!! That was a nice SWEEP!!!!

  4. Section 222 - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Just got home in time to see a picture perfect 9th from Sori. Clean and two Ks. UNTUCK baby!

  5. secretwasianman - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    That’s why I never watch the 9 th with a lead. Nice job.

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:12 PM

      Loser.

      • ehay2k - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:24 PM

        Now natsjack, was that really necessary? Undermines your other excellent insights.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:38 PM

        Whatcha talking about?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        ehay2k, Whatcha talking about on NatsJack?

      • ehay2k - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:57 PM

        Never mind. The comment I was replying to was removed as I typed my reply.

      • natinalsgo - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        “Now natsjack, was that really necessary? Undermines your other excellent insights.”

        Help us out. I just got in on Fedde. What was said. NatsJack is insightful.

      • ehay2k - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        No need to repeat. The comment has been

      • ehay2k - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:02 PM

        Removed

      • Candide - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:06 PM

        Was it with regard to Gregg Amsinger? ;-)

      • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:14 PM

        ask the source…NJ

  6. texnat1 - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    What a luxury Fister is at the back of your rotation.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      It’s about time. The reason I said pass on Garza and Samardjia and get a sure thing is because quality is quality and there was no red flags with Fister like the other 2. Rizzo already got hosed by Haren last year and EJax was too inconsistent in 2012.

      Fister is an undervalued pitcher because too many evaluators look at pitchers like Fister and Lohse and don’t see the high K/9 and don’t see the big Velo and pass on guys like that. Fister helps himself by fielding his position and it makes a difference when you help your own WHIP by fielding well.

      Like I said early in the game he’s Gold Glove. That was reiterated by FP a few times.

      • texnat1 - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:58 PM

        Yeah, his numbers the past few years (pitching for a good team and in the postseason) speak for themselves. Rizzo flat out stole him.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

        Its sure looking like it. Tigers stole him from Seattle and Rizzo stole him from Tigers.

        I’m glad Rizzo got away from going after fireballers to a smart finesse pitcher like Fister.

        What an amazing mentor to Treinen, Taylor Jordan and Roark.

        If someone could mentor Gio, the Nats could roll.

      • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        +1

    • natsfan1a - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Plus, his splits are awesome (the gymnastic kind, not the stats kind). :-)

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    What’s the joke about Fister going after foul balls in the upper deck? Did he take off like he had a chance at one?

    • David Proctor - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:49 PM

      In his start against the Reds, someone hit a foul ball into the upper deck and Fister ran all the way into foul territory for it.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        That’s what I figured but I see the joke is now all around the Nats clubhouse. I love that about him. He pounces off of the mound.

  8. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    How bad the Nats make Ryan Howard look this series?

  9. David Proctor - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    Dominant starting pitching, good enough offense with spurts of domination and shutdown relief. That’s how they drew it up, folks.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      You forgot one thing. Sharp defense with a few Web Gems.

      • Hiram Hover - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:45 PM

        +1 to all of the above.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    Sofa? I love Soriano. He makes baseball exciting. That said? I swear Howard would have crushed any one of his three pitches not too long ago.

  11. secretwasianman - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    My office mate is die hard Phoolie. I’m going in early and putting brooms all around his desk.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      Terrific interview with Zim. “I have a new respect for the outfielders.”

  12. Section 222 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Great interview by Ryan, but man Ray Knight’s fawning is embarrassing.

    To call Soriano “Chad Cordero v.2″ after a clean save with 2 Ks is a little ridiculous Ghost. I have no idea what he could do to satisfy you at this point. He doesn’t throw 95 and up, and he never will. Get over it.

    As for Clip, I think it’s about time I gave a h/t to DP for his confidence. I really thought he was done or close to done after about 11 appearances, but he’s turned it around. Kudos. And keep it up.

    Fantastic to get a sweep before heading on a tough road trip. And way to kick the Phillies while they’re down, or stomp on their necks or whatever metaphor you feel like employing. Outstanding!

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      I was speechless on the Cordero comment. I guess it was because Chad made baseball exciting, too.

      • Brookstoor - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Yeah, is Soriano’s ERA .82 or do my eyes deceive me?

      • 6ID20 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        Yeah, Soriano is nothing like Cordero. The Chief was a fan favorite. Fans tolerate Soriano, but he’s nobody’s favorite.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:56 PM

        Speak for yourself, 6D20.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Soriano has better run-in music, but not on the radio. I still miss HTTC.

        But Chief was special. No shame in not reaching that level.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      222, my comment had nothing to do with this outing, its Maalox with most 9th innings. I love The Chief and Soriano clearly is better than last year.

      I’m not even a Soriano critic. Find more than 2 negative comments I’ve made this year. You have me mixed up with someone else.

      • Section 222 - Jun 6, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        Ghost, I don’t have you mixed up with anyone. I replied to your comment this time, and you’re just wrong that it’s Maalox with most 9th innings. That’s a meme perpetuated by lazy commentators like FP and Ray. Check the Game Logs. He’s had lots of clean 9ths (how could he not with a WHIP of less than 1.00). In fact, he’s faced only 3 batters in 13 out of 22 appearances, and 4 batters in 4 more games. 1 blown save in 13 save chances. But as JoeS and I have said, and will continue to say, it doesn’t matter how many clean innings he has, no one in Natstown will remember them.

        Some people apparently bite their nails and go into shock because he gives up a long fly ball, or because his pitches look hittable on TV. Someone even said that Howard kills that ball two years ago. The standard Sori is held to by these people is just absurd. No pitcher, not even Kimbrel, is unhittable every single time out.

  13. Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    “But, really the guy that has made us go is Denard.” <Matt Williams on what sticks out the most for what got us going the past week.

    • natsjackinfl - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Loved that acknowledgement by Matt.

    • Hiram Hover - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      So maybe be won’t be ready to spend Span to the bench when Harp returns?

    • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      +++1
      He’s good for this town…He’s from this town and gives all the young kids with no playgrounds in the urban core someone to cheer for.

  14. natsjackinfl - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:22 PM

    And hats off to a rookie manager who really seems to get it and learns on the fly.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:25 PM

      I’ll join you with a tip of the hat.

    • unkyd59 - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      +1,000,000!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Yes for much and no for some. The biggest thing is knowing when to be aggressive on the basepaths and when not to. What a difference in results. It bit the team hard early in the season and has been flawless in the last month.

      He’s gone with the stats on pinch-hitters even if he has to burn one like he did today with Dobbs. It didn’t work with Hairston but it was the right move. That is progress.

      Where the managing has to improve is on the 1-6 record in extra innings games.

      Also has to improve on substituting the players in blowouts and in the rain delays. To hear Desi wasn’t feeling well after the rain delay and had to sit today concerns me. I’ve been saying for over a week that Matty has to take the opportunities to rest the workhorses when he has the chance.

      I know MW got heat from some for pulling pitchers early but after the debacle with Stras in PIttsburgh I thought he adjusted well to being cautious. He rode Fister, Stras and JZim the last 3 days with big leads.

      Overall, MW has been improving.

      • rayvil01 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:20 PM

        Williams will be fine. Looks like he’s learning quickly. Kieth Law has had lockjaw concerning MW. When troll morons like Law shut up it’s a good sign.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        Law isn’t right on much when it comes to the Nats. He clearly doesn’t like Matt and has been out of line.

      • zmunchkin - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        I agree Ghost. MW is clearly learning from his mistakes. And mistakes are necessary to learn.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        I find most people have made good comments about him even the criticism.

        The lightning rod is when he didn’t bunt in a game where he had men on 2nd and 1st and no outs with Tanner Roark in the on-deck circle.

        Next chance in the same situation he bunted and Span was safe at 1st. With no outs and bases loaded the Nats couldn’t score. MW, learned from his mistake even though the Nats didn’t score he made the right decision.

  15. David Proctor - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Chase Hughes ‏@chasehughesCSN now
    Werth on Fister’s split ‘He’s awesome. You gotta love playing behind a guy like that… there’s not a whole lot there that you don’t like.’

  16. Candide - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    Did anyone besides me wince when Fister did his split at first base? I think I pulled my groin just watching it.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      My deep voice went from bass to soprano.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Freeland and Hoffman off the board real early. Looks like other GMs are taking Rizzo’s lead on the injured pitchers but I think there were some better choices and those guys were 15 to 30 pitcks.

  18. dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Just getting home from work and I had 2 tix that I wasted…should have given it to previous BPA and SWM award winners. Gotta check out the splits and remember that work takes 2nd base to the ballgame

  19. micksback1 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    hard to believe that Nats are only 1 back. they are beating the teams they are suppose to beat and that is good. Fister is very impressive and Rizzo gets a kudo for that. If Gio comes back healthy with Harper, Bryce decides to not be a knucklehead, the team should have a good shot of winning the East. The quesiton will be, can the Nats be good enough to go far in post season? I still have my doubts

    • dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Ya Gotta Believe, Tug

    • therealjohnc - Jun 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      Well, that’s progress. A couple of weeks ago you were having doubts that the Nats would finish above 4th.

      Keep having those doubts, Mick. It’s good luck :-)

  20. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    Kodi Medeiros at #12 to the Brewers and they passed up on Tyler Beede. Nats up in 4 spots.

  21. David Proctor - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    We’re coming up in the next 15 minutes or so.

  22. Whynat - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    One of my favorite stats of the day: Nats have taken last 9 of 10 from the Phils in Nats Park. Love being at the park and watching the folks in Phillies gear trudge home all sad and dejected.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:43 PM

      Must be a great sight! The Nats must do the same to those annoying Barves.

    • ArVAFan - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      In my section, they were just eating and drinking and ignoring the game. That’s fine, as long as they would sit down at the right times so the rest of us could actually watch what we paid for (and yes, that Fister split was worth watching!).

      Speaking of the game, Zimm took a random walk route to a fly ball, but he caught it. Given his inexperience out there, I’m not expecting grace or efficiency–I’m pleased if he gets the easy ones and doesn’t get hurt.

  23. dcwx61 - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Who’s Next
    Roger Daltry?

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    I will say it again, the Royals are the worst team in the Majors at screwing up great prospects. They pick high every year and if it wasn’t for the Greinke trade they wouldn’t have a lot of what they now have.

  25. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 5, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Fedde still available and has upside. Call it Mike.

  26. unkyd59 - Jun 5, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    Fedde

Archives

NLDS: NATIONALS VS. GIANTS

FRI: Game 1 at Washington, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2 at Washington, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3 at San Francisco, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4 at San Francisco, TBA (FS1)*
THU: Game 5 at Washington, TBA (FS1)*
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