The Washington Nationals are getting exactly what they have not been getting the past two season. It's called quality pitching. It's coming in droves. Tonight was no exception. The Nationals got a quality start from Scott Olsen combined with an effective bullpen performance to lead the Nationals to the win. The win jumps the Nats to 13-10 and in sole possession of second place in the NL East, hopping over the Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 9-1 to the first place Mets.
Scott Olsen pitched 6 shutout innings to improve to 2-1 and lower his ERA to 4.35. It is Olsen's 2nd straight start without giving up a run. In his last 2 games, Olsen has tossed 13 scoreless innings and while striking out 12 batters. Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, and Miguel Batista preserved the fine Olsen start. Bruney did allow a run and 3 hits over .2 innings, as he continues to struggle out of the Nats bullpen. Clippard was saved in the 7th inning, with the bases loaded, but a terrific diving catch by Nyjer Morgan to end the inning and get Clippard out of a jam. Clippard never did give up a hit, but he walked 2 batters. He threw another 1.1 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.50.
The Nationals welcomed back Ryan Zimmerman to the lineup after missing 9 straight games with a hamstring injury. Zimmerman powered the Nationals offensive attack, putting together his first career game with 3 multi-base hits. Zimmy went 3 for 4, smacking 2 home runs and a double, scoring 2 runs and riving in 3 more. Zimmerman is off to a fine start, hitting .362 with 4 home runs. Nyjer Morgan and Adam Kennedy each had two hits and an RBI apiece. Ivan Rodriguez was 2 for 3 with an RBI and improved his batting average to an impressive .413. The bad part of the offense tonight was the fact the Nationals struck out 16 times.
The Nationals finished the month of April on the winning side, 14-10. Nats are now 6-4 on the road and 5-5 on the NL East. On to May we go.
Players of the Game: Ryan Zimmerman and Scott Olsen
Nationals Status: 13-10, 2nd place in NL East, .5 games behind the NY Mets
Up Next: Florida Marlin, tomorrow, 7:10PM