Livan Hernandez is doing what he used to do for the Washington Nationals. Pitch effectively, eat innings. He has done that so far this year. In 4 starts so far, Livo has never pitched a start under 7 innings. That's a quality starter.
He did it again last night, pitching the Nationals to a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs and pushing the Nationals again to one game over .500 at 11-10. Surprise, surprise, your Washington Nationals are not only over .500, but sit just a game out of the top spot in the NL East.
Livo went 7 solid innings, allowed just one run, then turned it to the effective Washington bullpen, that pitched another scoreless night. Tyler Clippard continues his super effective bullpen performance pitching a scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to just 0.57 and then turning the 9th over to close Matt Capps. Capps pitched a scoreless ninth, recorded 2 strikeouts, and earned his Major League leading 9th save. Yes, Major League leading!
Ian Desmond (.258) provided the pop, singling in a run in the first inning to give the Nationals a lead they would not give up. He went 2 for 4 on the night with 2 RBIs. Christian Guzman (.286) followed that up with a triple, scoring Desmond.
Nats Status: 11-10, 1 game out of first
Next Up: Today, 2:20PM [ Luis Atilano (WAS) v. Ryan Dempster (CHI) ]
Pitching makes it work. . . The Washington Nationals success thus far in 2010 comes from one thing --- PITCHING. The Nationals are getting more quality starts and the bullpen has been exceptionally effective. That had to occur for the Nats to improve, because the offense is fine.
Take a look at their last 6 games. No starter pitched under 6 innings. Over those 6 games, Nats starters have posted a 2.20 ERA (41 innings, 10 runs). The Bullpen has been just as effecitve posting a 2.11 ERA (17.1 innings, 4 runs). As long as the Nationals continue to get quality pitching, we can expect .500 baseball or even better.
Who's the Hot Nats . . . Nyjer Morgan has a 6 game hitting streak in which he has hit .417 with 5 runs scored, 3 doubles, and 2 triples... Ian Desmond is 6 for 19 (.316) over the last 4 games. Three of the four games were multi-hit games. Adam Dunn has hit .321 over his last 7 games with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, and 6 runs driven in... Tyler Clippardis 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA out of the Nats bullpen. He has allowed just 1 run in 15.2 innings...Matt Capps leads the Major Leagues with 9 saves. He has allowed 1 run in 12.1 inning for an impressive 0.73 ERA...Livan Hernandez is 2-1 over his last 3 starts, allowing just 3 runs in 24 innings.