The Washington Nationals defeated the New York Mets this afternoon by a score of 4-0 and claimed a share of the National League East lead, improving to 4-2 overall. With the 4-0 win, the Nats took two of three games from New York, in New York.
They can thank their ace, Stephen Strasburg, for putting together a masterful 108 pitch, 6 inning performance this afternoon.
One year removed from Tommy John surgery, Strasburg resumed his role of staff ace. He took up that mantle against Johan Santana today. Strasburg threw 108 pitches, a masterful 6 shutout inning performance. Strasburg allowed just 2 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, and whiffed 9 Mets. Of the 108 pitches, 63 were for strikes. For the season, in two starts, Strasburg has pitched 13 innings and allowed 6 hits and 1 run while striking out 14. He lowered his overall ERA to 0.69.
The Nationals got Strasburg insurance runs in the top of the 7th inning and 8th innings, triggered by an Ian Desmond double with one out in the seventh inning. Danny Espinosa followed with a walk. Ryan Zimmerman then walked to load the bases. Ramon Ramirez then walked Mark DeRosa on 10 pitches with the bases loaded to bring in the second Nats run of the game. Adam LaRoche flied out to end the bases load threat. Nationals got an additional run in the 8th inning when Chad Tracy grounded into a double play, but scored Xavier Nady to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead.
The 9th inning was not friendly to New York pitching either. Zimmerman started the inning off with a single, followed by a hit by pitch on Jayson Wert and a walk by Mark DeRosa to load the bases. The Mets got two quick outs, but then Tim Byrdak walked Jesus Flores, scoring Zimmerman to give the Nats a 4-0 lead.
Shout out credit goes to the Nationals bullpen, becoming another frequent story line. Ryan Matheus pitched a scoreless seventh inning, putting the first runner on bases, but settling and striking out two. Sean Burnett pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing a single, but also whiffing two batters.Henry Rodriguez sat the Mets down in order in the ninth inning to close out the game and series win. Rodriguez recorded two more strikeouts. Overall, the contrast between pitching staffs was dramatic. The New York Mets walked a combined 10 Nationals hitters. Strasburg and the Nationals bullpen combined for a whopping 15 strike outs.
Damn, it is nice to have Stephen Strasburg back! Overall, through 6 games, the Washington Nationals starting rotation has posted a healthy 2.41 ERA.