The Nats had a good, dare I say great, few days when I was out of town. Maybe I should take vacation more often, just for the team, you know. Rattling off a 4 game win streak, it finally ended Sunday with a loss to Toronto. But they started by taking 2 out of 3 from the Yankees earlier in the week. I wasn’t surprised that Lannan beat em. In fact, that was the matchup I was really looking forward to, Lannan vs. Wang – 2 similar pitchers with a history of success in the majors. Lannan won the game, but also lowered his ERA to an impressive 3.38. And since I mentioned it last week, I’ll follow up, that puts him 14th in the NL among starters. And once again – after game 2 of the season (his first 2 outings weren’t pretty) – he has an ERA of 2.59.
I was more surprised on Thursday. Lots of unheralded guys come up from the minors, pitch well a few games, then start getting knocked around. Once the major league scouts see you enough, it’s over. Stammen has pitched ok for a few games, but I wasn’t sure if it was gonna get better or worse. So far it’s looking better. This last game he didn’t allow a run and made it into the 7th innning. The game before that, 2 ER and went into the 6th. This is all after a 5 ER start where he didn’t get past the 5th. It was his worst start of the season, and it suggests to me that he isn’t just going to fold in bad situations. Meanwhile, after Stammen came out, the bullpen really held on. 4 pitchers came in, went 2 2/3, and only gave up 2 BBs and 1H. Not a bad shut em down bullpen, eh? At least for one game, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.
Friday was an impressive win as well. Uncharacteristic again, the Nats saw an impressive bullpen performance. First, Zimmermann went 5 2/3 giving up only 1 run but leaving with 2 men on. Wells came in and got the remaining out. 5 pitchers followed him, since the Nats couldn’t score either, and none of them gave up a run. Again only giving up 2 BB and 1 H, this time for 5 1/3 inning, the bullpen looked real good. Hanrahan went 1 2/3, and Colome, he of the 6.35 ERA, got the win. In the bottom of the 11th, Guzman got a hit, and Nick Johnson walked in an 8 pitch AB. Zimmerman was walked to get to Dunn, who fell behind 0-2. But he smacked a liner down the RF line and they won the game.
The culmination of the streak was Willie Harris‘ hit in the bottom of the 12th inning on Saturday. It was big because it’s big anytime a team gets a walk off win. It was big because the Nats blew a late game lead again after one of their rookie pitchers, this time Detwiler (7 IP, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 ER), pitched well again, yet they actually held after the tie again, stopped the bad guys in extras, and won the game. It was big because they won in extra innings for the second day in a row. That brings their number of wins in extra innings this year to two.
Did this win streak allow Acta to keep his job? Or was it already kept. I dunno, but things look decidedly less bleak for Manny this Monday than they did last Monday.
Finally, on Saturday, the team hosting a group of bloggers at the stadium. While I was stuck out of town (thouroughly enjoying myself, but upset at missing Blogger Day), intrepid beat reporter for The Nationals Review and friend slash fellow baseball fiend slash guy I bounce many many ideas off of for this blog, Brian, was able to attend. He did a great job representing The Nats Review, and while I was extremely jealous he got to go, I’m glad he was able to do this for the site. Tomorrow, I’ll post his full write up, and probably about a million pictures. He’s got a good camera.