From the Windy City to the beach

Bob-Carpenter_BlogShot.jpg

The Nationals did it again! Another series win, this time at Chicago, makes it four series in a row, and five of the last six the Nats have either won or split.

This is the second straight year the Nats have won 2 of 3 at Wrigley Field, one of baseball's toughest road stops, so that's a nice feather in the Nats' cap.

Speaking of caps, how about Matt? He's now 10 for 10 in save opportunities and is giving a solid ballclub the dependable closer it needs to hang onto slim leads and win close games. Excellent setup work is being done by Tyler Clippard, and Brian Bruney's scoreless seventh at Chicago on Wednesday was a big step in getting him back in form.

It's all about making big pitches at the right times, and Bruney did that in pitching around 2 hits by getting an inning-ending double play ball. Luis Atilano had done the same in going 6 innings again and winning his second major league game.

The Chicago series and, at times, the Los Angeles series proved you don't need a ton of offense to win. Against the Dodgers, the Nats scored 9 runs on 24 hits, but held the NL's leading offense to 5 runs on 23 hits. The hit totals would have been much lower without the 13-inning game on Saturday.

Then in Chicago, the Nats scored just 9 runs on 20 hits but held the power-laden Cubs to 7 runs on 24 hits. The series almost tied some dubious history: not since June 2003 (the Cubs versus then not-so-good Tampa Bay) had an entire series been played at Wrigley without either team hitting a home run.

Washington did its part with Adams, Kennedy, and Dunn going deep in the series finale, but the Cubs didn't hit a single homer! Now that's good pitching in a small ballpark, even with the cold wind blowing.

Finding different ways to win - that's what the Nationals are doing right now, so it's no coincidence that they're off to their best start ever since coming to DC.

Here in Florida, there are some scores to settle with the Marlins, who beat the Nats 12 out of 18 last year. But, our team feels it can beat anyone in the league right now, and they're proving it nearly every day!