SAN DIEGO - First things first - before I pass along some postgame quotes from Matt Williams after tonight’s 6-0 Nationals win, here’s an update on Anthony Rendon, who left the game after the fifth inning.
Rendon said that Carlos Quentin’s ground ball in the fourth inning, which hit him in the right hand, caused the hand to go numb initially. Rendon left the game after the fifth inning, and got an X-ray here at Petco Park, which came back negative.
At least for now, the Nats can breathe a sigh of relief.
“X-rays are negative,” Williams said. “Got him pretty good, though. Got all bare hand and affected his thumb and first finger. A little sore, so we decided to get him out of there and get a picture of it. But it’s negative. Which is good.”
For now, Rendon is day-to-day. The Nationals will check on him tomorrow.
“We’ll see,” Williams said. “It’s pretty swollen, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Bryce Harper is still on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his left thumb, and Ryan Zimmerman missed more than seven weeks with a fractured right thumb. The Nats are hopeful that Rendon won’t add to that list of thumb issues.
“Yeah, we don’t want any more thumbs,” Williams said. “So it’s good news that it’s negative.”
Danny Espinosa, meanwhile, has a bruised left knee after getting hit by a Tyson Ross pitch in the sixth inning. He hopes to play tomorrow, but will be reevaluated.
OK, enough injury stuff. Now on to the positive notes from the Nats’ fourth straight win and their sixth in their last seven games.
Tanner Roark was exceptional, throwing eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, walking no one, and striking out a career-high 11.
“He’s been pitching like that for us all year,” Williams said. “I saw a stat today - that’ll make nine quality starts (from him) this year. That’s really good. Just continues to pound the zone. All of his pitches. Pretty impressive.”
Rendon clubbed his ninth homer of the season, Espinosa tripled, Nate McLouth had two RBIs and Wilson Ramos had an RBI double. But Roark was the story tonight.
“Two-seamer and changeup. Not a lot of curveballs tonight,” Williams said. “He used it a couple of times, got one strikeout on it, I think. But mostly fastball-changeup, both sides of the plate, which he’s really effective when he can do that.”
Roark now has thrown 17 scoreless against the Padres this season, including his complete-game three-hitter against them in late April. He’s struck out 19 and walked just one in those 17 innings. Is it just confidence in the game plan against San Diego that’s led to those numbers?
“I don’t know,” Williams said. “I’m sure it helps if you have confidence, but a swinging bat is a dangerous bat. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the job done. He’s working hard, he’s preparing, he’s going about it the right way. So, pretty impressive.”
Over their last four games, Nats starters have struck out 31 and walked just one.
“I think that they all take pride in throwing the ball over the plate,” Williams said. “If they can have fastball command, that helps with those kind of numbers. Certainly don’t expect that all the time, but pitching staff’s been great and starters have been fantastic. So it’s good. We’re scoring some runs and have been over the last week or so. That all helps with them relaxing out there, too.”