The starting pitching has been tremendous for weeks now.
The defense has really turned around in a big way.
And now, with the opening day lineup finally back in place after nearly three months, the offense is starting to churn out big-time performances.
The Nationals put up a seven-spot for the third straight game, marking the first time the team has done so since September of 2012 (when the Nats scored seven or more five games in a row), and Stephen Strasburg went 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run, in the Nats’ 7-1 win over the Rockies.
Jayson Werth went 2-for-3 with two doubles, two walks and three RBIs, Anthony Rendon added two RBIs himself, and the Nats cruised to their fourth straight win.
In their last 11 games, the Nats are 8-3. They’re starting to click.
Here’s manager Matt Williams after the win:
On Strasburg bouncing back after having some mechanical issues his last time out: “Well I think strike one is probably the biggest difference. Got ahead of a lot of hitters tonight. His curveball was effective. His changeup was effective. He got deep into the game. He threw a lot of pitches, but he was in command. So I think that’s the biggest difference - he didn’t fall behind guys. And for him, that’s important. It’s important for everybody, but especially him.”
On Strasburg working deep into the game: “He’s got a shutout going until his last inning, so you want to take him as far as you can take him. He was a little limited his last time out, he was in the 80s his last time. But yeah, anytime somebody’s got a shutout like that, we’ve seen it with Zim this year, try to push him through the eighth and preserve that. LeMahieu got a curveball and took care of that in the last inning, but I thought he pitched really well.”
On what he’s liked about his team offensively of late: “It’s just, we’ve gotten a lot of opportunities the last few days. A lot of guys out there. And that’s what you ask for. We’ve had a lot of opportunity with guys in scoring position, and guys have come through. Jayson started it early and Zim hit the sac fly and that put us ahead early. That helps your pitching staff and you get into the flow of the game if you can capitalize on those opportunities early. And we did tonight.”
On it looking like there was something wrong with a finger on Strasburg’s throwing hand: “Yeah, he’s just got a little bit of irritation there from throwing curveballs and again, it’s sweating. That’s part of the deal when it gets hot and humid. He’s just got a little bit of irritation on his thumb, but he’ll be fine.”
On Strasburg’s interesting trip around the bases in the fourth, after his double: “It was good. The first part of it was good. The other parts, I don’t know. But he ended up scoring, so that’s all that matters.”
On if there was a reason why he went with Kevin Frandsen as a defensive replacement at second base late in the game over Danny Espinosa: “No. No reason at all. Potentially looking at Danny tomorrow. Danny’s been working hard. Took a lot of extra work today, a lot of extra grounders, a lot of extra hitting. So no reason at all, just to get Franny in there. Get him an AB.”
On Ryan Zimmerman at third base the last two days: “Good. He’s right on the money with everything. It’s very hard to teach the play that he made, being able to give with the ball. It’s a sense of right off the bat, pace of ball, hop. That just comes from experience. He really gave with that ball in the hole. Gave himself some time to get there and turn around and made a strong throw over to first. So everything was great.”