Photo Credit: AP Photo/Cliff Owen
In last night's fantastic game between the Nationals and the Braves, there were a lot of contributors. So many, in fact, that MASN didn't show the Silver Elvis Wig winner last night. Any help from the blogosphere?
Well the Cuban Jedi Knight himself, Livan Hernandez, didn't have his best stuff or anywhere close this best outing of the year, but he got the win nonetheless. He threw 41 pitches in the first inning and 123 in only 5 1/3 innings (his shortest outing of the season by almost 2 full innings). As a matter of fact, in Livan's two shortest outings before this one (both 7 innings), he threw only 88 and 99 pitches. But somehow the offense and defense of the club stepped up, putting Livan at 4-1 for the year with a 0.99 ERA in 5 starts. Here is a great article on Livan and the Nats from Doug Glanville of ESPN.com from before last night's start.
Now let's talk about the defense, because wow. Zimmerman looked great, but come on. He's Ryan Zimmerman. He ALWAYS looks great on defense. He started the 5-4-3 game ending double play to give Matt Capps his 11th save of the year in 11 tries and continues his great run after winning the MLB Delivery Man of the Month for April. (And helping me stay in first in my fantasy league.) Adam Kennedy also had a great pick at first on that double play on a terrible throw from the AG (both of those players were defensive subs by Riggleman at the end).
The real story is Roger Bernadina. Roger dropped a routine fly ball in the first that turned into an unearned run that put the Braves up 1-0. But in the top of the third, with the Nats up 2-1 after a homer by the Hammer and an RBI single by Desmond, Bernadina went after a line drive to right by Troy Glaus with Chipper at 3rd base and 2 outs. Roger went completely horizontal, dove fully extended, to make the most remarkable catch I have seen all year (and it WAS SportsCenter's top play last night).
Photo Credit: Nats320 (What a great picture grab. Thanks!)
Then the bats caught fire once again. Last night featured home runs for Willingham to left, Desmond to center, and Dunn to right... WAY into right. Second deck scoreboard pavilion deep. The offense looked to be firing on all cylinders throughout the game. Desmond had an RBI single to give the Nats the lead in the 2nd, and the team never fell behind again. This team is resilient and so much fun to watch this season at 14-12 and in 3rd place in the East. The Nats will go for yet another series victory tonight with a win against the Braves. If they can win tonight or tomorrow, it would be their 5th series win of the year.