Each month The Nats Blog will announce our Nationals Player of the Month as voted upon by our writers. This award will be determined on quality of performance as well as the impact of that performance.
The month of April was an exciting one for Washington. It saw them have their best start of a season as a franchise since moving to D.C and saw them finish a month above .500 for the first time since 2007. With this great starts saw several outstanding individual performances. Ivan Rodriguez batted over .400 for the month, playing excellent defense. Ryan Zimmerman supplied some timely hitting and some good power despite injuries, and Tyler Clippard posted an April ERA of 0.50 and notched 23 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched.
But of all the great starts for the Nationals the one that stuck out the most was that of Livan Hernandez. After not signing until late into spring training, Hernandez has supplied four excellent starts for the Nationals going 3-1 with a 0.87 ERA. Hernandez pitched at least seven innings in each of his starts, recording one shutout and allowing only three earned runs in 31 innings pitched.
Not only has he stopped runs from scoring but Livan has stopped opponents from getting hits. He's allowed only 19 hits this season, allowing no more than six in a single start. In Hernandez's soul loss, he pitched eight innings and allowed only four hits.
In the end we decided to give this award to Hernandez over the other great contenders because he gave the Nationals a chance to win in four games, keeping the score within reach for at least seven innings each time. While guys like Clippard may have had an impact on more games, Hernandez has a bigger impact in the four games he started. Simply put, if it were Garret Mock or J.D. Martin starting those four games, the Nationals likely wouldn't be 3-1 in those starts, and therefor not 13-10 overall.