Behind the arm of Ross Detwiler and the bat of Rick Ankiel, the Washington Nationals gutted out a 2-0 victory last night over the Miami Marlins. The victory helped the club improve to 11-4 to stay 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East.
Detwiler earned his second win on the season with a stellar six inning, three hit performance in which he allowed no runs and struck out seven. The young lefty showed incredible consistency with his pinpoint fastball and his breakneck curve to systematically dismantle the Marlins recently revamped lineup. He threw just 79 pitches through six innings of work, but managed to allow just four base runners. The 25-year-old has now allowed just one earned run through 16 innings on the mound, good for a 0.56 ERA.
At the plate, Ankiel collected four of the Nationals three hits, and scored both of their runs on the night. He was just a triple away from hitting for the cycle.
- While the win over a team like the Marlins feels great, the fact that the team only had five base runners the entire game is a little bit disconcerting, especially when you consider that four of those base runners were Rick Ankiel.
- To the Marlins' credit, Carlos Zambrano was pretty sharp for Miami on the night. The reformed former Chicabo Cubs ace struck out six, walked none, and allowed just two hits in seven innings of work. It's no question that when focused, Zambrano has the ability to be one of the best pitchers in National League. With a new chance with a new team, playing for a manager that he loves and he respects in Ozzie Guillen, it's clear that Zambrano is locked in and ready to produce. Through three starts he has a 2.84 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.
- That being said, Washington is going to have to figure out how to hit Zambrano at some point as these two teams will likely be battling all summer long for position within the division. This is their first look at the new look Carlos, we'll have to see how they handle him next time.
- Ryan Zimmerman made one of the better diving stabs at third base that I've ever seen last night. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit a bullet which 99 times out of 100 would have resulted in a hit between the 5/6 hole. Zimmerman snagged it on one hop with a full extension layout, and tossed Stanton out at first.
- It's worth noting that both Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche's batting averages have now fallen below .300. The two batters carried the club early one by hitting well above their career norms, but as we pointed out, it wasn't a sustainable amount of success. As the two come back down to reality, someone else will absolutely have to step up in Washington's lineup. If they dont, the team has no chance.