The Washington Nationals used a four run third inning against Roy Halladay to earn their second win of the series over the Philadelphia Phillies last night, 5-2. With the win the Nats victory, they have improved to 26-17 and will go for their first sweep of the season Wednesday night against Cole Hamels.
Steve Lombardozzi, Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, and yes, Jordan Zimmermann all had multi-hit games for Washington. Harper paced the team with two RBI. The Nats offense, even with the absence of Ryan Zimmerman, looked the smoothest it had all season on a night where they tallied 10 hits, including two home runs.
On the hill, Zimmermann earned his third win of the season while allowing just one earned run. The 26-year-old (his birthday is today) allowed nine base runners by scattering seven hits and giving up two walks. The result was a 107 pitch count in only six innings of work.
Up three runs entering the bottom of the ninth, the Nationals called on Tyler Clippard to be the team's closer for the night. The former All-Star recorded a one-two-three inning en route to his first save of the year. The club had announced prior to the game that Henry Rodriguez, who has struggled to find the strike zone in recent weeks, would no longer serve as the team's make shift closer during the absence of Drew Storen.
- What goes up must come down. Adam LaRoche was 0-3 on the night, which means he is now 0 for his last 17, dating back five games. The Nats haven't been burned much by LaRoche's slump, yet, as the team has seen in an offensive surge in the past week with the recent lineup adjustment by manager Davey Johnson. Still, it was hard for us to believe that LaRoche could continue his .336/.424/.600 pace, and it is likely that we will see him come back to reality in the coming months. Nats fans should not be upset by this. LaRoche has already outplayed his season total from 2010, and has surpassed any expectations we could have hoped for. Even if he regresses back to his norm, he will be an asset for Washington at first base, and will have helped guide the Nationals offensively through a point where there was no other offense.
- Ryan Zimmerman did not play last night due to some soreness in his right shoulder. That is a flare up of the same injury that put the star third baseman on the Disabled List for half the month of May. Zimmerman and Davey Johnson both cautioned reporters that it was just a result of everyday wear and tear and that it simply needed to be rested. Nevertheless, it's something to keep an eye on moving forward.
- Clippard looked solid in his first save opportunity. While I can understand the decision to gamble on Henry Rodriguez's stuff, I think this was a decision that took a little too long to make. Clippard has been one of the best bullpen hands in baseball in recent years, and allowing him to pitch the final three frames of a game just makes sense.
- After an 0-4 night on Monday, Steve Lombardozzi came back Tuesday with two hits in the leadoff spot for Washington. The thing that impresses me most about the gutsy utility player is that he has hit the ball hard on nearly all of his outs. He is such a great contact hitter, which is exactly what the team needs in the leadoff spot. In the Month of May he is hitting .362/.412/.447, while striking out just one time.