October 20, 2019

Washington Nationals’ Minor League and Prospect Report for Week Ending May 25th

As we wrap up another week of minor league baseball, here’s a look around the Washington Nationals’ farm system and some players making headlines. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Spring Training 2014 Preview Part IV: The Rotation

Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg pitched five innings and earned his fourth win, May 20, 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg delivers in May 2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

As a whole, the Washington Nationals return mostly intact from the teams that won 98 games in 2012 and 86 games in 2013. This is a veteran team with high aspirations of competing in the World Series. I hardly think rookie manager Matt Williams will boldly proclaim “World Series or Bust” as his predecessor did, but the implications are there.

If the team overachieved in ’12 and underachieved last season, what is the logical progression for 2014? If the ’12 and ‘13 results had been flipped, I think everyone would be riding the Nats as an odd-on favorite this season. They may be anyway.

With a rotation as solid No. 1 through No. 4 as any in baseball, a deep bullpen, an infield full of silver sluggers and a versatile outfield led by a burgeoning superstar, the Washington Nationals seem poised to make noise this season on a national level.

For the next two weeks, District Sports Page will preview the Washington Nationals 2014 season. This week, we’ll do profiles of the players on the 40-man roster and significant non-roster invitees, players that have a chance to make an impact on the Nats roster this season.

Here’s the schedule:

Monday: The Infield
Tuesday: The Outfield
Wednesday: The Catchers
Thursday: The Rotation
Friday: The Bullpen

In week two, we’ll profile the manager and front office, reveal our Top-25 minor leaguers and prospects, examine the “big picture” the Nats this season, and do a little statistical analysis and projecting.

THE ROTATION

Stephen Strasburg, RHP: Some will look at his W-L record last year and decry Strasburg a bust. Au contraire. His ERA went down as his innings went up. His hit rate went down and his walk rate remained steady. He traded a few Ks for more ground balls (from 44% in ’12 to 52% in ’13), though he struck out just six fewer in 24 more innings, and his homer per fly ball rate stayed level. He’s the very definition of elite skills and getting better with age. This could be the season he puts it all together – dominance with patience, pitching not throwing, winning and leading a top-rate pitching staff. The only thing he needs now is to eclipse the 200 inning mark to finally establish him at the top of the hill, if you pardon the pun.

Gio Gonzalez, LHP: Gonzalez’ ’13 season wasn’t nearly as good as his breakout ’13, but so what? It’s not like he fell off a cliff. His ERA jumped 0.40, but that can largely be attributed to his home run rate popping back up to his career norm. It’s all about limited walks with Gonzalez, and he held the gains he made in ’13 when he came over to the N.L. He takes the ball every fifth day and has done the same job for the past three seasons. He’s as dependable an asset in the big leagues as there is in the game right now. It might not be upper-level, top-five-in-the-game elite production, but he’d be the staff ace on a LOT of big league teams.

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP: Zimmermann was the same pitcher last season as he’d been for the previous two, only this time he was the beneficiary of league average run production and his win total exploded to lead the N.L. and garner enough Cy Young votes to finish seventh. Zimmermann had a rough July (7.18 ERA in five starts) but bounced back to post a 3.36 ERA the rest of the way. His walk rate (1.7 per nine) is elite and there are more Ks there if he wants them. But he’s steadily excellent as he is. He is scheduled to hit free agency following the ’15 season (as is Desmond), and he’s going to be expensive to sign to a long-term deal, as he’s already stated in the media he won’t settle for a “hometown” discount.

Doug Fister, RHP: Acquired in December from the Tigers for INF Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Robbie Ray, Fister has toiled mostly in anonymity for most of his career, first in Seattle, then in Motown. But Fister’s main skills are hardly those of a second fiddle. Fister is a command and control specialist who generates a ton of ground balls, almost never gives up home runs (0.6 per nine) and possesses an elite K/BB ratio. Fister should thrive in front of a defense that, while not quite elite itself, is far and above what he’s been used to in Detroit. He’s the No. 4 in D.C. only by default.

Ross Detwiler, LHP: Detwiler will be given the first opportunity to claim the No. 5 starter spot in Spring Training. The Nats would love to have a second lefty in the rotation, but it all depends on if Detwiler, not young anymore at 27, can stay healthy and show the gains he made in ’12 were real. His K rate, which has never been all that good, plummeted last season to 4.9 per nine innings, even though his walk rate was down too. The hip injury of two years ago robbed him of several miles an hour off the fastball, and he dealt with back and neck problems all last season. It’s incredible the amount of injuries this guy has gone through, but none to his arm. A move to the pen might help with velocity and longevity.

Taylor Jordan, RHP: Jordan took everyone by surprise last season, called up for an emergency start or two and ended up sticking around for nine starts to a 3.66 ERA and 1.355 WHIP. He’s another ground ball specialist with good control and middling strikeout rates, so he has a limited ceiling. But he certainly had the look of a big leaguer last season.

Tanner Roark, RHP: Ready for a stat? Roark threw 141 sliders to right handed hitters last season. The number of hits he gave up on that pitch: 0. As in zero. Roark is already 27, so the former 25th round pick is making up for lost time, but in 14 games and five starts he went 7-1 with a 1.51 ERA and 0.913 WHIP. That’s silly. He’s not going to repeat those numbers, obviously, but he’s stingy with free passes and keeps the ball on the ground. Noticing a pattern?

Ross Ohlendorf, RHP: Ohlendorf, he of the old-timey windup, resurrected his career last season. After consecutive years of ERAs over 7.50, Ohlendorf was probably on his last big league chance. He practically ditched his slider and relied on several different fastballs, changing speeds and locations enough to keep hitter honest most of the time. His “stuff” doesn’t compare to most of the arms the Nats have on staff, but he survived on the edges and got himself another shot this season. Is willing to work from rotation or pen and won’t be overwhelmed if the Nats have to plug him into any one of a variety of roles.

Sammy Solis, LHP: Solis, now 25, returned from Tommy John surgery to make 13 starts last season between the Gulf Coast league and Potomac. He was considered a fast riser with middle ceiling when drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft, so Solis will need to show very quickly at Harrisburg to regain the luster of a mid-rotation starter. If not, look for the Nats to quickly convert him into a bullpen arm, a role that he could enjoy a long, healthy MLB career at. It’s all up to his K/9, which took a hit last year in the first year back after surgery.

A.J. Cole, RHP: Mike Rizzo loves A.J. Cole. He drafted him in the fourth round in 2010, traded him to Oakland in the Gio Gonzalez deal, then traded back for him in the Michael Morse trade. Cole was okay at the start of the year in Potomac last season, but really took off upon his promotion to Harrisburg, where in seven starts he went 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA and 0.904 WHIP and 4.90 K/BB ratio. If Cole can get his breaking ball on par with his big, heavy fastball and MLB-average change, he could challenge for the rotation in 2015.

Matt Purke, LHP: Purke is still young, just 23. But he’s only made 21 starts in the past two seasons while dealing with the same impingement in his shoulder that cost him his last year at TCU and a shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Purke’s issue is a lot like Detwiler, a cross-body action with his arm that generates a lot of torque, which in turn causes body parts to revolt and destruct. His fastball and changeup are both fringy right now and he needs innings to prove he’s still worth the effort, but it looks more and more like the Nats $4 million gamble on him in the third round of the 2011 draft will end up bust.

Chris Young, RHP: The 6’10” Young didn’t pitch in the Majors last season. Shoot, he hardly pitched at all, making just nine starts in the minors, including seven in Syracuse, where he went 1-2 with a 6.81 ERA and almost walked as many (3.9 per nine) as struck out (4.5 per nine). So why is he listed here? I’m not sure. The Nats invited him to Spring Training again and since he’s a MLB veteran I’m giving him all due respect by listing him here, but at 35, he’s done. He never had much of a fastball to begin with, relying on guile and his impressive frame, but I’ll be shocked if Young makes it through Spring Training.

Washington Nationals Game 152: With 10 games left, Nats take hard fall back to reality

No one imagined that the Washington Nationals would ride a perfect stretch through the end of the season. But, after two dramatic wins against the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, the now 81-71 ball club dropped an early lead to fall 5-2 Wednesday night.

Ross Ohlendorf (L, 4-1) began his second start in place of Stephen Strasburg by retiring 10 straight batters.

In the meantime, the Nats finally got to starter Alex Wood in the fifth. Anthony Rendon led off with a single before taking third on Freddie Freeman’s fielding error, which allowed Denard Span to reach first safely. Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases before Jayson Werth walked in the first run of the game.

As Manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to calm Wood, Wood shouted some choice words at home plate umpire CB Bucknor. Of course, Gonzalez himself earned an ejection as he followed Wood’s  performance with one of his own. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 147 Review: Nats extend win streak to seven; pull within 4.5 of NL Wild Card

On a crisp, cool night in the nation’s capital that had the look and feel of October baseball, the Washington Nationals topped the Philadelphia Phillies 6-1 to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Perhaps more importantly, with the Cincinnati Reds’ loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Nats narrowed their focus on an NL Wild Card slot by pulling within 4.5 games.

Things looked grim before the first pitch was thrown on Friday as would-be starter Stephen Strasburg was scratched due to forearm tightness. In his place, however, Ross Ohlendorf provided the Nats with a solid five innings.

The Phillies notched one on the scoreboard in the top of the first after Cesar Hernandez walked and Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz hit back-to-back one-out singles to put Philadelphia up 1-0.

After Ohlendorf received a pep talk, he struck out Darin Ruf and Cody Asche to end the inning.

And, from there, the Phillies failed to tally a second run on the night.

In the meantime, Ian Desmond singled off starter Kyle Kendrick (L, 10-13) to tie the game in the bottom of the inning after Ryan Zimmerman singled and Jayson Werth walked.

Wilson Ramos put Washington on top in the second after leading off with a solo shot to left center.

And, Ryan Zimmerman repeated the feat in the bottom of the third with a lead-off solo shot in a similar spot to make it 3-1 Nationals.

By the time Ohlendorf stepped off the mound, he had achieved a final line of 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K on 59 of 88 pitches thrown for strikes.

Before Craig Stammen could take the mound in the sixth, the Nats tallied another run on a single from Zimmerman, a walk from Werth and back-to-back singles by Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond to make it 4-1.

Cesar Jimenez took the mound in Kendrick’s relief to strike out Adam LaRoche before Luis Garcia relieved Jimenez. With Garcia’s first batter faced, Ramos chopped one back to the mound. The ball took an awkward hop and deflected off Garcia’s glove, allowing both Werth and Harper to score to bring the Nationals to a final score of 6-1 for the win.

THE GOOD: The Nationals’ 17-5 record since August 20th marks the best in the Majors in that time frame, according to ESPN. At long last, it seems their much-awaited comeback streak has arrived – but is it too late? With the Reds’ loss, an NL Wild Card slot no longer appears unattainable, but the Nats would have to do much more than fare well against Kyle Kendrick.

THE BAD: Adam LaRoche went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

THE STATS: 6 R, 11 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 4-for-9 with RISP, 8 LOB

NEXT GAME: Saturday, 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park – Cole Hamels (7-13, 3.45) vs. Gio Gonzalez (10-6, 3.31)

Nats Nightly: Ohlendorf the hero in 2-1 win over Fish

Patrick Reddington and Doghouse of SBNation’s Federal Baseball discuss the Washington Nationals 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins. The Nats finally found an offense worse than their own, and the doubts about Rafael Soriano persist.

Washington Nationals Game 131 Review: Ohlendorf leads Nats to 2-1 win over Fish

UNLIKELY HERO RUNS RECORD TO 3-0 IN ANOTHER STRONG LATE SEASON START

The Washington Nationals offensive attack has been near the bottom of the National League all season long, but there’s one team that’s been consistently worse: the Miami Marlins. Tuesday night, Ross Ohlendorf and four other Nats pitchers combined to allow just seen base runners, leading the Nats to a 2-1 win over the Marlins before 24,616 at Nationals Park.

The win is the Nats sixth in their last seven games and, coupled with Cincinnati’s 6-1 loss to the Cardinals, cuts the deficit in the Wild Card standings to seven games with just 31 games remaining in the regular season.

Ohlendorf (W. 3-0, 2.49) retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a single to Marlins rookie outfielder Christina Yelich to lead off the fourth inning. The journeyman right-hander with the old-timey wind-up then allowed just one more hit and walk up to the leadoff batter in the sixth — Yelich again.

This time, however, after seeing four straight “changeups” Yelich finally got a hold of one he liked and ripped the offering into the Nats bullpen, where Tanner Roark was already warming up. Manager Davey Johnson decided the five terrific innings, on just 78 pitches, was all he needed to see out of Ohlendorf and he turned things over to the bullpen.

“He just kind of ran out of gas, like he did before [in the start that precipitated his trip to the D.L.],” Johnson said. “But you never know with him because he puts a lot on it. Other times, it’s like he’s changing up off his fastball. But when he takes 10 miles off, he gets to scaring me a little bit.”

Roark started off shaky. After getting Donovan Solano to fly out, he then walked the next two batters he faced. But the rookie reliever regained focus to strike out Ed Lucas and Justin Ruggiano to leave the runners stranded.

From there, the Nats cruised. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano all pitched scoreless innings, with Soriano allowing the only base runner, what turned out to be a harmless two-out single before coaxing one more groundout to earn his 34th save of the season.

The Nats got all the runs they needed in the bottom of the first inning off Nathan Eovaldi (L, 2-5, 3.76). Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper both connected for one-out singles. Jayson Werth grounded out to third, but Zimmerman scored on the play. Ian Desmond followed with a single that plated Harper from second base, and that’s all the run support that Ohlendorf and the four relievers needed.

THE GOOD: Ohlendorf continues to amaze. After a shaky first start coming off the disabled list last week (4 ER in 4.1 IP) he got right back to doing what he’s done all season for the Nats. He has a career 4.87 ERA in 120 MLB games (and that includes his stellar 2.49 in 12 games this season), so who knows if it will continue, but the guy has resurrected his career and someone will give him a shot in a rotation next spring.

Honorable mention to Ian Desmond, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and Bryce Harper and Adam LaRoche both had two hits apiece.

Also, Denard Span went 1-for-4, which means he extended his season-high hitting streak to 10 games.

THE BAD: Jayson Werth has been the Nats offensive MVP this season, but even MVPs take the collar. 0-for-4 in this one.

THE UGLY: Wilson Ramos went 0-for-4 and stranded four in the process. Desmond and LaRoche were on base all night ahead of the Buffalo but it just wasn’t his night.

THE STATS: 9 hits, 2 BBs, 7 Ks. 1-for-8 with RISP, 8 LOB. No errors or double plays.

NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:05 pm against the Marlins. Stephen Strasburg (6-9, 3.00) hosts Henderson Alvarez (2-3, 3.86).

NATS NOTES: Before the game, the Nats recalled RHP Ryan Mattheus from AAA-Syracuse and returned LHP Xavier Cedeno to the Chiefs.

Washington Nationals Game 104 Review: Zimmerman ends pitcher’s duel with walk-off homer

No one would have thought All-Star starter Matt Harvey against journeyman spot starter Ross Ohlendorf would have ended up a pitcher’s duel. The Harvey part, sure, especially the way the Washington Nationals offense has been inept since the All-Star break. But Ohlendorf was just as good as Harvey, dominating the New York Mets for his seven innings of work.

Neither figured in the decision though, as a 1-1 ninth inning tie turned into a dramatic walk-off win, as Ryan Zimmerman’s solo home run in the ninth inning off LaTroy Hawkins gave the Nats a 2-1 win before 33,689 jubilant patrons at Nationals Park.

The blast was Zimmerman’s first extra-base hit in 56 plate appearances over 13 games and his first walk-off homer since 2011.

The starters traded zeroes until the fourth, when the Mets broke the ice against Ohlendorf. Josh Satin doubled to right with one out and scored one out later on John Buck’s RBI double that carried over Steve Lombardozzi’s head in left.

The Nats tied it up in the fifth, courtesy of an unearned run. Jayson Werth led off with a single to center, his second hit of the game and the Nats’ third. Ian Desmond drew a walk, moving Werth up 90 feet. After Steve Lombardozzi failed to get a bunt down with one strike, then struck out, Wilson Ramos hit a chopper up the middle.

Shortstop Justin Turner made a nice play and flip to Daniel Murphy to cut down Desmond, but Murphy’s relay throw was way up the line and actually hit Ramos, allowing Werth to come all the way around to score, tying the game.

New York threatened again in the seventh, but were rebuffed. Andrew Brown reached leading off the inning courtesy of Ryan Zimmerman’s second fielding error of the game. Harvey sacrificed successfully and Brown moved up a base. Ohlendorf got Juan Lagares to fly to center on a nice running catch by Denard Span. He then carefully pitched around Daniel Murphy — who was red hot all day — before getting David Wright to foul out to end the threat, on his 114th pitch of the day.

Ohlendorf was the story of the game for the Nats. Recalled as an insurance policy and emergency starter, then transferred into the bullpen, Ohlendorf got the call for the double-header start and was excellent. The right-hander gave up just the one run on six hits and two walks, striking out eight in the process.

The journeyman put up ERAs of 7.77 and 8.15 the past two seasons for San Diego and Pittsburgh, but he’s been a godsend for the Nats this season and could very well find himself in the rotation once Taylor Jordan is shut down in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.

For the Mets, Harvey was just as good. He went eight innings, allowing just an unearned run on five hits and one walk, striking out seven in the process.

THE GOOD: Ohlendorf. Stellar performance.

THE BAD: Rafael Soriano. Not a good performance with a hit and a walk in the ninth inning, but he escaped without giving up a run.

THE UGLY: Denard Span and Anthony Rendon combined to go 0-for-8 at the top of the order.

THE STATS: 6 hits, 1 BB, 7 Ks. 0-for-4 with RISP, 3 LOB. E: Zimmerman (16, fielding); one DP.

NEXT GAME: Saturday at 3:05 pm ET against the Mets. Dan Haren (4-11, 5.79) hosts Dillon Gee (7-7, 4.07).

NATS NOTES: Bryce Harper did not start the second game after aggravating his knee making a sliding catch in the day game but did pinch-hit in the eighth inning off Harvey, grounding out to short.

Following the game, the Nats optioned Drew Storen to AAA-Syracuse to make room for Ryan Mattheus on the roster.

Washington Nationals Game 93 Review: Strasburg suffers worst career start in Nats’ 8-3 loss to Marlins

After notching three runs in the first inning, the Washington Nationals still managed to fall, 8-3, to the Miami Marlins Friday night in what marked the worst start of Stephen Strasburg’s career.

Strasburg tossed just two innings against the Marlins but, in that time-frame, he had given up seven earned runs on five hits and four walks, blowing a three-run lead by the bottom of the first.

The Nats’ half-inning lead was made possible by Ian Desmond’s single, sandwiched between two walks off Nathan Eovaldi (W, 2-0). After Ryan Zimmerman struck out, Adam LaRoche doubled in Span and Desmond. Harper came home on a Jayson Werth grounder and, just like that, the Nationals were sitting pretty. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Game 74 Review: Haren hammered in 7-1 loss to Rockies

The Washington Nationals scored one run or fewer 19 times coming into Saturday’s matinee against the Colorado Rockies. Make it an even 20 now, as three Rockies pitchers combined to limit the Nats to one run in a 7-1 blowout, snapping the Nats modest three-game winning streak and knocking the Nats back to .500 at 37-37.

The Nats fall to 5 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the N.L. East pending the results of the Braves game Saturday night against Milwaukee.

Nats starter Dan Haren continued his forgettable 2013 campaign with another loss, allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings. His record falls to 4-9 and his ERA balloons to an N.L.-worst 6.15.

Haren told reporters after the game, “No one wants to be boo’d. I’d probably boo myself, too. I’m not doing well.”

The Rockies didn’t waste any time pouncing on Haren’s especially juicy offerings Saturday. The second batter of the game, light-hitting D.J. LeMahieu, took him deep — his first home run of the season — off a 1-0 85-MPH cutter  that didn’t cut. Carlos Gonzalez followed with an opposite field double to left field. Michael Cuddyer then drove home CarGo with a single to left, with Cuddyer taking second on the throw home.

Haren got catcher Wilin Rosario swinging for the second out, but couldn’t stem the bleeding. Corey Dickerson smacked an 84-MPH cutter into center field to plate Cuddyer and the Rockies had a three-run first inning off Haren.

Colorado got back at it in the fourth inning. Rosario led off the inning with a single to center. Dickerson followed with a double, but the slow-footed catcher had to stop at third. No matter, as Haren uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Rosario to score and Dickerson to move up to third. Haren induced a ground ball out from Nolen Arenado, but then hit recently recalled infielder Josh Rutledge.

That prompted a visit from pitching coach Steve McCatty, but it only delayed further disappointment for Nats fans, as Haren gave up an run-scoring line drive single to opposing pitcher Jhoulis Chacin, which mercifully drove Haren from the game. Ross Ohlendorf relieved and struck out Dexter Folwer for the second out of the inning, but LeMahieu snuck a single up the middle to carry home the Rockies sixth run before getting out of the inning.

Haren’s numbers weren’t pretty in the least. The veteran righty gave up six earned runs on seven hits, including his league leading 19th home run allowed of the season, while striking out five in just 3 1/3 innings. His start was a stark contrast to the efforts the Nats have benefitted from the past three games from Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg.

Ohlendorf cruised until the top of the eighth, when Arenado ended a seven-pitch at bat with a solo home run, his sixth of the year, off an 93-MPH changeup to make it 7-0. Ohlendorf gave up just the one run on four hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. 52 of his 77 pitches were strikes.

Ryan Zimmerman broke up the shutout in the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run into the Rockies bullpen, his ninth of the season and first at home this year.

THE GOOD: Ross Ohlendorf. Another impressive performance by the Princeton grad, who may have been auditioning for a spot in the starting rotation.

THE BAD: Steve Lombardozzi, Roger Bernadina and Jhonatan Solano combined to go 0-for-8 with one walk in the 6-7-8 spots in the Nats batting order.

THE UGLY: Dan Haren, as if we had another choice. It’s tough to keep piling on a veteran guy like this, but he’s just been terrible and was no better in this one. For the season, his ERA is 6.15, which is last in the National League among all qualified starters.

THE STATS: 6 hits, 1 BB, 4 Ks. 0-for-4 with RISP, 4 LOB. No errors, 1 DP.

NEXT GAME: Sunday at 1:35 pm against the Rockies. Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.34) hosts Jorge de la Rosa (7-4, 3.21).

Washington Nationals Game 64 Review: Ohlendorf leads Nats to 5-1 win over Rockies

The Washington Nationals used eight starting pitchers all of last season, and only five up to September 1. Wednesday night, they used their eighth starter so far this season, sending journeyman Ross Ohlendorf against the Colorado Rockies at mile-high Coors Field. Ohlendorf came through for the Nats, keeping the Rockies’ potent offense off the board for six innings, leading the Nats to a 5-1 win to even the three-game series at a game apiece.

The Nats (32-32) called up Ohlendorf to make a start in Stephen Strasburg’s normal spot in the rotation. With the Nats’ ace due back next week, it’s probably a one-off shot for Ohlendorf, but he made the most of it. The 30-year old veteran journeyman, who owns an 18-32 record with a 5.10 ERA in 108 MLB games with the Yankees, Pirates and Padres pitched six innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits and two walks, striking out two. Ohlendorf threw 54 of his 89 pitches for strikes.

The Nats stuck first in the fourth inning against Rockies starter Jorge de la Rosa. Ryan Zimmerman earned a nine-pitch base on balls and took second on Jayson Werth’s comebacker. Adam LaRoche struck out looking, but Ian Desmond delivered with two outs, singling to right field to plate Zimmerman.

They tacked on more runs in the sixth. With de la Rosa running out of gas, Jeff Kobernus walked on four pitches. Zimmerman then clobbered one to deep center, where center fielder Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez collided, with the ball falling safely for an RBI double for Zimmerman, ending de la Rosa’s night.

Werth grounded out against reliever Adam Ottovino, moving Zimmerman to third. The Rockies intentionally walked LaRoche to set up a righty-righty matchup with Desmond. Ottovino uncorked a wild pitch, moving LaRoche up to second. Desmond then foiled the Rockies plans, singling to center to score both runners and give the Nats a 4-0 lead.

The Rockies finally got to Ohlendorf in the sixth. Fowler walked with one out, but was erased on a fielder’s choice, with Jonathan Herrera taking his place at first. Herrera stole second when no defensive player covered the bag. With two outs and first base open, the Nats decided to pitch to MVP candidate Carlos Gonzalez, and he made them pay, tripling to left field to drive in Herrera.

Ohlendorf got out of the inning by coaxing a long fly ball from Troy Tulowitzki to end the frame.

The Nats picked up another run in the eighth as LaRoche doubled to right, took third on Desmond’s ground out, and scored on Anthony Rendon’s RBI double. Rendon has 13 total bases in six games since rejoining the Nats. Danny Espinosa had 13 total bases in his previous 19 games before being placed on the D.L.

From there, the game was in the hands of the bullpen, and Ian Krol, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano all did their jobs to deliver the win.

THE GOOD: Ross Ohlendorf, naturally. He’ll probably only get one start for now, but he was very good in a tough park to pitch in when the Nats really needed it.

THE BAD: Denard Span. 0-for-4.

THE UGLY: The Nats lost four runners on the bases, including Jeff Kobernus getting thrown out stealing in the first inning, and Ian Desmond caught stealing twice. For a team struggling to score runs, you can’t waste outs on the bases.

THE STATS: 8 hits, 8 BBs (a season-high), 8 Ks. 3-for-11 with RISP, 8 LOB. E: Ohlendorf (1, throw).

NEXT GAME: Thursday at 3:10 pm ET against the Rockies. Ross Detwiler (2-4, 2.76) returns from the disabled list to face LHP Jeff Francis (2-4, 6.30).

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