August 8, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 142 Review: Fister Dominates as Nats Top Braves

WASHINGTON LOWERS MAGIC NUMBER TO 12 GAMES

Starter Doug Fister held the Atlanta Braves to just two hits and three walks over seven innings pitched as the Washington Nationals celebrated a 2-1 win Monday night and an eight game lead over the rest of the NL East.

Relying heavily on his fast ball, Fister (W, 13-6) shut down a sleepy Atlanta offense.

The Nats, on the other hand, posted a run early when, with two outs and two on in the bottom of the first, Ian Desmond hit the third single of the inning to plate Anthony Rendon.

It was the only run Washington managed to tally until the seventh inning, but in that time, the Braves hardly threatened.  Fister tossed three 1-2-3 innings, and his only two hits allowed – both singles – came in the first and second innings, respectively.

In the meantime, the Nats could have tacked on additional runs off Mike Minor (L, 6-10) in the third inning had it not been for Atlanta catcher Gerald Laird.

After Rendon drew a one-out walk, Laird fired to second baseman Tommy La Stella to nab him in his attempt to steal second.

After the incident, Jayson Werth drew a walk of his own and Adam LaRoche singled before a wild pitch allowed the two to advance to third and second.

Unfortunately for the Nats, Minor forced Desmond to pop up on an 82 MPH knuckle curve to end the inning without adding a run.

Washington had slightly better luck in the seventh as Minor appeared to run out of gas.

Wilson Ramos led off the inning with a single and took third on a double off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera. At that point, Atlanta called upon reliever David Hale, and the Nats invited Nate Schierholtz to pinch-hit in Fister’s place.

Schierholtz could only muster a ground out to first that held the runners before Hale elected to intentionally walk Denard Span to pitch to Rendon.

Rendon grounded into a force out on the second pitch he saw, but it was enough to bring home pinch-runner Jeff Kobernus for the would-be game-winning run.

The grounder made all the difference as Washington reliever Tyler Clippard lacked fire power in the eighth.

Clippard struck out Laird to start things off, but Ryan Doumit came through with a double and Jason Heyward drew a walk. Clippard successfully struck out Ramiro Pena, but left reliever Matt Thornton in a sticky spot with Freeman in the batter’s box.

Nevertheless, Thornton gave up a single to Freeman, who batted in pinch-runner Jose Constanza on the play to trim the Nats’ lead to 2-1.

Continuing to reap the benefits of the expanded rosters, Nationals manager Matt Williams wasted no time calling upon his third reliever of the inning – Craig Stammen. This time, it paid off, as Stammen forced Justin Upton top pop out to end the inning.

Drew Storen assumed the closer role yet again, and tallied three strike outs to seal the victory for the Nats.

 

THE GOOD: Doug Fister ended his personal three-game losing streak with a solid performance through and through. He relieved heavily on his fast ball, and it proved enough to shut down Atlanta’s offense. The Nats handed him but one run of support, but Fister did not crack under pressure.

The win also lifts the Nats to 20 games above .500 and trims their Magic Number to just 12 games with 20 to go. That number will fall quickly if they can come up with victories against the Braves in each of their meetings.

THE BAD: The Nats stranded seven base runners and went 1-for-6 on a night when Mike Minor – who boasts a 4.58 ERA – allowed seven hits and two walks.

THE UGLY: Monday night’s contest marked yet another in which Rafael Soriano’s presence was hardly missed.

THE STATS: 2 R, 7 H, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 1-for-6 RISP, 7 LOB

FISTER’S STAT LINE: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, 71 of 104 pitches thrown for strikes

 

 

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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