December 8, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 144 Review: Werth continues to power Nats late surge

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN BECOMES N.L.’S FIRST 17-GAME WINNER

The Washington Nationals hit three home runs, including Jayson Werth’s 23rd of the season, and Jordan Zimmermann gutted out five innings when he wasn’t his best, to defeat the New York Mets 6-3 before 20,307 at Citi Field.

The Nats have won four in a row to move six games over .500 for the first time all season, and with Cincinnati’s 9-1 loss to the Cubs, they pull within five games in the loss column behind the Reds for the final wild card spot in the N.L.

A month ago, the Nats were four games below /500 and left for dead by everyone, and rightfully so. But a 21-9 stretch in their past 30 games have put them in a position to be hopeful and play meaningful baseball down the stretch. They are still behind the eight-ball, no doubt. But they still have two games in-hand over the Reds.

All-Star Jordan Zimmermann didn’t have his best stuff Tuesday night, but he pitched long enough to qualify for this league-leading 17th win of the season. He allowed three earned runs on eight hits and one walk, striking out just four.

Zimmermann benefitted greatly from three Nats home runs. Werth, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and two doubles, hit a solo shot in the first inning off Mets starter Dillon Gee (L, 11-10). Adam LaRoche added another solo homer, his 19th, off Gee in the second inning. And Scott Hairston did what he does, homering off lefty reliever Tim Byrdak in the top on the ninth, a two-run shot which provided a little comfort for Rafael Soriano, who allowed one hit but notched his 40th save of the season, good for second best in the N.L.

THE GOOD: The homers were nice, but the bullpen trio of Craig Stammen, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard did work tonight, guarding a one-run lead until Hairston’s insurance clout in the ninth. Storen walked two, but they were the only runners the trio allowed. Extra credit to Stammen, who worked out of a bases loaded, no out situation in the sixth in relief of Zimmermann.

THE BAD: Ryan Zimmerman went 0-for-4.

THE UGLY: In the fifth, Eric Young singled with one out. Zimmermann tried to pick off the speedy Young, but LaRoche couldn’t handle the throw. He then threw the ball away, allowing Young to move all the way to third. LaRoche earned two errors on the play, but was bailed out as Zimmermann retired the next two batters to strand Young at third.

THE STATS: 11 hits, 0 BBs, 6 Ks. 3-for-9 with RISP, 3 LOB. E: LaRoche 2 (11, pickoff, throw).

NEXT GAME: Wednesday at 7:10 pm against the Mets. Dan Haren (8-13, 5.23) faces Zack Wheeler (7-4, 3.38).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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