After an epic, legendary comeback, the Nationals show life

Gio Gonzalez dealing….

Before the season, if you asked anyone if winning 4 games out of 7 in a week was a cause of slight celebration, they may have laughed in your face.  But for this Nats team, as awful as the 1st 3 weeks have been, being able to win one series and do no worse than a split in the other, may have been the kick-start the team needed for ultimate prosperity.

April 27 – 29 @ Atlanta

Going into this 3 game set vs the Braves, the Nats were accompanied with a 5 game losing streak.  The streak was lengthened to 6 games as the Nationals committed four errors, including two by starter Doug Fister (1-1) on errant pickoff attempts. Desmond added his ninth error in 20 games.  The losing streak is Washington’s longest since six straight from July 19-24, 2013. The Nationals (7-13) fell to last place in the NL East.  The game got a little testy as following a hard slide into third base by Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons in the fifth. Simmons was safe when he knocked the ball out of Washington third baseman Yunel Escobar’s glove and Escobar left the game with a cut on his left hand. After the customary warning to both benches, Washington’s Raphael Martin hit Simmons with a pitch to open the bottom of the seventh.  Surely this will not be the last time this season a game between these two rivals will spark fireworks.

Game 2 of the series had to be one of the most improbable outcomes in recent memory, especially how the past week’s games have resulted.  After having to scratch Matt Scherzer from his scheduled start with a sprained right thumb, the team recalled prospect AJ Cole from Triple-A Syracuse for a spot start in his place.  Cole was shelled, giving up nine hits, one walk and nine runs — four earned — in only 2 innings as the Braves led 9-2.  As the team slowly chipped away, former Brave Dan Uggla became the catalyst of what would become the greatest comeback in team history.  Uggla drove in five runs, three on a homer in the ninth inning, to help Washington rally from the franchise’s biggest deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 13-12 on Tuesday night and snap a six-game losing streak.  Washington’s previous biggest comeback was on June 17, 2006, when it trailed the New York Yankees by seven runs.

The rubber match continued the outstanding offense as Jordan Zimmermann won for the first time in four starts while also helping his own cause with a bases-clearing single to notch 3 RBIs in the 13-4 shellacking of Atlanta. On the mound, Zimmermann (2-2) gave up eight hits, one walk and four runs — three earned — with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Denard Span ignited the offense with 5 hits the previous game, added a 3 run HR in the 9th inning to contribute to the 15 hit onslaught.

April 30th – May 3 @ NY Mets

In Game 1 of the four game set against the red-hot, first place Mets, Stephen Strasburg overcame a rocky start to win his 2nd game of the season as the Nats became the 1st team in baseball to defeat the Mets at home with a 8-2 decision. Bryce Harper hit two doubles, including a three-run drive in the ninth inning and Strasburg gave up two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out seven.

Game 2 of the set pitted Nats destroyer Matt Harvey again befuddling our offense as he barely outpitched Matt Scherzer (1-2), who fanned 10 batters of his own, in a 4-0 shutout.  The Nats had won 15 of the last 16 games played at CitiField and were denied a season high four game winning streak. Despite a 1.26 ERA, Scherzer has only one win in five starts with his new team. He lost to the Mets on opening day, and now this time to Harvey

Gio Gonzalez (2-2)toted the rubber looking to continue his mastery of the Mets at CitiField and he was able to accomplish that goal with another sterling performance.  Over 7 shutout innings, he gave up only six hits, walking only two batters as the relievers did their job to squeak out a 1-0 pitchers duel to earn atleast a split in the series.   Michael Taylor drove in the one and only run of the ballgame with an infield single in the second as Gio improved to 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA in nine starts at Citi Field.

In Sunday’s finale, another pitchers duel between Doug Fister and Dillion Gee produced the same result as the game before, a 1-0 victory for the Nationals to win the series and their fifth win in six ballgames.  This time, the winning RBI was driven in by Ryan Zimmerman with a bloop single early in the first driving home Jayson Werth.  Fister (2-1) allowed only five hits and walked none while improving to 5-0 with a 0.82 ERA in five starts against the Mets, who have dropped five of six. Drew Storen pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save, his second in as many games.

This week’s schedule

Monday – Wednesday at home vs Miami

Friday – Sunday at home vs Atlanta