Nats top Phils 8-2, Finally


It’s about damn time.

The Nats entered 2009 with a cautious optimism. No one really wanted to verbalize it, but anyone who roamed Space Coast Stadium in Florida this spring could feel the hope oozing from young and old Nat fan alike.

It was a silent hope that hadn’t been felt within the beltway for baseball fans since the Nationals made the move from Montreal in 2005. For the first time coming into a season as a Washington D.C franchise the Nats weren’t told they had zero chance.

The team was young, but that garners hope. Washingtonians had faith in this club, not that it would be playing in October, but that it’s young boys of summer would bring pride to the nations capital and Nationals fans would grow with their young team, together.

Somewhere along the first two weeks of the season that silent hope got censored. It seems though that the fear to hope may be gone as the Nats finally pulled out their first victory of 2009 with a 8-2 win over the defending World Champs Thursday night.

41b9d7c64b81661db9e2d58105f325f4-getty-85130506gf005_philadelphia_The Nats boasted a new lineup as a result of their recent roster shake-up:

Hernandez 2B
Johnson 1B
Zimmerman 3B
Dunn LF
Dukes CF
Kearns RF
Flores C
A Gonzalez SS

It worked. Anderson Hernandez got on base in the leadoff spot four times, contributing two hits Nick Johnson got on base four times, perfecting his new role as the number two hitter by slapping three singles, and Zimmerman, Dunn and Dukes knocked them in.

Most importantly for the lineup, for the first time all season the back of the order produced. Kearns contributed with a single, and Alex Gonzalez made a strong argument for a permanent roster spot going two for four with a homer. Even pinch hitters Willingham and Bernandina got in on the action, both contributing runs.

Shairon Martis became the first Nationals starting pitcher this season to have a quality start. The 22-year-old from the Neatherlands pitched six and a third innings scattering five hits and only allowing two earned runs. He was effective by being able to keep Philly batters off balance, preventing them from making solid contact. Of the five hits he allowed only one was an extra base hit, a double by rookie Lou Marson.

Martis was not exactly dominant however. He only threw 49/86 pitches for strikes, only struck out one, and gave up a bit too many fly balls. He was however something no pitcher has been for the Nats this season, adequate, by only giving up two runs the Nats actually had a chance to win this game.

Another thing Martis was, was efficient. The 21 year old only threw 86 pitches and pitched into the seventh. He attacked the Phillies poor hitters and handled their big four. That’s how you make a major league career.

Jimmy Rollins: 0-3, RBI
Shane Victorino: 1-3, R
Chase Utley: 0-4
Ryan Howard: 0-3

Next up: Florida