Game #56 Wrap Up: First Place Nats & A Couple of Firsts
The Nationals went up to Boston to play the Red Sox hoping they would do something they had not been able to do before in their very brief history. The Nationals aimed to pick up a win in one of the most historic ball parks in baseball; Fenway Park. Many of the Nationals players would play their first ever game tonight at Fenway Park. With Stephen Strasburg on the Mound, anything is possible. Strasburg has what is probably the most electric stuff on the Nationals pitching staff, but he would get some big help from the offense.
Stephen Strasburg was excellent in his last game against the Braves and he would do everything he could to pick up right where he left off. Getting through the 1st inning with no problems, Strasburg would take the mound in the 2nd inning. In the 2nd, a David Ortiz walk and a Ryan Sweeney single would set the table for Mike Aviles. Mike Aviles would hit a double that would score both Sweeney and Ortiz, but this is all the damage the Red Sox would be able to do off Strasburg. Strasburg would go on to dominate the Red Sox for 6 innings, allow 4 hits, allow those 2 runs, walk 2, and strike out 13 batters. Strasburg has now struck out 13 twice, and 14 once, which was his Major League Debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was another great pitching performance for the young phenom pitcher.
Felix Doubront was not able to match Strasburg's excellent performance in this baseball game. Shortly after the Red Sox took the 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning, the never-say-die Washington Nationals would answer with some runs of their own. Danny Espinosa would walk, then Bryce Harper would hit a two bagger that would put runners at 2nd and 3rd. Ryan Zimmerman who has, in this writer's opinion, been hitting the ball very well lately would come to the plate. Ryan Zimmerman drilled a single that would bring Danny Espinosa home bringing the Nationals within 1 run. After Michael Morse drew a walk and Adam LaRoche struck out, Ian Desmond would hit a double that would give the Nationals a lead that would never be relinquished. The Nationals would score 3 more runs in the 4th inning that would put them up 6-2 and ultimately cause Doubront to get pulled before the 5th inning. Later in the game, a single from Bryce Harper would score Tyler Moore to give the Nationals their 7th run of the night. For Doubront, he lasted only 4 innings, allowing 6 runs, on 8 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 6.
There was a lot to like about tonight's game, as lots of players had a very good game. Offensively, plenty of the young players put on a hitting clinic. Danny Espinosa, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond, and Tyler Moore all had a multi hit game. The highlighted offense would be a home run from Harper and doubles from Harper, Espinosa, Desmond, Zimmerman, and Tyler Moore. The Double from Moore was his first career extra base hit. The Nationals bullpen was very good yet again. Despite giving up a home run to Adrian Gonzalez Detwiler would go 2 innings to get the Nationals to the 9th. Brad Lidge came into the game and was only able to go a third of an inning and gave up a run and a walk, but Tyler Clippard was able to come in and pick up his 6th save of the season pitching 2/3 of an inning and giving up absolutely nothing.
Tonight's game was all about the young guys, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg's dominant 13 strike out performance would give the Nationals a chance to win the game. With Bryce Harper playing center and batting 2nd, it was a chance the Nationals would not miss. Strasburg picked up his first win ever at Fenway Park and Bryce Harper would hit his first ever home run. Additionally, Bryce Harper would be the 2nd youngest player to hit a home run at Fenway Park and Strasburg would be the first to strike out 13 in quite some time. The victory tonight moves the Nationals back to 10 games over .500 for an overall record of 33-23. Having won their first game in Fenway Park, the Nationals now hope to grab their second tomorrow.