Sunday afternoon was a little less stressful for fans at Nationals Park. The past three games the Nationals have lost the game by one run and have had trouble holding off teams and scoring themselves. Leading 1-0 in the eighth-inning pinch hitter Rick Ankiel put a ball over the right field wall in the front row to give the Nats the insurance they needed in shutting out the Colorado Rockies 2-0. The Nationals avoid the sweep at the hands of the Rockies and will officially finish the first half of the 2011 with a .500 record.
Washington fans will party well tonight.
They will also be toasting starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann who put on a superb performance. He went six-innings giving up only four hits and no runs. He gave no free passes to any Rockies player Sunday and struck out six. Zimmermann's first half ERA will be at a nice 2.66 ERA with a 6-7 record. The Nationals are watching a potential star bloom and Sunday's game only adds to the excitement in the future.
The other Nationals run came off the bat of Roger Bernadina who singled in Ian Desmond in the sixth-inning. The Nationals were only able to put together five hits all game and right fielder Jayson Werth's troubles continued going 0-for-3 and lowering his average to .215. Werth should take the upcoming All-Star Break and relax and refocus as much as possible.
The 2011 Washington Nationals finish off the first-half of the season 46-46 (.500!) and in fourth place in the NL East.
The Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies are deep in battle in the third and final game of a three game series at Nationals Park. The Rockies want be going back to Colorado before the All-Star Break knowing they convincingly swept the Nationals, but the Nats so far have had other ideas. The Nationals are leading the Rockies 1-0.
The Nationals Jordan Zimmermann and Colorado's Jhoulys Chacin had been pitching magnificently, but it is Chacin who made the first and costly mistake. In the bottom of the sixth inning Roger "The Shark" Bernadina smacked a single to right field toward Seth Smith to score Ian Desmond and it has been the only run of the game so far. Zimmermann put together a masterpiece giving up only four hits, no runs, no walks and striking out six in six innings of work.
The Nationals cling to a one run lead in the top of the eighth inning.
The Washington Nationals and Colorado Rockies will wrap up a three game series and play their final game of the first half of the 2011 season before the All-Star Break on Sunday. Colorado already has the series in the bag leading 2-0 and will try for a sweep of Washington.
The Nationals will be gunning to avoid the sweep at all costs. If the Nationals can pull out a win Sunday they might not be able to salvage the series, but they would have achieved something they haven't done since 2005: finish the first half of the season at .500. The Nats certainly are putting out on the mound the man for the job. Starter Jordan Zimmermann (5-7, 2.82 ERA) will get the ball to bring it to the Rockies. The Nationals are hoping Zimmermann will make the most of his opportunity because after the All-Star Break he will be put to a 160-inning limit due to this being his first year back from Tommy John surgery and the Nationals want to be cautious with their budding, young ace.
Right fielder Jayson Werth is a hot topic in Natstown recently as he struggles in a horrendous slump which has seen him go 6-for-36 in July and on Saturday night he hit into a game ending double play. All eyes will be on him to see if he can finally snap out of it.