Start off your weekend with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:
Hairston owes baseball career to his father
When you speak to Nationals outfielder Scott Hairston, it’s obvious how grateful he is that he’s in the Major Leagues. The 34-year-old said he wouldn’t be in baseball if not for his father, Jerry Hairston Sr., who is a special assistant coach for the White Sox at their Minor League complex.
Jerry was a big leaguer himself in the 1970s and ’80s — mostly with the White Sox — and was a pinch-hitter extraordinaire. To Scott, Jerry was not only a ballplayer, he’s a Hall of Fame dad.
“I look up to my dad,” Scott said. “My dad and I are a lot alike — personality-wise. The way we deal with our kids. There are a lot of similarities. My dad means a lot to me. I just want to make him proud.” Read full article here.
Zimmermann is a model of efficiency
ST. LOUIS — Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann brought an 18-inning scoreless streak with him when he took the mound in Friday night’s series-opener against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. And though he came out on the losing end of a 1-0 pitchers’ duel, Zimmermann turned in another masterpiece, allowing three hits in his second complete game of the season.
His scoreless streak ended with Matt Adams‘ home run in the second inning, but he was on his way to a more impressive feat. He needed only 76 pitches to go the distance, breaking the Nationals’ record he set at 85 pitches last season and putting him in some historic company.
In the last 100 years, only nine other pitchers have turned in complete games of eight innings or more with 76 pitches or fewer. Former Orioles right-hander Jose Bautista has the record with a 70-pitch effort in an eight-inning complete game in a September 1988 loss to the Mariners, while former Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook was previously the last to join the group with 74 pitches over nine innings in a win over the Padres on July 25, 2007. Read full article here.
Tanner Roark continues to make believers of Washington Nationals, MLB
SAN DIEGO — On June 7, 2013, Tanner Roark pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. He was deemed unworthy of the rotation at Class AAA Syracuse. He did not have a spot on the Nationals’ 40-man roster, and people still pronounced his last name wrong. He was a 26-year-old who, at various points of his professional career, had been valued as a 25th-round draft pick, fair compensation for decline-phase Cristian Guzman and the first player cut from spring training.
Precisely one year later, Saturday morning in San Diego, Roark woke up at the Washington Nationals’ team hotel near Petco Park. On Friday night, he had thrown eight scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over the San Diego Padres. He struck out a career-high 11, walked none and allowed three hits. He lowered his ERA to 2.91, lowest among Washington’s starters. Most now know his name is pronounced “RO-ark.” He is a 27-year-old who, against every shred of logic and order, has been as good as any Nationals starting pitcher.