Game 11: Nationals 6, Astros 2


Who needs Michael Morse when you have Steven Lombardozzi?

Apr 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth (28) congratulates Washington Nationals relief pitcher Henry Rodriguez (63) and catcher Wilson Ramos (3) after the game against the Houston Astros at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the Astros 6 – 3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Lombardozzi, a Columbia, Maryland native, went 4-5 at the plate last night to help propel the Nats to a 6-2 win over Kyle Weiland and the Houston Astros. Lombardozzi also contributed 2 RBIs and scored once.

But Lombo didn’t do this alone. Stephen Strasburg pitched a solid start, giving up only 2 earned runs in 6 frames, pitching shutout baseball through the first 5 innings. The bullpen then came through to pitch three scoreless innings, and Henry Rodriguez picked up his second save of the season.

Prior to the game, MASN’s Mid-Atlantic Sports Report discussed how the Nationals’ impressive 7-3 start would not last, and how the team would likely level off in the coming months. But if Strasburg and the rest of this rotation can continue their dominance of hitters and the offense can put some runs up, why should it stop?

The Nationals sit at 8-3, which is a 72% winning percentage, which, translated onto a 162-game schedule, comes out to 117 wins at season’s end. As much as I’d like to see that, it’s not going to happen, but 88-90 wins is certainly not inconceivable. The club has the pitching to get there, as well as the depth. Just look at Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy!

The Nationals are playing good baseball, and there’s no reason to believe that they can’t sweep the Astros. Should they do that, it would put them at 11-3, and would be the first time they’ve ever had a 4-game sweep in Nationals park. Let’s hope for the best, and go Nats!

Champs of the Game: It’s hard not to give this to Steven Lombardozzi, so he takes the cake tonight. Lombo played a phenomenal game, going 4-5 with 2 RBIs, a double and a bunt that he beat out for a base hit. At this rate, Lombardozzi is batting .500 for the year, and may force Davey Johnson to get him some everyday at-bats.

For the Astros, third baseman Chris Johnson got 2 hits and also knocked in both of Houston’s runs. He also stole a base, and pushed his season average up to .326.

Chumps of the Game: Xavier Nady went only 1-4, struck out and stranded a runner. Though acquiring a hit was good for the struggling Nady, he must produce more if he wants to stick with the team upon Michael Morse’s return in the coming months.

J.D. Martinez had a disappointing game for the Astros, striking out 4 times and stranding 3 runners.

Unsung Heroes: Ryan Zimmerman’s 2-RBI night was overshadowed by Lombardozzi’s hit parade. Both RBIs were hit with 2 outs, and Zimmerman also stole a base.

Brandon Lyon quitely pitched 2 shutout innings for the Astros, recording 2 strikeouts.

Next game: Tuesday, April 17 vs. Astros at Nationals Park. Gio Gonzalez vs. Wandy Rodriguez.