Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Bullpen Keeps Nats Offense In The Game
While Gonzalez gave up four runs against an O’s offense that has scored the tenth most runs in the game, give the Nationals’ bullpen credit for shutting down Buck Showalter’s team over the final 3.1 innings. Doug Fister, Matt Thornton, Casey Janssen, and Blake Treinen did not give up one hit, struck out six batters, and walked one.
All four pitchers did a great job, but the player I want to focus on is Doug Fister. Fister came in for Gonzalez with two outs in the top of the fifth inning and was effective. He went two innings and struck out four of the six batters he faced. Plus, 18 of the 26 pitches he threw went for strikes.
While I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy transition for Fister to the bullpen since he lost his spot to Joe Ross back in August, he has handled it well, especially in a free agent year. In nine games out of the ‘pen, Fister has a 2.25 ERA and has struck out 15 batters while only walking five. In fact, the 31-year-old left-hander has given up only one earned run in his last 11.2 innings.
As Nationals’ fans have seen what Stephen Strasburg has done now that he’s fully healthy, it’s easy to forget about the injuries that Doug Fister has had this season, in particular, the forearm strain he had back in May. It’s been a rough year for him, but at least, he is ending his season on a strong note out of the bullpen and he even got to pick up his first career save last week against the Phillies.
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