It’s rare, in these days of six to seven inning starters, that someone goes all nine. It’s rarer still that they don’t give up a single run. Yesterday, MLB had two complete-game shutouts, but no one will remember Livan Hernandez’s incredible effort, except for the 18,000+ on-hand and Nats fans. The other CGSO yesterday was a no-hitter by Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies, and will be remembered longer. That’s not to say that ¡Livan!’s effort shouldn’t be lauded, oh no, his 9IP 4H 0R 112-pitch effort should absolutely be celebrated.
But Livan wasn’t the only Nat who turned in a stellar performance yesterday. Look to Ryan Zimmerman, whose hamstring is back to full health, who made defensive plays at third yesterday to demonstrate his worth, and nailed a pair of doubles. Look also to Justin Maxwell who came up after a disappointing spring and relegation to Syracuse, to crush a 2-run homer to deep center, and Ivan Rodriguez, who had 3 RBI from the 8-slot in the batting order.
Most important about yesterday’s CGSO by Livo, though, was the rest that it gave the beleaguered Nats bullpen. This is not a bastion of strong arms and finesse pitchers, this is a cluster of journeymen and rough-riders who have varied skill and talent, and definitely needed the equivalent of a rain-out to prevent their arms from falling off. Today, we’ll see if Jason Marquis can find his stride, as Lannan did on Friday night. Failure there might prove to be debilitating for the newest of the Nats rotation. Game starts right about now, so grab a beer and the remote, or drive on down and get some cheap seats. The Nats are above .500 for the first time since April 2nd 2008, and really for the first time since July of 2005. I think it’ll last, but that depends heartily on fan support during a difficult homestand.