WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Jordan Zimmermann #27 of the Washington Nationals pitches against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park on May 1, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Hang in there Nats fans, only six more Ryan Zimmerman-less weeks...
The only thing stopping the Nationals from sweeping the Marlins this weekend was Anibal Sanchez.
The righty’s domination of the Nats continued Sunday as he held them hitless through six innings, helping the Marlins post an 8-0 win and avoid the series sweep.
Sanchez is now 6-0 with a 2.17 ERA against the Nats for his career.
The Nats began the series in Miami with a 3-2 extra-inning win on Friday night behind a strong start by right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. The win came after the Nats suffered a three-game sweep in Philadelphia.
Zimmermann struck out the side on nine pitches in the second inning, making him the 42nd Major Leaguer to do so, and the first since Rafael Soriano last August.
The Nats took game two by a score of 5-3 behind lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who pitched seven strong innings, allowing two runs on two hits and striking out six.
The story on Sunday was, once again, a starting pitcher. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a member of the Nats' rotation.
Sanchez struck out a career-high 11 batters and only allowed two hits in his seven shutout innings.
For the Nationals, the offensive struggles on offense continue. Michael Morse is currently leading everyday players in hitting with a .241 average. Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Rick Ankiel continue their struggles, all hitting below this line. First-baseman Adam LaRoche is hitting below the Mendoza Line with a cool .196 average.
The Nats are currently in fourth place in the NL East, 6.5 games behind the Phillies with a sub-.500 record on the year. They go on to Atlanta to face the Braves in a three-game series starting Tuesday.
The Braves have won seven of their last 10 and are returning to Atlanta after taking two out of three from the NL East-leading Phillies.
The Nats, who are 11-10 against the Braves since the beginning of 2010, will go to Atlanta with confidence despite having to face some more tough pitching. Tim Hudson will take the mound for game one with Tommy Hanson and Brandon Beachy following.
Let's hope Morse and company take full advantage of the team's off-day on Monday.