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What I liked / didn’t like about the Nationals four-game stand at Citi Field

Game 1: 8-2 win on Thursday night (April 30)

Game 2: 4-0 loss on Friday night (May 1)

Game 3: 1-0 on Saturday night (May 2)

Game 4: 1-0 on Sunday afternoon (May 3)

What I liked:

1. Home away from home – The Nats now have won 17 of their last 19 games at Citi Field.

2. The starting pitching – This was the kind of series we envisioned when this rotation began the season.

Stephen Strasburg in Game 1 allowed two runs in the bottom of the second on two doubles and a single but then retired 10 straight batters.  You obviously want to see him be more efficient than 100 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, but he recorded seven strikeouts and what seemed like a potentially disastrous start wound up as a pretty good one.

Max Scherzer allowed one run in seven innings on 10 strikeouts in Game 2.

Gio Gonzalez tossed seven scoreless innings in Game 3, recording nine strikeouts.

Doug Fister tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Game 4.  He was removed after throwing just 89 pitches, and the glare he gave Matt Williams when he came to the mound was priceless.

3. The bullpen with the exception of Game 2 – Nats relievers combined for 8 2/3 scoreless innings over Games 1, 3 and 4.

4. The offense in Game 1 – The Nats had 12 hits and went 5-for-15 with runners in scoring position, concluding a stretch of 34 runs over three games.  

5. Denard Span only missing two games – Span did not play in Games 2 and 3 due to soreness likely related to having right core-muscle surgery in March and/or sports-hernia surgery in December.  But he had a double and a walk in Game 4.

What I didn’t like:

1. The offense after Game 1 – The Nats totaled two runs, batted .227 (22-for-97) and went 3-for-25 with runners in scoring position over Games 2, 3 and 4.

2. The bullpen and defense in the eighth inning of Game 2 – Matt Thornton and Blake Treinen combined to allow three runs in that eighth inning on three hits and a walk.  It is worth noting that one of the hits was a Daniel Murphy three-run double that was misplayed by Jayson Werth (he broke in, then stumbled, then had to run in the opposite direction) and should have simply been an RBI sac fly.

3. Anthony Rendon’s minor-league rehab assignment – Rendon, recovering from a sprained left MCL suffered on March 9 (and originally labeled a “mild” sprain), was out of the lineup for Double-A Harrisburg on Sunday for the sixth time in seven days.  He’s been dealing with side tightness in addition to the knee and doesn’t appear likely to make his regular-season major-league debut anytime soon.  Rendon was an MVP candidate last season, finishing second in the National League with a 6.5 fWAR.

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