The Nationals got a close win by the score of 4-2 in Philadelphia tonight and became the first MLB team to 20 wins. But this game should have been a blowout by the Nats offense. Stephen Strasburg had a leg cramp and threw 119 pitches, and was pulled at 5 2/3 innings, but he gutted out a shutout before handing the ball to the bullpen. Enny Romero was brilliant again as he was in the strike zone all night and threw up zeros over 1 1/3 innings. Matt Albers got the 9th inning tonight and earned the first save of his long career.
The offense put together 12 hits which included 3 home runs from Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon, but the Nationals squandered numerous chances to score as they had the 12 hits plus 2 walks and a hit by pitch for a total of 15 baserunners. Michael Taylor left 6 runners on base tonight and had opportunities where productive outs would have scored runs, but Taylor struck out 4 times for a golden sombrero on Cinco de Mayo. Chris Heisey left 8 men on base, but in his case he stroked 2 liners that took great running catches for outs and in both cases that occurred with 2 outs.
Matt Albers had 460 MLB games before tonight with no saves. He will remember his first. Albers kept his league leading ERA at 0.00.
“This is the best team I’ve been on by far,” Matt Albers said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch. Rotation, bullpen, the way our offense is. I wouldn’t want to face [my teammates] out there. This team is clicking right now.”