Lost, somewhat, in all of the excitement over 23-year-old outfielder Michael Taylor's MLB debut last night in Citi Field was the fact that Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister put together yet another strong start in the Nats' 7-1 win over the New York Mets.
Fister went seven innings against the Nationals' NL East rivals, giving up seven hits, but no walks or runs while throwing 107 pitches, 71 of them strikes in his second consecutive outing against the Mets.
The win left Fister (12-3) seventeen starts into his first season with the Nationals following the trade from the Detroit Tigers this winter.
In 111 ⅔ IP, the six-year veteran now has a 2.34 ERA, a 3.63 FIP, 13 walks (1.05 BB/9) and 69 Ks (5.56 K/9).
So is Nats' skipper Matt Williams ready to declare Fister the Nationals' "ace"?
"I think on any given day any of them could be," Williams said, once again deftly avoiding affixing the label to any one of his five starters. "But Doug just continues to go out there and when he's given the ball he pitches well and that's good for us. He's been throwing the ball really good."
Last night's outing was his second consecutive against the Mets, who scored just one unearned run on Fister last week in the nation's capital.
"Really good," Williams said of Fister's work last night in rainy Flushing, Queens. "Tough conditions tonight too. Slippery ball. Wind. Rain. So, he pitched really well, got a hit too."
"Overall there were some good things and bad things obviously," Fister told reporters.
"But the best thing is our offense came out and just opened things up early. Our defense was right on par tonight and that's what we want to look at. We're playing good baseball together, working together and really kind of sacrificing and doing the things we need to do."
"He just continues to pitch well, in every aspect," Williams told Jim Memolo and Todd Hollandsworth on the MLB Network Radio show "First Pitch" this morning.
"I mean, he gets a couple guys on, he's always one pitch away from a double play. He works fast and he throws strikes. His tempo is really incredible to me, the tempo at which he pitches. And it keeps our guys on their toes, they know the ball is going to be hit, so there's good plays made behind him. So all of those things combined just add up to him going deep in games for us and giving us a chance to win every day."
Last night's start was the 11th of Fister's seventeen in which he went at least seven innings. He's gone six innings in three others and made into the sixth in two of the other three.
Among NL starters at least 110 innings pitched, Fister now has the National League's third-lowest ERA, behind only the Reds' Johnny Cueto's 2.05 ERA and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw's 1.78.
• We talked about Michael Taylor's MLB debut, Doug Fister's outing and more on the latest edition of Nats Nightly w/ the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols: