5. Fister in Turner Field: In his second start after over a month on the DL, Washington Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister tossed seven scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves in the Nats' 7-0 win last Thursday in the nation's capital. Fister limited the Braves to four hits and one walk, struck out four and got five groundouts and eight fly ball outs from the 26 batters he faced in his 111-pitch outing.
"Continued to be down in the zone," second-year Nationals' skipper Matt Williams said. "Forced some contact and we pushed him to 110-ish, which was good, and got him through that last inning too, so I thought he pitched really well, was in command out there throwing it where he wanted to."
Fister's curve was particularly sharp against the Braves, Williams said. "He had feel for it today, which helps him. He can throw it in any count, at any time, he threw a couple early in counts to get ahead and then late in counts too, so it's just another pitch for him to use that's off his sinker and off his changeup."
There was room for improvement, however, at least in Fister's opinion.
"I think I've still got some building I need to do, but I wanted to push myself today," he explained. "And 'Skip' let me go back out there in the seventh -- which, that's huge for me... being able to go back out there and prove to teammates, prove to myself that I can go out there and finish an inning. I haven't done that yet this year, so that was a positive note for me personally, but it takes a lot of plays in the outfield, plays in the infield and guys turning double plays early on in the game to enable me to do that."
The win left Fister (3-3) on the year with a 4.15 ERA, 4.37 FIP, 11 walks (1.90 BB/9) and 25 Ks (4.33 K/9) in 52 IP so far this season, over which opposing hitters have put up a combined .278/.326/.439 line.
In his second start in a week against Atlanta, in Turner Field this time, Fister worked around a one-out walk to Cameron Maybin for a scoreless, 13-pitch first vs the Braves.
Juan Uribe K'd swinging over a 2-2 curve and Andrelton Simmons took an 0-2 fastball for a called strike three for the first and third outs of a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 second that left Fister at 26 pitches total after two.
An 11-pitch, 1-2-3 third pushed Fister up to 37 pitches after three scoreless.
Three more ⬆️, three more ⬇️ for Mr. @dougfister58!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 2, 2015
Cameron Maybin reached safely on an infield single in the first at bat of the Braves' fourth in spite of an impressive diving effort and throw by Ian Desmond.
One out later, Maybin stole second on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt to A.J. Pierzynski, and Pierzynski hit a 3-2 cutter to right for a two-run home run that made it 2-0 Atlanta. Fister fell behind Juan Uribe, 3-0, and gave up the second straight home run on a fastball to the Braves' third baseman. 3-0. Kelly Johnson singled for the third straight hit, took second on a groundout by Andrelton Simmons and scored on a two-out RBI single by Matt Wisler, whose first MLB hit made it 4-0 Braves after four. 29-pitch frame, 66 total.
Touch'em all AJ. pic.twitter.com/oFnV6sK9xK— #VoteBraves (@Braves) July 2, 2015
Nick Markakis singled to right off Clint Robinson's glove with one down in the Braves' half of the fifth, but a 6-3 DP off of A.J. Pierzynski's bat ended an 11-pitch frame that left Fister at 77 total after five.
Kelly Johnson reached on an error by Ian Desmond, who rushed a throw after fielding a slow chopper and skipped it by Clint Robinson at first. E:6, no.18 for Desmond. Johnson took third on a groundout to second base by Andrelton Simmons and Eury Perez reached on an infield single that put two on for pinch hitter Joey Terdoslavich, who K'd swinging to end a 21-pitch sixth. 98 total.
• Doug Fister's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 98 P, 63 S, 6/6 GO/FO.
4. Wisler's Revenge?: Matt Wisler, 22, was acquired from San Diego along with a minor league outfielder Jordan Paroubeck and major league outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin in the April 5th trade that sent closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton to the Padres.
After he went (3-4) at Triple-A Gwinnett in Atlanta's system with a 4.29 ERA in 12 starts and 65 IP, the 2011 Padres' seventh-round pick out of Bryan High School in Bryan, Ohio, was called up to make his major league debut against the New York Mets at home in Turner Field.
Wisler gave up one run on six hits in eight innings against the Mets, throwing just 88 pitches total to the 30 batters he faced and earning the win to become the first Braves' starter since Kenshin Kawakami in 2009 to earn the win in his first MLB start.
His second outing in the majors didn't go as well, however. Last Thursday in Nationals Park, Wisler gave up nine hits and six runs, four earned, in just four innings pitched in which he threw 75 pitches before he was lifted.
"We didn't give [Wisler] a chance," Fredi Gonzalez told reporters after an ugly defensive game by Atlanta.
"We put him in situtations where he was always in trouble and never gave him a clean inning or an opportunity to get out of a jam. We weren't real pretty to watch today, let's put it that way."
Go time. pic.twitter.com/41Rl2W9c2F— #VoteBraves (@Braves) July 2, 2015
Wisler's third start for the Braves and his second against the Nationals in a week began -- after a two-hour, nine-minute rain delay -- with a walk to Nats' leadoff man, Denard Span. Two outs, both swinging Ks, later, Bryce Harper stepped in with Span still at first, and took the second walk of the inning in front of Wilson Ramos, who K'd swinging for the third strikeout of a 27-pitch first.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Wisler at 37 total after two.
Denard Span walked for the second time in two at bats with one down in the top of the third, then took third base on an infield single by Danny Espinosa, but Yunel Escobar grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3. 12-pitch frame, 49 total after three.
Bryce Harper took a backdoor 2-2 bender for a called strike three, at least according to home plate ump CB Bucknor, and Wisler's fifth K. Two quick outs followed in a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth. 62 total.
Given a 4-0 lead to work with, Wisler issued a two-out walk to Doug Fister before retiring Denard Span on a fly to center that ended a 15-pitch frame. 77 total.
Danny Espinosa walked to start the sixth, and gave up a long fly to center by Yunel Escobar that Cameron Maybin caught for the first out of the frame and final out of Wisler's outing...
• Matt Wisler's Line: 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 6 Ks, 84 P, 51 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: With the Nationals' ninth straight win over the Braves on Tuesday night, they improved to 9-1 against Atlanta this season. Nine straight wins tied the second-longest win streak against any one team, behind only the 11 straight wins they put together against the Seattle Mariners between June 2005 and August 2014.
• The Nationals win last night brought them within one of the Braves in the all-time series between the teams since 2005. Atlanta now holds a 97-96 advantage over Washington.
• With the Nats' win last night, they finished June 15-12 with wins in nine of the last ten games.
• Michael Taylor and Denard Span took the field tonight with on-base streaks going. Taylor was up to 16-straight after walking last night and Span's first inning single gave him a streak of 20 straight games in which he's reached base.
Span walked in the first at bat of the game to extend his streak to 21 straight games. Taylor singled in the seventh to extend his on-base 17-straight.
• After going 1 for 5 with a run scored in last night's win, Nationals' catcher Wilson Ramos was 12 for 32 this season, for a .375/.429/.469 line against the Braves in nine games this season.
2. Turning Point(s): Doug Fister started tonight's game, after a two-hour, nine-minute rain delay, with three scoreless against the Braves, but they got to the right-hander in the fourth when he was having issues locating and up in the zone. A.J. Pierzynski hit a two-run home run on 3-2 cutter that didn't quite make it inside. Juan Uribe hit a 3-0 fastball to center for a solo blast, and rookie right Matt Wisler hit a two-out RBI single on a sinker up in the zone to make it 4-0 after a long, 29-pitch frame.
1. The Wrap-Up: Luis Avilan took over on the mound for the Braves with a runner on and Bryce Harper up in the sixth and gave up a single to right that put runners on the corners with one down. Wilson Ramos stepped in next and sent a grounder out to short to start an inning-and-rally-ending 6-4-3. Still 4-0 Atlanta.
Nick Masset gave up a leadoff walk to Clint Robinson in the seventh, but got a force at second on an Ian Desmond grounder to third. Michael Taylor singled with one down to put two on for pinch hitter Dan Uggla, who took a slider deep to left-center where it died in front of the wall. Cameron Maybin made the catch for out no.2, but Denard Span lined a single to right-center to get the Nationals on the board. 4-1. David Aardsma took over. Danny Espinosa K'd swinging to strand two and end the top of the seventh.
Felipe Rivero threw a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh.
Jim Johnson took the mound for Atlanta in the eighth and retired the Nationals in order.
Rivero retired the side in order in the eighth as well.
Jason Grilli came out looking for save no.22 of 2015 and retired the side in order. Ballgame.
Nationals now 43-35