Matt Albers threw 11 2⁄3 scoreless for the Washington Nationals this Spring, but didn’t make the Opening Day roster. Albers, 34, was released on March 27th and re-signed on March 30th, and he was called up to the majors on April 9th.
With a scoreless inning of work in the ninth inning of the Nats’ 4-2 win over the Phillies Friday night in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, Albers earned his first career save and extended his scoreless inning streak to 11 1⁄3 regular season innings pitched.
Through nine games this season, the 12-year veteran, who’s “finished” 102 games, but never earned a save, has struck out nine without issuing a walk and before his latest appearance, had held opposing hitters to a .121/.147/.121 line against.
Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker discussed Albers’ contributions after the right-hander tossed a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Thursday’s series finale in the nation’s capital.
“Albers has done about everything,” Baker said. “He’s come in late, he’s come in the middle. He throws strikes and he keeps the ball down. And he works quickly, which keeps your defense sharp and he’s probably the find of the year.”
Baker turned to Albers again on Friday night, with closers Shawn Kelley (lower back strain) and Koda Glover (left hip impingement) both on the Disabled List.
Albers worked around a hit-by-pitch for a scoreless inning of work, striking out two in a 20-pitch inning.
He told MASN’s Dan Kolko he didn’t approach it any differently than any other outing.
“I tried to keep everything the same,” Albers said. “I tried not to change it up at all. I know it’s the ninth inning, but I don’t want to go out there and be like, ‘Oh, I’m trying to strike everybody out or do this or that.’
“I tried to keep it the same, but the juices are flowing a little bit, feeling good, nice to get the ‘W’ there.”
“He’s done about everything,” Baker reiterated after Friday’s win in Philadelphia.
“They just informed me that that was his first career save, and he was only a few away from the most appearances, or games finished without a save or something.
“Every day I’m giving these guys different lineup cards for personal achievements or career achievements, and these guys are giving me all they got. We’re mixing and matching and doing what we’ve got to do to win.
“This place here, you never really feel comfortable here. Lost some tough games here, but we had a chance to add on a bunch of runs a bunch of times, so we’ve just got to get better at — we had the opportunities, I think we had bases loaded a couple times, so we’ve got to get better at picking these runners up make it easier on the bullpen and make it easier on me.”