There are several qualified candidates for today’s “Something Nice” but I think credit should be given to the team’s weakest link this season: the much-maligned bullpen. Chris Young started the game and was ok, I guess. He was returning from the disabled list so I guess he should get more slack than the typical pitcher who only last four and two-thirds innings, but it wasn’t close to being a quality start. The score was tied at three when young departed (and those three runs came via three solo homers).
Enter the bullpen. Ryota Igarashi entered in the bottom of the fifth with men on second and third and two outs. He needed all of three pitches to strike out Jayson Werth(less…I know it’s a stupid nickname, but it cracks me up). A Josh Thole RBI double put Iggy in line for the win in the top of the sixth. Taylor Buchholz needed all of 15 pitches to shut out the Nats for two innings and earn the bullpen’s first hold of the night. He handed the ball to Jason Isringhausen, who allowed an RBI double to Wilson Ramos* but limited the damage otherwise and picked up the bullpen’s second hold. After David Wright plated an insurance run in the top of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez shut the door and picked up his fifth save of the season. So, to recap, the bullpen pitched four and two-thirds innings and picked up the win, two holds, and the save. They’ve had some good outings this season, but the fact that the Nationals tied the game and hung around throughout made this one a little more special, especially since it was the first game of a roadtrip. Not bad at all.
*I’d have to think that when they look at tonight’s boxscore the Twins will regret, however temporarily, trading Ramos for Matt Capps. Ramos went 3-4 with a double, two home runs, two runs scored and three batted in. But hey, at least the Twins have an “established closer”. That’s gotta count for something, right?