GAME 11 REVIEW: Livan Turns in Masterpiece, Complete Game 8-0

Posted by Dave Nichols | Saturday, April 17, 2010 | , | 0 comments »

WASHINGTON – An old reliable came through for Washington fans came through on Saturday as Livan Hernandez dazzled on the mound, pitching nine shutout innings and earning a complete game as a the Nationals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers, 8-0.

Hernandez (W, 2-0), 35, is known more for throwing ‘slop and junk’ at this point in his career; however, when he hits his spots at the plate, the burly right-hander is just as effective as someone throwing 95 miles per hour. On the afternoon, he struck out three and walked two.

When the game was over, and he was walking off the field into the dugout, the most of the crowd of 18,673 who stuck around until the very end gave the pitcher a standing ovation.

Livan has not given up a run in 16 innings of work in 2010. Despite being signed to a minor league deal in Spring Training, he’s come through so far this season and has helped a Washington immensely in the past two or so weeks.

Livan’s counterpart on the mound, Randy Wolf (L, 1-1) – who received a nice 3-year, $30 million contract from the Brewers – took the loss. He went five innings and gave up four runs on four hits.

Hernandez’s big day was aided by the Nationals coming through again at the plate as Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Maxwell and Ivan Rodriguez came through at the plate with serious offense.

Zimmerman – who has missed several games this week with a hamstring injury – went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in two runs; meanwhile, Ivan Rodriguez continued his hot start by going 2-for-4 with three runs driven.

Justin Maxwell, whose problems in Spring Training were well documented and recently recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, homered and drove in three runs.

Washington took an early 3-0 lead as Rodriguez drove in his first run with an RBI-single. The next hitter, Maxwell, took Wolf deep with a two-run homer.

They got on the board again in the sixth as Zimmerman drove in a run with a RBI-double for a 4-0 advantage. The Nationals scored three more in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Rodriguez plating two runs with a double, which was followed by a Maxwell sacrifice fly.

In the seventh inning, Washington added another run via a Zimmerman RBI-double.

The Good: Livan Hernandez: What can you say? Who expected a complete game shutout from him?

Justin Maxwell. As noted, is performance on Saturday was a nice thing to see considering how his Spring Training went. The Nationals are hoping for some consistency out of the tall outfielder if he’s going to stick around at the major league level.

Ryan Zimmerman: He started at third, came through at the plate and seems to show no real serious effects from an injured hamstring.

Ivan Rodriguez: Continues his hot start to the season, even at 38. I thought the Nationals paid well above sticker price for the catcher in his so-called decline phase; however, he’s surpassed expectations so far and has played a vital role in the team’s hot start.

The Bad: Adam Dunn, 0-for-4 and batting .156. Washington has been rolling for the past few games; however, they’ll need his bat to heat up soon.

Photos (c) C. Nichols 2010.  All Right Reserved.