The Washington Times - April 18, 2008, 11:37PM
Tim ReddingWashington SEE RELATED:


\ With two out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, Nick Johnson worked Taylor Tankersley to a 3-2 count in an impressive at-bat, then ripped a double down the right-field line to score three. The Nationals’ bullpen held on from there, with Jon Rauch getting the save.\

\ Several positive developments from this game: First, Redding was superb for five innings, locating his fastball well and setting up his off-speed pitches for when he was ahead of hitters. He said 58 of his 92 pitches were fastballs, and 40 of those were strikes. That’s an ideal formula for Redding, whose slider, curveball and changeup are only effective if his fastball is working. It was last night.\

\ Second, we’re starting to see some patience at the top of the order. Cristian Guzman and Ryan Zimmerman combined for three walks, all of which led to runs. Throw in Lopez’s 3-for-5 day, and it puts Nick Johnson and Lastings Milledge (probably the team’s two best hitters right now) in RBI situations. Those two drove in five of Washington’s six runs.\

\ And finally, the bullpen was effective in holding the lead. Luis Ayala, Ray King and Jon Rauch allowed two hits in three shutout innings, with Rauch earning the save. All three threw strikes and let their defense catch the ball.\

\ We’re back here tomorrow night at 7:10 for Shawn Hill’s first start of the year. He was activated from the DL on Friday night; Paul Lo Duca went on it with the right hand contusion that’s kept him out since last Sunday, when he was hit by a pitch against the Braves. The move was retroactive to April 14. Lo Duca said his hand isn’t getting any better, and it’s keeping him from being aggressive at the plate. See you tomorrow.