There were plenty of good things that happened for the Nationals during tonight’s 6-3 win over the Braves. They broke out offensively against Derek Lowe. Ian Desmond homered and tripled. Adam Dunn broke out of an 0-for-26 slump with two doubles. (“My goal is to win player of the month for this month,” Dunn joked. “For October.”) All of a sudden, Washington has won five in a row and looked impressive in the process.
I’d like to focus, though, on Livan Hernandez. Livo turned in one of his classic performances tonight. He hardly dominated, allowing nine hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings. But he allowed only three runs to score and did what he does best: Pitch deep into a game and give his team a chance to win.
Hernandez has done that more often than not since rejoining the Nats in late August. His overall numbers (2-4 with a 5.36 ERA) aren’t spectacular at all. But he’s earned quality starts in six of his eight outings, and his ERA in those starts is 3.38.
So the question is: Do the Nats bring Livo back in 2010? We know how the right-hander feels about it.
“I’d love to play here next year,” he said. “It’s something I want to do. I want to try to win more games next year.”
It’s my belief that the Nats will make a reasonable, one-year offer to Livo, with an opportunity to come to camp and serve as one of the back-of-the-rotation starters. I believe they are committed to signing another, higher-profile, free-agent pitcher who can pitch at the top of the rotation alongside John Lannan. But I think there’s room both for that guy and for Livo.
“You know, all that kind of stuff is relative to what [general manager] Mike Rizzo sees out there,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “But certainly Livan’s going to be pitching somewhere, and I would say the odds are it would be with us. He’s really impressed us.”
Back tomorrow for Game 3 of this four-game series. Note the special start time of 4:10 p.m. and the fact the game will be televised by Fox, not by MASN.