Redding, bullpen do job for Nats
The 29-year-old, though, has proved to be far more than a stop-gap and has perhaps forced club officials to start thinking about him as part of their future plans.
“He’s helping himself big-time,” Acta said. “He’s not just winning. He’s showing us stuff.”
With last night’s effort over, Redding (2-3, 2.88 ERA) has now lasted at least six innings in seven of his eight starts, allowing two runs or fewer five times.
His lone mistake last night — a 1-2 pitch to Jayson Werth that was deposited behind the left-field fence for a solo homer — hardly killed him. All Redding did after that was strike out four Phillies in succession en route to a seven-strikeout evening.
He even helped put himself in position to win with a two-run double down the left-field line in the second, only the sixth and seventh RBI of his career.
“I’m having a blast right now, I really am,” he said. “It took me almost 2½ years to get up here [following shoulder surgery]. I know everybody had me written off in spring training and then down in Columbus. I’m enjoying every day up here.”
Redding’s hit held up as the difference in the game for much of the night, until the Nationals struck for a pair more off rookie right-hander Kyle Kendrick (5-3) in the sixth, the big blow coming via an upper-deck homer by Ryan Church.
There were plenty of little things that contributed to this win, too, none more important to Acta than Austin Kearns beating out a potential double-play grounder in the second. That bit of hustle allowed Redding to come through with his hit later that inning.
“That’s the easiest part of the game: playing hard,” Kearns said.
Leave the difficult stuff to baseball’s best bullpen.