- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2008

There will come a point sometime in the next few weeks when talk around baseball turns to which players are deserving of All-Star consideration.

For a team like the Washington Nationals, this often can become an arduous task. League rules require that at least one player from each club makes the All-Star roster, and through the season’s first seven weeks, few Nationals can make legitimate claims for inclusion.

Perhaps, though, there is a veteran right-hander who deserves to start having his name mentioned. Few around the sport might recognize what Tim Redding is doing, but the Nationals certainly can attest after witnessing yet another dominant performance from the 30-year-old last night in a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

“The ace?” Ryan Zimmerman responded when Redding’s name was mentioned following this latest win.

Redding (6-3, 3.16 ERA) certainly has made a case for that designation, not only this season but since he debuted for Washington last summer. He has made 25 starts for the franchise, posting a 3.45 ERA along the way. He has allowed three earned runs or less in 20 of those outings and two earned runs or less in 14 of them.

“He’s been our most consistent guy since last year,” manager Manny Acta said.

And he has been great against the Phillies‘ vaunted lineup, holding them scoreless over 131/3 innings so far this year. Any explanation for that kind of dominance against Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Co.?

“The grace of God?” Redding said with a laugh. “There’s not a lot of guys out there, let alone teams, that throw shutouts against those guys.”

Redding admittedly caught some breaks last night at Nationals Park, escaping some early jams thanks to sterling defensive work behind him from Zimmerman (who made two highlight-reel plays) and making a key adjustment along the way.

After throwing primarily breaking balls during the first inning, Redding retreated to the dugout and received a bit of a tongue-lashing from bench coach Pat Corrales.

“Use your fastball,” Corrales implored. “You’ve got a good one. Use it.”

“It felt dead,” Redding replied.

“Dead?” Corrales said. “You just threw a fastball by a home-run hitter in a home-run count. It ain’t dead.”

Point taken. Redding went back out for the second and started establishing his 93 mph fastball. The Phillies had no answer for it, failing to push across a single run over his 61/3 innings.

Redding had the benefit of pitching with an early lead after the manner in which the Nationals pounced on Phillies right-hander Brett Myers (2-5). Cristian Guzman beat out a grounder to short in the first, moved to third on Zimmerman’s double to left and then scored on Dmitri Young’s line drive to center to give Washington a 1-0 lead.

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