The Washington Nationals' rotation may have watched their overall shutout streak end, but against the Atlanta Braves they just keep on going.
Back to their winning ways and with the starters in position to begin another shutout streak, Doug Fister looks to extend the Washington Nationals' scoreless run versus the Atlanta Braves as their series continues Wednesday.
Monday's off day served Washington (43-34) well as it emphatically bounced back from having its eight-game winning streak snapped in the second game of its Sunday doubleheader at Philadelphia by cruising past Atlanta 6-1 to open this three-game set.
Jordan Zimmermann, who previously contributed eight of the rotation's 47 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings while beating the Braves last week, kept Atlanta at bay for another 7 2-3 while scattering six hits Tuesday. That extended Washington's shutout streak versus Atlanta by its starters to 27 2-3 innings over the last four between the teams.
"We're just trying to win the series and take two out of three every time we face somebody and just go from there," Zimmermann said.
Even including their 8-5 loss to the Phillies, the Nationals' starters have been flat-out dominant. During this 10-game run, they are 8-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 0.84 WHIP - yielding 13 runs in 69 1-3 innings, including all eight Sunday. In the nine victories, the rotation has posted a 0.65 ERA and 0.71 WHIP by conceding only five runs in 66 innings.
Fister (3-3, 4.15 ERA) provided seven shutout innings to the previous streak Thursday versus Atlanta, giving up four hits and one walk while throwing a season-high 111 pitches in a 7-0 triumph. The right-hander, though, was more concerned with keeping himself in sync than adding to the zeroes - a mindset he'll likely carry again into this contest.
"... Honestly when I'm at my best I have no idea what inning it is. I really try and stay simple," he said. "I want to take things one pitch at a time, and if I get anything bigger than that, I'm in trouble myself."
This will mark the fourth start of the season against Atlanta for Fister, who yielded eight runs and 16 hits in 12 1-3 innings in the other two - including a defeat April 27. That marked his only loss in six lifetime starts versus Atlanta and also his only career outing at Turner Field, where he was touched for five runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Nick Markakis has enjoyed some success versus Fister, going 9 for 29 with a homer.
The Braves are hitting .192 (20 for 104) against Washington's starters over the last four games. Atlanta has totaled three runs in those defeats, going 0 for 21 with runners in scoring position, and only avoided a shutout Monday on Juan Uribe's ninth-inning homer.
Matt Wisler (1-1, 3.75) allowed six runs and nine hits in four innings opposite Fister in his second career start last week, and his ineffectiveness was compounded by two Braves errors that contributed to two runs being unearned.
The 23-year-old rookie was comfortable at home in winning his major league debut June 19, limiting the New York Mets to one run in eight innings of a 2-1 victory.
Since that April 27 defeat, Washington has reeled off nine straight wins over Atlanta by a combined 66-31 margin. It matches the Braves' longest losing streak to the Expos/Nationals franchise set June 18, 1972-June 5, 1973.