Originally written on The Nats Blog  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Top_first_year_e2d6

The Washington Nationals looked to continue their success against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, and the headline matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Brandon Beachy certainly didn't disappoint. The secondary headline to make Nats fans happy was looking in right field and seeing Michael Morse make his 2012 MLB debut.

Strasburg had one of the best starts of his entire career on Saturday afternoon; his fastball was flying free and easy with all of his other pitches setting up hitters throughout the game. He threw just 90 pitches in seven strong innings, and he only gave up four hits. He struck out nine and didn't walk a batter or give up a run. It's entirely possible that Strasburg could have gone the distance, but Davey Johnson decided to go with Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard to close out the game for the Nats 30th win on the season.

Beachy was just as impressive through most of his start. He gave up just three hits in 6.1 innings. It was a home run to Jesus Flores to lead off the fifth inning and an extremely high pitch count due to walks that proved to be Beachy's only weaknesses in an otherwise stellar start. Beachy pitched well enough to win this game, but Strasburg was just that much better.

The Nationals now are 30-23 on the season and are still sitting in first place ahead of the Miami Marlins and the surprisingly impressive New York Mets. Still, just 3.5 games separate first and last place in the NL East. It's going to be a long, exciting summer watching this division play baseball.

Some Thoughts:

- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post pointed out after Strasburg's outing that he matched the best Bill James game score of his career on Saturday. The other game? Strasburg's 10 strikeout one-hitter against the Marlins to close the 2011 season. 

- Michael Morse's presence in the lineup is a sight for sore eyes after what the Nationals have dealt with offensively for most of the season. Though he went 0-for-4 on Saturday, once he gets back into a rhythm, the Nats will be in great shape.

- With Morse back in the lineup, the Nats put out what I think is their best one through eight of the season so far. Sure, you'd like to see Jayson Werth in there, but you can probably expect to see a lot of repeats of Saturday's lineup over the coming weeks.

- Bryce Harper continues to be absolutely nasty this season. He walked twice with a hit on Saturday, and with that performance, he's reached base in 17 of his last 18 games. It's hard to remind yourself that he's still just 19 years old.

- Xavier Nady picked up where Chad Tracy left the Goon Squad, with a pinch-hit double. Nady will likely be the first righty pinch-hitter off the bench for Johnson, so it's nice to see he got it off to a good start. It's going to take a lot for him to make fans forget about his lackluster start to the season, though.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Robert Kraft: Richard Sherman is a 'marketing whiz'

Rob Gronkowski's party bus headed to Super Bowl

Matt Barnes not happy with NBA for $25,000 fine

Brandon Browner: 'No hard feelings' with Sherman, Thomas

Gronk reads erotica, sings Katy Perry at SB Media Day

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Governor donates $10K to UNM hoops star’s cancer charity

U.S. Soccer: Hope Solo needs to do 'number of things' to return

K.J. Wright: Targeting injured players 'unacceptable'

Five reasons the Patriots will win the Super Bowl

Five reasons the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl

Bill Simmons fires a shot at ESPN colleague Ray Lewis

James Shields need to adjust his contract expectations

Kurt Warner wonders about Patriots cheating in Super Bowl

4-star QB recruit decommits from Michigan

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

WATCH: Pacquiao, Mayweather meet at halftime of Heat game

One of Tom Brady's ‘treats’ is avocado ice cream

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Re-ranking the Top 25: exposing the biggest flaws

Tiger on wearing mask: ‘Not a lot of brown dudes at ski races’

Putting the Cleveland Cavaliers’ pieces together

Brodeur to retire immediately and join Blues front office

Michael Bennett talks about sex superstition, calls reporter gay

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top storylines for Super Bowl XLIX

Barnes unhappy with NBA over fine

Does MLB need more offense in the modern game?

Re-ranking the Top 25: exposing the biggest flaws

Putting the Cavs’ pieces together

Super Bowl XLIX: Key people to know

Ranking all 48 Super Bowls

Bill Simmons fires a shot at Ray Lewis

NFL pushing CFP to change schedule

Can Yanks not pay A-Rod his bonuses?

Petition started to remove Pats from SB

On John Wall's adidas J Wall 1 NYC All-Star Edition

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.