Washington Nationals Claim Best Record in NL, Gio Gonzalez Flawless Again

Michael NargiSenior Analyst IApril 25, 2012

Gio did it again on Tuesday night.
Gio did it again on Tuesday night.Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals have the best record in the National League 17 games into the season and statistically have the best pitching in the entire MLB.

A big reason for that is the man that took the mound on Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres. Gio Gonzalez continued his dominance, throwing six innings of shutout ball while striking out six batters.

For the third straight outing, Gonzalez allowed two hits and did not give up a run. Gio now has not allowed a run in 20 innings and has only allowed six hits in that span.

The bullpen was just as stellar. Although Craig Stammen allowed two men to get on base, Tyler Clippard picked him up and got out of the inning only allowing one unearned run. 

Henry Rodriguez continued his dominance in the ninth, earning his fifth save of the season. He struck out one batter in the inning and yet again did not allow a walk. He has allowed only one hit this season in 10 innings while striking out 10 hitters and has not given up an earned run.

The Nationals are winners of 11 of their last 13 games and have a 2.5 game lead in the NL East despite a challenging start to the season.

The Nats have been bombarded with injuries, starting the season without Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse. Although Ankiel has returned, Morse is going to be out for a while. Their sensational closer, Drew Storen, has yet to throw a pitch, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is now suffering from a shoulder injury.

The Nats' rotation is the one guarantee on this team.

Washington's rotation is relentless and the dominance is passed from one starter to the next. There seems to be no let up in their staff. The Nats have one of the best 1-2 punches in the MLB between Stephen Strasburg and Gonzalez.

The Nationals will send Jordan Zimmermann (0-1, 1.29 ERA) to the mound to face San Diego's Joe Wieland (0-2, 5.73 ERA) on Wednesday.