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[May 6th] -- Man, did that feel good or what? After two very discomforting losses to the very bad Florida Marlins, the Nationals regrouped on Friday and beat the even worse Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-0. But forget for a moment how bad the Pirates are, wins are coming very infrequently these days; lets savor the winning aroma for as long as we can.

Zach Day pitched the way that team officials believed he could since his early days with the franchise. In seven shutout innings, Day allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out five; his record is now 2-3. But was Day that good or the Pirates that bad? The Pirates came into Friday's game with a team batting average of only .235 and a very "blah" .300 on-base percentage. To be fair, I guess, he had four very solid innings against the Cardinals in his last start, so he's pitched well in eleven of his twelve innings pitched with the Nationals. Perhaps he was as lucky on Friday as he was unlucky last Sunday in St. Louis. Day, a sinker-ball pitcher, was consistently up in the strike zone, and had a much higher than usual number of fly ball outs. Maybe things evened out just a bit.

Nick Johnson isn't quite the streak hitter that Frank Howard was, but he's close. After leading the league in batting average in St. Louis with a .370 average, Nick went oh-for-the week (or so it seemed) as his average dropped to a low of .311 yesterday. Johnson rebounded Friday with a 2-2, two home run night, with four RBI's and two walks. As Johnson goes, so goes the Nationals. It was on Johnson's back that the Nationals broke out to a 50-31 record last season. Missing many games the second half, and playing only adequately when he did play, the Nats limped home with a 30-51 record.

Jose Vidro rejoined the living as well, going 3-4 and raising his batting average to .346. The only other National to get a hit was Ryan Zimmerman, who went 1-4. That's it; a total of six hits in a 6-0 win.

The Nats have a great opportunity to "get well" against the Pirates this weekend. That said, they should have gotten well against the Marlins -- an opportunity they blew. Big time. Ramon Ortiz goes up against Victor Santos on Saturday, a guy pitching about as poorly as Ortiz.

The game wasn't an "indicator," a "beginning," or even a "sign." It was a win against a bad team. No more, no less. If the Nats sweep the Pirates, then the weekend will be all of those things, and more.

One game at a time. That's how we got into this mess, that's how we'll get out of it.

Zach Day had a similar impressive performance last year, very early in the season, when he threw an impressive shut out over seven or eight innings. After that impressive game he fell apart, dissed Grandpa Robinson, and was run out of town. I hope this time is different.
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