Doug Fister throws 8 scoreless as Nationals beat Braves

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister may not have had the flashiest stat line, but the Nationals pitcher put on quite a dance recital. He ended up with eight shutout innings and a win, putting his team in first place.

Even with the serious (and seriously awkward) disagreement between pitcher Julio Teheran and his catcher Evan Gattis in a rocky sixth inning, the Atlanta Braves right-hander threw perhaps his best game so far this season.

However, the most remarkable part of his night was not that he and the Braves lost 3-0 to Washington and the workmanlike Doug Fister despite Teheran's season-high 10 strikeouts. Nor was it his walking of two batters in back-to-back innings after 94 consecutive at-bats without surrounding a base on balls.

The remarkable part was that he was able to record his last two strikeouts after balking almost completely out of frustration with the pitches being called by Gattis. Teheran seemed completely unable to hide his almost existential frustration at his inability to come to agreement with Gattis, who's in his first year as a full-time catcher in the MLB. In fact, things were so awkward that Harold Reynolds, who was announcing the game for FOX (along with Joe Buck and Tom Verducci), speculated that the decision to keep Teheran in through the seventh inning (and his third at-bat) was done only to help settle the issue down between the two.

There were no such issues with Fister, who pitched brilliantly while he worked with a pace and cadence that were closer to a choreographed dance than a spectacular pitching performance. Which is not a coincidence, as Fister told Verducci before the game that he listened to country music on days he pitches precisely to develop that type of rhythm.

Although Fister only struck out three hitters, he managed to pitch eight innings of five-hit ball without ever looking like he or his team were in danger of allowing a run at any point. And, with the Nationals just a half-game ahead of the Braves after this win, they're likely more than willing to dance wherever Fister may lead.

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