Doug Fister has been everything the Nationals hoped he would be when they traded for him last December.
When the 30-year-old right-hander takes the mound against the Phillies on Friday night at Nationals Park, he'll be looking to become the first Nationals pitcher to win six straight decisions since Tanner Roark won seven consecutive Aug. 10-Sept. 17 of last season.
In his last outing, Fister, who is 10-2 with a 2.69 ERA, threw seven scoreless innings against the Reds, allowing three hits, striking out five and inducing nine ground-ball outs. Cincinnati didn't have a runner in scoring position while Fister was on the mound.
"He had good changeups [Sunday]," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "He used it to both right-handers and left-handers. He worked ahead. He threw some pretty good pitches."
Reds shortstop Ramon Santiago admired Fister's approach.
"Fister goes out there and he doesn't give in," Santiago said. "He is always around the plate, he mixes all his pitches pretty good. He's been one of the best pitchers in the league for a couple years.
"I played with him, and he goes after it. He had pretty good movement on his pitches and he threw a pretty good game."
For the Phillies, Roberto Hernandez will also try to replicate the success he had in his previous outing.
Before his start Sunday, Hernandez had made it past the sixth inning in just four of his 18 starts. But against the D-backs, the right-hander was masterfully efficient, needing just 75 pitches to get through seven innings. Hernandez allowed two runs while scattering four hits.
Nationals: Zimmerman shut down for at least two weeks
MLB.com reported early Wednesday morning that Ryan Zimmerman's right hamstring injury is a Grade 3 strain, which likely involves a tear that could leave him on the disabled list for the rest of the regular season.
However, the Nationals did not offer an official diagnosis on the severity of Zimmerman's injury. On Thursday, Williams said there was no new information beside the fact that Zimmerman would "do nothing" for two weeks before the team re-evaluates the condition of his hamstring.
If the Nationals see improvement during that reevaluation in two weeks, Zimmerman could begin strengthening exercises, Williams said. But until then, the future of Zimmerman's 2014 season remains in limbo.
"You don't know until he starts strengthening it, until he starts doing stuff with it and [you can see] how it reacts," Williams said. "Guys heal at different speeds, so it depends on what he can do after the two-week process, and then we evaluate again after that. But there's not going to anything new for a couple weeks because he's not doing anything. There's not tests that we can put him through that would say, 'Well, you've progressed X amount,' or anything like that because he's just shut down."
The Nationals provided a glimpse into the potential severity of Zimmerman's injury when they traded for Indians infielder Asdrubal Cabrera before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Cabrera will take over the starting job at second base, and general manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman's absence was the deciding factor in the deal.
"With a healthy Zim and a healthy eight players that we had, we certainly wouldn't have found the need to go out and acquire a player as skillful as Cabrera," Rizzo said. "When Zim went down, to protect ourselves, we felt we should go out and get ourselves a good veteran, a person to fit into the lineup."
Phillies: Amaro says club didn't overvalue players at Deadline
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. kept a stiff upper lip as he spoke to reporters Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The Phillies are headed to their third consecutive season without a winning record and it is clear they need to make changes to have any shot to win in the future. But with a slew of players available to trade to help those efforts, they didn't make any deals before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"Not disappointed," Amaro said. "More surprised that there wasn't more aggressive action from the other end. We have some pretty good baseball players here."
But there seemed to be a clear difference of opinion there. The Phillies look at a roster with Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Antonio Bastardo and others and see players who can help contending teams. That might be true, but other teams looked at those players with age, injury or performance concerns often with high price tags attached.
"Well, I would disagree with that," Amaro said, asked if the Phillies overvalued their own players. "In no scenario were we asking for players that were their top prospects. We were not looking for exorbitant paybacks, so to speak, we were looking for players that would help us, but I think we were very reasonable in the discussions that we had."
Amaro said he sensed teams believed the Phillies were desperate to deal and ultimately would cave to their demands.
"I've made it very, very clear that we didn't have any pressure to make deals," he said. "What our goal was to try and make our club better. So if there's a deal to help us get there, we would've done it. There really wasn't a deal we felt comfortable with or a deal that we were going to acquire talent that was compensatory to the talent."
• The Nationals recalled right-hander Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday to fill the extra roster spot created after Zach Walters was traded to the Indians for Cabrera.
• The Phillies are 4-33 (.108) over their last 37 games when scoring three runs or fewer, and are 10-45 overall this season when scorer three or fewer. Conversely, they are 19-5 over their last 24 games when scoring four or more runs (38-16 overall).