Hernandez looking to reverse season-long trend

Roberto Hernandez throws during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

WASHINGTON -- For Phillies righthander Roberto Hernandez, this has been a season of alternating months.

Hernandez had a 5.74 earned run average in April. His May ERA sunk to 1.73. Then it June it rose to 5.03 before going down to 3.76 in July.

Hernandez is looking to stop that trend and at least got off to a good start in his first August start, allowing one unearned run in eight innings during Friday’s 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

“He gave us a little life and energy out there, (a) quick-paced game,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He kept the defense on its toes, knowing that he was going to throw strikes and some quick innings with 94 pitches.”

Hernandez is now 6-8 with a 3.87 ERA. What has been important to his recent success is that he has kept the ball in the park.

He has allowed just one home run in his last seven starts, although it came close to two when Anthony Rendon flew to deep left field in the eighth inning.

“I thought it was a home run,” Hernandez said smiling.

It stayed in the park, and even though Washington hit several hard balls off Hernandez, the righthander survived.

It was the second time in four starts he had gone eight innings and allowed just one run. The other came in a 4-1 win at Milwaukee on July 9.

A free agent next season, Hernandez is now pitching the way the Phillies hoped when he signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Whether he can keep it up remains to be seen, and it will be interesting if in August, he will be able to reverse the every-other-month issue when it comes to his consistency.