Fister's quick work fosters Nats' quality defense

Fister's quick work fosters Nats' quality defense

WASHINGTON -- Heading into Sunday's series finale against the Rangers, the Nationals had committed 46 errors in 54 games, which is the second worst in the Major Leagues behind the Indians.

Five of those errors were committed when Doug Fister was pitching, and two came in the right-hander's first start of the season. Fister struggled in that outing, surrendering seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, and even made a throwing error himself in an 8-0 loss to the Athletics.

But in his four starts since that point, Fister has been tremendous. The defense behind him has also stepped up its game. Washington came out victorious in all four games -- against the Diamondbacks, Reds, Pirates and Rangers -- and Fister earned wins in three of them to improve his record to 3-1.

Manager Matt Williams said Fister's ability to work quickly and not waste time on the mound significantly aids the defense behind him, which explains how the right-hander has seemingly avoided the relatively large number of errors the team has made so far in 2014.

"He grabs the ball and goes," Williams said. "You don't have time to stand defensively. ... You're on your toes, because you expect the ball to be put in play and it's happening so quickly. "

Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. He also can be found on Twitter @danielrpopper. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.