courtesy of Ian Koski, Nationals Daily News
Six weeks ago, the Nationals didn’t think they’d be holding on to Scott Olsen. The prospect of saving the ball club $750,000 by not having to pay the left-hander his full contract after last summer’s shoulder surgery was a thought that crossed general manager Mike Rizzo’s mind more than once.
Gee, isn’t Rizzo smiling now?
Olsen pitched a gem of a game despite losing the decision in the 8th inning. The youngster who sprung out of Triple-A Syracuse weeks ago proved to NatsTown that his early promotion was no mistake. He struck out 8 over 8 innings with a potential no-no on the line before the Braves broke that up with a David Ross line-drive single to left during the 8th.
Olsen also notched a personal victory on the night, crushing his previous record of seven consecutive scoreless innings pitched by carrying that streak to 20 which is the longest such streak set by a Nationals pitcher this season.
The 3-2 victory on the night was highlighted by talent hailing from a clubhouse with two consecutive 100+ loss seasons. One thing is for certain – these are not the Nationals of yester-year.
There were two “firsts” on the night in addition to Olsen’s quality start. Ivan Rodriguez hit his first homer at Nationals Park, raising his number of ball parks homered in to 34 during his 19 season career. Then, Willie Harris wins it for the Nats in the bottom of the 9th with a bases loaded pinch hit walk-off, giving the Nats their first sudden death victory this season.
Let us not forget the Braves did some fine work as well. The Nats couldn’t score on Tim Hudson until the 5th and that pesky Jason Heyward stepped up to pinch hit, proceeding to drive in the Braves couple of runs in the 8th after coming out of the game during the 2nd inning yesterday with a groin injury.
The Nats win this Braves series 2-1 and are tied with the Mets for 2nd place in the NL East, just 2.0 games back on Philadelphia. The Marlins take on the Nats tonight in DC at 7:05.
Can’t say I’m a fan of Scott Olsen. When he was a Marlin, he was a pretty good prospect who was also extremely immature and unable to keep his emotions in check. He got into a bunch of fights with teammates and management (both verbal and physical), and the Marlins finally had enough and traded him to the Nats. He still has a lot to prove, but he’s still young enough to turn his career around and live up to his potential.