Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen wasn't happy coming out of last night's game.
Olsen clearly was upset about it as he handed Riggleman the ball, and he was still seething in the dugout. It didn't help matters when Brian Bruney and Tyler Clippard blew that lead and allowed six runs in the eighth to deny Olsen the victory, and the left-hander bolted the clubhouse quickly after the game without speaking to reporters.
We had a chance to speak to both Riggleman and Olsen this morning about the whole thing, and the two of them had a brief, closed-door meeting as well (after we spoke to Riggleman but before we spoke to Olsen). The key point to take out of this is that all's fine between the two and there are no hard feelings.
Here's the transcipt from both the manager and the pitcher...
Q: Scott, when he was taken out last night, was pretty frustrated. Have you talked to him at all today?
A: No. When a starter comes out of the game, if they don't think they should come out of the game, I like that. I want them to feel like: 'I want to pitch.' It's his day. He wants to pitch. But there's a lot of thought that goes into why I made that decision. I respect that he wants to continue to pitch, but the decision was thought out. The repercussions of that ... it was 6-1 and it ended up 6-2, and later [in the eighth] it was still 6-2. That's what we wanted. We wanted to be winning 6-2, at least 6-2 if we don't add on, and that's what we got out of that. He wasn't happy about it, but that's going to be the nature of it. You're going to have starting pitchers upset when they come out of games.
Q: Is there a line with starting pitchers, in general, that they have to walk carefully between: Being upset or taking it too far? And if so, do you have any issue with how he handled that last night?
A: No, not really. He sat down and he was fuming. If they're slamming stuff around and staring you down and all that, then I'd take issue with that. I don't show anybody up. I don't want anybody showing me up. I'm not that thin-skinned that I'm going to get too upset about it. But that thing about taking the starter out, I'll tell you ... I know I'm getting long-winded with this here, but sometimes you get asked what's the toughest part of managing. People tend to say it's dealing with the media or it's delegating your time or it's dealing with the egos of players. No, the toughest thing to do in managing is there every single day. And that's when to take the starter out. That decision is there every day. It might 7-0, or it might be 1-0, or it might be 4-3. But that decision is there every day. You hope you get it right 162 times. I feel like I did it right last night. But if I didn't do it right, then that one goes in the negative column. But that one's there every day, and it's what makes managing interesting: Dealing with the pitching staff. A lot of things happen after you take that starter out. When I took him out, things went well for 1 2/3 innings, and then it went bad.
Q: How do you evaluate last night's start? You only gave up two runs but had to pitch out of a lot of tough spots.
A: High-stress pitches the whole game. The leadoff guy was on base, it seemed, like every inning. It was a battle all night. They got a ton of hits. A couple of double plays helped early on in the game, but the control wasn't how it has been the last couple starts. It was a battle the whole time.
Q: I know you weren't real happy coming out of the game. In hindsight, do you understand the reason behind it?
A: I understand it. I understand.
Q: Riggs said he kind of likes that mentality in his starters.
A: Yeah, it's a fine line. But I've talked to him.
Q: That conversation went well?
A: Why wouldn't it?
Q: Were you frustrated coming out of the game?
A: Well, you're frustrated after you get taken out of any game. Other than that, it's fine. It's frustration.
Q: You felt you could have gone longer?
A: You always think you can go longer. Whether you're at 120 pitches or 80 pitches. You never want to get pulled out of a game. But it's going to happen. Not everybody can throw complete games every time like Roy Halladay.