Thursday, July 29, 2010

Game 102: Braves at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Scott Olsen faces Derek Lowe in today's series finale.
Scott Olsen returns to the mound today for the first time since late-May, hoping to recapture the form he displayed earlier this season before landing on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. The Braves counter with sinkerball specialist Derek Lowe, who actually has struggled against the Nationals. Over the last two seasons, he's 1-4 with an ERA over 5.00 against the Nats.

Everyone's favorite benchwarmer, Michael Morse, gets the start in right field, even against a right-hander. Wil Nieves is behind the plate, giving Ivan Rodriguez the day off.

Check back throughout the afternoon for updates...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 12:35 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF
CF Nyjer Morgan
2B Adam Kennedy
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
C Wil Nieves
P Scott Olsen

BRAVES (58-42)
2B Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
1B Troy Glaus
LF Matt Diaz
SS Omar Infante
C David Ross
CF Melky Cabrera
P Derek Lowe

12:37 p.m. -- This game is underway and Scott Olsen has returned from the DL. Olsen starts Martin Prado off with a fastball for strike one.

12:40 p.m. -- Seven pitches. Four strikes. Three 6-3 groundouts for Scott Olsen in his first inning back from the DL. Not bad. Not bad at all.

1:05 p.m. -- And the Nats take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Adam Dunn leads off with a ground-rule double to deep center, moves to third on Josh Willingham's grounder and then scores on Michael Morse's grounder to short. Olsen, meanwhile, gave up a couple of singles in the top of the second but got out of the jam. So far, so good for the Nats.

1:07 p.m. -- Make it 2-0 thanks to Ian Desmond's solo homer to right-center on a 3-2 pitch. Desmond has quietly been hitting the ball pretty hard the last few weeks after a brutal stretch through the early part of the summer.

1:17 p.m. -- Three scoreless innings now for Olsen. He appears to be picking up right where he left off before going on the DL. Pounding the strike zone, inducing grounders.

1:29 p.m. -- Big line of storms heading this way. The skies have darkened considerably in the last 15 minutes.

1:34 p.m. -- So much for Olsen's shutout bid. He issued a one-out walk to Troy Glaus, then left a 1-1 fastball up to Matt Diaz and watched as the ball sailed into the left-field bleachers. It's tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth as the wind picks up and the skies darken even more here.

1:49 p.m. -- You know, Wil Nieves gets a hit about once every three months. But he sure does make them count. Big two-run single just now from the backup catcher, putting the Nats up 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth.

2:03 p.m. -- We're through five now, so this is an official game. Olsen rebounded nicely from that shaky fourth and retired the side in the fifth. If he can get through the top of the sixth unscathed and before the rain hits, that would have to go down as a fantastic performance from the lefty. Couldn't expect much more than six innings and two runs in his first start back from the DL. First things first; he's got to get through the sixth.

2:15 p.m. -- Guess I spoke a bit too soon. Olsen allowed a run in the sixth, though it was unearned after Ian Desmond was charged with an error. The Nats still lead, though, 4-3. And as I type this, they're pulling the tarp out over the infield. We're officially in a rain delay in the middle of the sixth.

2:33 p.m. -- There's a report on saying Miss Iowa will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before tomorrow night's game against the Phillies. The Nats aren't confirming that yet, but if true, it'll be an impressively quick turnaround from Miguel Batista's one-liner Tuesday night to the beauty queen appearing here at the park Friday night. Incredible how these things come together so fast.

2:36 p.m. -- Actually, Miss Iowa herself, Katherine Connors, has tweeted the news, saying it's official!

3:13 p.m. -- While we continue to wait out this rain delay, if you haven't seen the news from Philly yet: Roy Oswalt has been traded from the Astros to the Phillies. And there's strong speculation he'll start tomorrow night here in D.C. So in the span of four months, both Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt could have made their Phillies debuts at Nationals Park. (Wonder how many Philly faithful will be here tomorrow.)

3:24 p.m. -- The tarp is coming off the infield as we speak, but don't get your hopes up. There's another cell approaching, so the tarp will be placed back on the infield. The delay continues, even though it's bright sunshine right now.

3:31 p.m. -- It's official: Oswalt will start tomorrow night for the Phillies.

3:38 p.m. -- Game expected to resume at 3:50 p.m.

3:47 p.m. -- We're back underway, with Peter Moylan now on the mound for the Braves. Sean Burnett is currently warming for the Nats, so he will be replacing Scott Olsen.

4:00 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance; 30,263. Lots of camp kids here. Or at least, lots of camp kids who WERE here. They're mostly gone now.

4:16 p.m. -- Burnett tossed a scoreless seventh, so Drew Storen is now on for the eighth, still protecting a 4-3 lead.

4:23 p.m. -- Storen makes it through the eighth unscathed, helped by a 4-6-3 double play. So the Nats are three outs from victory as Matt Capps begins to loosen up in the pen.

4:30 p.m. -- Adam Dunn's trade value just went up another tick. Opposite-field home run, his 24th of the year, puts the Nats up 5-3 and gives Capps some breathing room.

4:42 p.m. -- That's your ballgame. Nats win 5-3. Thus, they improbably took two of three from the first-place Braves despite Stephen Strasburg and Livan Hernandez throwing a combined 4 1/3 innings in the series. Isn't baseball great?


Anonymous said...

how will we win if wee willie doesn't start?

JayB said...

Adam Fu&#ing Kennedy again!!! He and Harris contributed more than anyone to the loss yesterday and about 15 games so far this season.....and why is Riggleman coming back again?

Knoxville Nat said...

JayB wrote:

" He (Kennedy)and Harris contributed more than anyone to the loss yesterday...."

How did AK contribute more than anyone to the loss yesterday? Hudson owned just about everyone in that lineup. If I recall correctly Kennedy had one base hit and might well have had another if the ball he hit up the middle had not hit Hudson. That ball was hit hard and might well have ended up as a base hit to CF setting up Zimmerman quite nicely for a RBI situation. Yes it turned into an out but your exaggerations are really starting to cross the line of credibility.

Feel Wood said...

Again, whatever happened to the plan to have Desmond bat second more often? He's only done it once since Riggleman announced the plan two weeks ago. At the time, Riggleman said he hadn't been batting Desmond second because he didn't have anyone else to bat eighth. But today he's found Nieves to bat eighth, yet Desmond's still not batting second.

Did you know that in 1984 the band Talking Heads did a cover album of Jim Riggleman songs? Yeah, it was called Stop Making Sense.

HHover said...

Is that Bryce Harper out in RF? Or did Mike Morse hijack his tanker truck of eye black?

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter because Mighty Morse is here to save the day!

JayB said...

I was sitting with my regular crowd of season ticket holders when Kennedy came up after two straight hits....1st and 3rd with one out.....we all looked at each other and said.....Double Play at the same time......sure enough....check Marks writing....he is the slowest guy on the team out of the box with a run on the line....that DB took for ever to develop and he was out by 5 steps....Harris 3 K' that is a surprise.

Doc said...

Gooo Scott and Michael! Give this team something to cheer about!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Holy Cow!!! Desmond actually goes deep the opposite way!!! And he's made routine plays!

Maybe he will figure it out!

Anonymous said...

i love "Mighty Morse".

JayB said...

Ian D looks like he is using Dunn's bat today......If we just could get a 2B or SS to go along with Ian we would be so much better....Rizzo really blew the Kennedy winter signing decisions....Really poor player evaluation there...Kennedy is so done in baseball.

Pete said...

Morse's intro music is "AHA". Hahaha!

Smatt1001 said...

Wow a single by Wil Nieves. He was finally due.

Mighty_Morse said...


What do you think about putting a claim on Wilkin Ramirez, the Tigers just DFA'd him making room for Jhonny Peralta. I think he is worth a shot!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Just because you keep repeating the same dribble doesn't mean you know anything about baseball.

These are Kennedy's numbers for last year:
.289 .348 .410 .758

and this was on 525 at bats; if he played daily his numbers would likely be in the same neighborhood.

Ian; who you use as a positive example has these numbers:

.252 .291 .379 .670

quit using microscopic examples to make your ridiculous points; if you want to have an intelligent discussion then do some homework.

Tegwar said...

Kennedy also has 11 SB and has yet to be caught. Its not Kennedy's offense production, which is not to far off his norm that concerns me it is his defense. This also applies to Desmond! Pitching and defense up the middle is not just a saying.

Anonymous said...

Nice game from Olsen. A couple of RBI's from Nieves. Nice team effort so far. Oh, and BTW, it's jsut a game. Enjoy!

Knoxville Nat said...


Tell me exactly how did Rizzo blow the Kennedy signing last winter? Once they were out of the Hudson deal who else was on the FA market for him to chase? And don't give me the same old "cheap Lerners" line, Hudson was/is a better player than Kennedy but he priced himself out of the market by demanding a multiple year contract when the Nats were looking for a one year deal. After Hudson, AK was the best available second basemen on the market for considerably less money.

Doc said...

Olsen hasn't thrown a hard slier yet. Not sure he can get by on a 90 mile an hour fastball and a changeup---but he's doing a good job of trying!

Michael J. Hayde said...

"If he can get through the top of the sixth unscathed and before the rain hits, that would have to go down as a fantastic performance from the lefty. Couldn't expect much more than six innings and two runs in his first start back from the DL."

That was a very Bob Carpeterish thing for you to do, Mark, jinxing poor Olsen like that! ;-)

Mark Zuckerman said...

Michal J. Hayde: Well, technically, Olsen still did go six innings allowing only two EARNED runs, so I didn't totally blow it. But I know what you mean. :)

Anonymous said...

Error by Desmond--shocking! The more things change...

NatsJack in Florida said...

Hey.. C'mon... What do you expect? He's handled 4 or 5 prior to the error.

Can't we cut a rookie a break?

This is exactly who he has been through out his entire career. Maybe 2B is the answer once we find a real shortstop.

DJ said...

Anon @ 2:26.....

Did you see the play? The ball was hit hard, it could've been ruled either way. He's had a very good day at the plate and at short.

waddu eye no said...

good for miss iowa. i'm glad someone following the nats has a sense of humor.

maybe batista will play in a bikini

Anonymous said...

Do you know if Oswalt will make the trip and start tomorrow for the Phils?

Anonymous said...

That's what the WP is saying.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Just heard from a writer friend in Philly who said everyone there is assuming Oswalt will start tomorrow, though that hasn't been made official yet. Roy Oswalt and Miss Iowa on the same night! What an event!

Smatt1001 said...

Now if only he'll have another short outing against the Nationals, like he did when we face him in Houston in May

Bowdenball said...

While it's painful to deal with the Phillies and their fans in the short term, everything that's happened with that team in the last year has been great news for the Nats. They are mortgaging their future to win now, picking up 30-something pitchers in exchange for their best prospects and handing Ryan Howard a crippling contract that is going to cost them Werth and Rollins and plenty more in coming years. The Nats were never gonna compete with them this year and maybe not even next year, so it's an absolute thrill to see the division power shoot themselves in the foot for 2012 and beyond, just when the Nat should be rounding into form.

Chin up, Nats fans. When those intolerable jackasses invade our park this weekend, just remember that their time at the top is coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

Hope Olsen is the lead story in the moring. Nice job!

Arlington Big Fish said...

Re the intolerable jackasses: I got a call a couple of weeks ago from the Nats ticket office, warning me that a group had bought a large block of tickets around my 2 seats for the July 31 game. I said, "AHA!!, Phillies Fans." He wouldn't confirm or deny who they were, but after my experience with the jackasses on Opening Day, I took the hint & upgraded my seats to the Club Level -- where (I hope) there's less of a chance I'll be surrounded.

I learned 2 things from this little episode:

1. The Nats really are trying to keep their season-ticket fan base happy.

2. The screaming & moaning from us about the Opening Day debacle made an impression on someone in a position of authority.

Tegwar said...

Dunn goes yard!!! Pay the man Shirley.

Anonymous said...

I like the Nats. I think they're improving. 2 out of 3 from the Braves. Are the Braves bad? No. Are we as bad as some people here say? No. And Olsen is a great story. Hoping for more of the same over the next few weeks.

Mighty Morse said...

@ Anon 1:45PM

Wilkin Ramirez is one of the Tigers top prospects and played for the world team during the Futures Game All-Star weekend.

So what do you think Mark, does Rizzo take a flier on this kid? He is a power hitting OF who needs a bit of plate discpline but has a big upside.

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