Olsen And Bard
Before today, Scott Olsen and Josh Bard knew of one another only as opponents. Bard had faced Olsen three times, getting one hit. That was back when Bard was a Padre, and Olsen was a Marlin. Today, in the Nats' 6-3 loss against the Cardinals, they were battery mates.
In the morning, pitching coach Randy St. Claire tried to bring Bard, signed this weekend, up to speed. Bard always thought Olsen had a tough, sinking movement on his pitchers -- a sharp downward trajectory. But for this game, he needed to learn more. The signs. The way Olsen likes to work. His full pitch repertoire. In the last two weeks of spring training, as Bard tries to make this team, almost every day will be a cram session. Day 1, several said later, proved to be an encouraging start.
After finishing his five innings today, Olsen went out of his way to give Bard some props. "It was great, great," he said of the game Bard called. "He sets up nice." Olsen mentioned, in particular, that Bard sets up in a way that forces the pitcher to be aggressive. That time in the first inning when Olsen got Albert Pujols to pop up? It was because Bard made an emphatic point to set up inside.
"So I came in, jammed him," Olsen said.
Said Manager Manny Acta: "He called a pretty good game for Olsen."
Olsen was happy with his own performance, too. Almost all of St. Louis's seven hits were grounders that found their way through the infield.
"I felt good," Olsen said. "The ball was coming out of my hand pretty well. Consistently we were down in the zone today."
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