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Tied At 2 In The Sixth

[UPDATE, 2:51 p.m.] - Before this game, Manny Acta had some kind words for borderline bullpen candidate Gary Glover. "We brought him over here to camp aware of his track record," Acta said. "He's been around and pitched the eighth inning a lot for the Tampa Bay Rays two years ago. He's thrown the ball well."

What Acta didn't mention is that Glover's eighth-inning role came with one of the worst bullpens in baseball. True, Glover had been solid this spring -- one run in five innings, entering today -- but in the sixth, Glover aided the full Nats' destruction. He allowed three hits and one walk. The guy managed just one out before leaving for Saul Rivera, and St. Louis eventually scored four runs in the inning -- all charged to Glover.

Nats now trail 6-2 in the seventh.

---

Through five innings, we're tied 2. What's happenin? Two headlines: After a frigid start today, the Nats' bats are heating up (at least a little). And, Scott Olsen remains about as lukewarm as you can get.

St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter, as good a pitcher as the Nats have faced this spring, struck out five hitters the first time through the lineup. Easy work. But then, with two outs in the third, Lastings Milledge blooped one into shallow center field. Cristian Guzman followed by dribbling one back to the mound. Carpenter couldn't make the play, though: E-1. Next hitter, Nick Johnson, already 1-for-1, shot a double down the left field line, driving in two.

Now, for Olsen. All spring, he's looked... so-so. Velocity in the upper-80s, maybe hitting 90. Adequate control. In previous starts this spring, he was in constant damage-control mode. Against the Mets: three runs, six hits. Against the Astros: four innings, six hits. Against the Marlins: four innings, five hits. In each of those starts, he allowed at least two runs.

He gave up two more today, and scattered seven hits.

In five innings, Olsen threw 72 strikes, 49 balls.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 23, 2009; 2:37 PM ET
 
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Next: Olsen And Bard

Comments

Chico:

That can't be right. He's thrown 121 pitches in 5 innings!!!

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 23, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Olsen's value will be measured in IP and quality starts. He wasn't brought in to be the staff ace. If we're starting two 22-year olds, I'll take so-so from Olsen, as long as it's consistently so-so.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

> In five innings, Olsen threw 72 strikes, 49 balls

121 pitches in 5 innings. That's a lot, right?

Posted by: spamcastin | March 23, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

What bothers me most about Olsen's stat line today is the number in the K column - 0. He's not missing too many bats. Chico, could you estimate how many swings and misses there were against him today? I bet you could them on one hand.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 23, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I badly need a proofreader.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 23, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Chico loves writing because baseball is not his strength. 121 pitches on an Acta team....I think not.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 23, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

must be 72 pitches, 49 of which were balls??

Posted by: NatsNut | March 23, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Uh, live box is showing 5-2 Cardinals now.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Chico (or anyone!) what's the status with Tavarez and his visa issues?

Posted by: skippy1999 | March 23, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Chico, go with the food writing. Numbers don't mean squat there. Cook your steak to 140 or cook it to 190, same diff. There's your gig, man.

Posted by: spamcastin | March 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

That's an understatement :)
_______________________
I badly need a proofreader.

#4

Posted by: lowcountry | March 23, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Aha! Found the gameday feature:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2009_03_23_wasmlb_slnmlb_1

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Bard goes 0 fer 3. Not a good start to the audition...

Posted by: swang30 | March 23, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

"Strike!" ("Richard III, Act I, Scene iv)

-----

Bard goes 0 fer 3. Not a good start to the audition...

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"Well, in that hit you miss." (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Scene i).

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Um I think he meant... "Seventy-two pitches, 49 of them for strikes."

At least that's what the Wash Times says...

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | March 23, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Washington Times likes sports, huh? They care enough to do the math right.

Posted by: spamcastin | March 23, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Chico apparently doesn't even care enough to correct his mistakes when he updates the post. It's just sports, after all.

Posted by: spamcastin | March 23, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"This was the most unkindest cut of all."

(Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

In re. the Bard, that was.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Zing!

I wish you knew how many of these I have saved up, 1a. I love Nieves, but part of me is hoping Bard makes the team so I can use these...

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

That's funny, JiM!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering how long before Bard became The Bard around here.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 23, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

6-3 final. Oh well. Off to find some quotes...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is so bad.

Posted by: RickFelt | March 23, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo on Milledge: "I think he's really making an attempt to look at much more pitches and be selective at the plate."

That's like saying Wilt Chamberlain was making an attempt to be more selective with his girlfriends.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 23, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

From noted Nats hater KLaw on 11/10/2008 regarding the Olsen/Willingham/Bonifacio trade:

"Olsen was a high-upside power arm, but his velocity took a big hit this year, dropping from the low-to-mid 90s to the upper 80s, although he rebounded late in the year and was touching 94 again in September. His slider still has decent bite, but it's slower and a little less sharp than it was two years ago, and he has come to rely more heavily on his changeup, a fringe-average pitch at best that is not effective against right-handed hitters. It's a sell-high moment for Florida, considering Olsen isn't likely to come close to repeating his 2008 ERA of 4.20 -- his RA was a much less attractive 4.73 -- but at the same time it's a potential upside play for Washington with the hope that Olsen's velocity rebound in September is a sign of things to come. Left-handers with Olsen's stuff when he's good are very hard to come by. One thing to bear in mind is that Olsen has had problems with alcohol and with his behavior in the past, although he apparently stayed out of trouble this season."

Anyone else here concerned that his spring has been an indication that his velocity issues from last year have in fact not been resolved? That perhaps he's lost 5 - 6 MPH on his fastball?

Posted by: RicketyCricket | March 23, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

My heart really goes out to Chico who is FORCED to hang out in Florida covering a baseball team. With any luck you will soon be shipped off to cover the state assembly from beautiful Albany, NY. I just can't take any of your comments seriously after reading your quotes.

Posted by: Natstural | March 23, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey, look what I found. Cool.

http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_baseball.cfm

http://openlibrary.org/b/OL41028M/Shakespeare-on-baseball

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

And what exactly could cause such a drop? Is it physiological? Psychological? A result of a change in his delivery?

-----

Anyone else here concerned that his spring has been an indication that his velocity issues from last year have in fact not been resolved? That perhaps he's lost 5 - 6 MPH on his fastball?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

just wanted to respond to this comment from the last post:

---------------


A non-guaranteed minor league deal? The Nats couldn't have offered him that, instead of sending him packing????

Mark Texeira made the right call. This is still a Mickey Mouse organization.

I've seen Little Leaguers who look better in center field than Milledge. And, I've seen Little Leaguers who look a lot better than Dunn looked last night.

Cellar-dwellers.....

Posted by: fischy | March 23, 2009 3:20 PM
----------------------

I've seen Little Leaguers who have thrown more innings in a season than Shawn Hill.

he's gone, get over it.

Posted by: MrMadison | March 23, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This is where I started: http://tinyurl.com/c7kqy4

But then I just started looking at the online texts of some plays. Maybe it's just me, but I think it's more fun that way.

As long as we don't sign a Milton or Spenser, that is.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It was reported earlier, that St. Claire believed the drop in velocity was the result of mechanical issues with his legs (I think he lowered his leg kick, but I can't remember for sure). Olsen was then supposed to be going back to an earlier version of his delivery to correct the problem.

We do have to remember that these guys are still building their arm strength up so maybe that's a part of the reason his velocity is down.

This is definitely something to keep a close eye on though.

Posted by: sec307 | March 23, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 307. I kind of thought it might be a Spring Training aberration myself.

I remember that one of the benefits of the higher leg kick for Chico (the pitcher, not the writer) was an increase in velocity. I wouldn't mind seeing some then/now video on Olsen's delivery and see how pronounced the difference is.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 23, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I share concerns about Olsen's loss of velocity. It's a bit scary when our #2 and #3 starters, two of the reasons we're supposed to be so much better than last year, are the "innings eaters" Olsen and Cabrera. Anybody know what Cabrera has been reaching with his fastball so far?

As for the other end of the battery, glad to see Bard brought into camp. The more competition the better. Regardless of whether Flores will be 100% by opening day or not, it would be nice to have more of a platoon situation at catcher, where Manny has enough trust in the backup to give JF more days off against tough righties.

Posted by: CapPeterson | March 23, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I stumbled across that one as well, JiM.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 23, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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