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Updates: Nationals at Tigers

I'll provide periodic updates. ...

8:39: The Nationals lost to the Tigers, 6-2. Matt Capps and Sean Burnett each threw scoreless innings, Capps striking out a pair. That's an encouraging performance by Capps, the Nationals opening closer. He previously had a rough spring. The Nationals finished with five hits.

7:59: Ivan Rodriguez pounded an RBI double to right-center to score pinch runner Leonard Davis. The Naitonals trail, 6-2, in the top of the seventh.

7:54: Miguel Batista has settled things down by allowing one hit in 1 2/3 scorless innings. The Nationals still trail 6-1. Their lone hits remain that spasm of four consecutive singles.

7:33: It's getting uglier for Olsen. Gerald Laird blasted an 83-mph pitch (not sure what it was) over the left-field fence. The Nationals trailed, 6-1, in the fifth with one out. Alex Avila followed with a double, and Jim Riggleman ended Olsen's night. He allowed 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings. His HIP (not WHIP, just HIP) this spring is 2.464.

7:28: Brandon Inge took Scott Olsen deep to lead off the fifth, launching an 88-mph fastball over the left-field fence. Miguel Cabrera followed with an infield single, the Tigers' 10th hit in Olsen's four-plus innings. The Nats trail, 4-1, with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. That makes 21 hits allowed for Olsen in this spring in nine-plus.

7:24: The Nationals strung together four straight singles for their first run, some true station-to-station ball. Kevin Mench, Roger Bernadina, and Alberto Gonzalez followed Ivan Rodriguez's lead. Gonzalez's RBI hit was a blooper over first base. The Nationals trail, 3-1, after 4 1/2.

7:19: With one out in the fifth, Ivan Rodriguez delivered the first Nationals' hit, a flared single to center.

7:16: The Nationals remain hitless as the Tigers extended their lead. Olsen allowed a leadoff double to Gerald Laird, who smashed a ball of the wall in left-center. Olsen walked Alex Avila, his first free pass this spring. Scott Sizemore laid down a sacrifice bunt. Adam Everett roped a sac fly to right to score Laird. Austin Jackson doubled to right, scoring Avila and giving the Tigers a 3-0 lead after four innings. Olsen has allowed eight hits today. In his first nine innings of the spring, he's allowed 19 hits.

6:55: My apologies for the delay. The Nationals trail, 1-0, in the top of the fourth here in Lakeland. The Nationals have no hits off of Max Scherzer. Scott Olsen, in a potentially crucial start, has allowed six hits -- one bloop double and five singles -- and one earned run. He's been hitting 89 and 90 mph consistently on the radar, which is a positive sign for him. Olsen has mostly hovered around 88 mph this spring, which Jim Riggleman said is bordering on too slow for Olsen to operate at his best.

"That would probably be about the low end," Riggleman said. "He's probably accustomed to pitching in the 92 range. I understand he pitched to 92 and higher at times. To change your style of pitching because you're off four or five miles, it would be about the limit. If you go down lower than that, you almost need to add another pitch."

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 23, 2010; 6:55 PM ET
 
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Next: A rough night leaves Scott Olsen uncertain

Comments

Any radar gun will have to have a margin of error. +/- 2 mph, say. Therefore, these slight increases in mph attributed to Olsen's arm fall within the range of error. Not really encouraging and a crazy way to pick a starter.

To the uninitiated, like me, how many hits the guy gives up would probably be a better indicator of effectiveness.

Note: What does Riggleman know about pitching?

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 23, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Some of how many hits fall in is a function of how good the defense is, so I wouldn't make too much of it over a small sample. There's a stat called babip -- batting average on balls hit in play -- that is supposed to address that. A high babip implies a pitcher was "unlucky" on balls that might have been caught. Some of our resident stat experts will have to explain it in more detail.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | March 23, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Olsen's first three innings were better than the line: two of the hits, and the run, shouldn't have been. Dunn botched two plays, failing to cover first on a bunt and misplaying a one-hopper. But the Tigers' two doubles in the 4th were hard hit.

Posted by: nats24 | March 23, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"Note: What does Riggleman know about pitching?"

He's forgotten more than you'll ever know, that's for sure.

Posted by: TBCTBC | March 23, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

6 runs, 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
I smell burnt toast!
OK, make that one more SP rotation spot now open!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 23, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Just going to have to hope than Mock, Stammen and Livan don't get lit up too badly for the next couple months - seems to me that they'll be our 3, 4 and 5.

Posted by: Kev29 | March 23, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I was wondering about the varriation of radar guns myself. Do the Nats have their own gun that they take with them and use every game? Or do they rely on the gun at a specific park? I would think that when you are talking one or two MPH that would be within the margin of error.

Posted by: twinbrook | March 23, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

"Do the Nats have their own gun that they take with them and use every game? Or do they rely on the gun at a specific park? I would think that when you are talking one or two MPH that would be within the margin of error..."

1 or 2 mph doesn't matter; what matters is 6 runs 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | March 23, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

olsen could really benefit by starting the season in the minors. He is a good pitch but he just needs time to find his stuff.

Posted by: Tom8 | March 23, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't an unexplained spike in velocity, assuming the guns are about the same, presage a serious arm injury?

Posted by: paulkp | March 23, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Eh, don't see the point in sending Olsen to the minors. We are talking about a pitcher coming off shoulder issues who has lost 4 to 6 miles per hour off his fastball. His rookie year in 2006 he was firing 92 up to 94, he didn't have to be as fine as his pedestrian stuff is forcing him to be now. He started losing his fastball before his surgery... before he came to the Nats, actually (just check out his strikeout rate dropping from 8.3 per 9IPs in 2006 down to 5.0 in 2008, before total collapse/injury in 2009)... so this shoulder issue was probably festering for a good long while... unfortunately a stint in the minors isn't bringing that fastball back. Riggleman is right, he pretty much is at the point where he needs to reinvent his game if he wants any chance of significantly extending his career... which seems unlikely, because right now he is pretty much pitching like Jamie Moyer without the guts or the feel.

Unfortunately I would anticipate similar issues with Mr. Wang and his shoulder injuries...

But time will tell, I can still stay optimistic about him for the time being...

GO NATS!

Posted by: Ghost7 | March 23, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"He's forgotten more than you'll ever know, that's for sure."——TBC

Yep. Kerry Wood will be happy to vouch for him, I'm sure.

Re Dunn's misadventures: are the Nats playing some of the worst fielders in MLB?

Posted by: JohnRDC | March 23, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Yes, John, they are. You may have heard of Dunn before: he fields poorly and hits very very well. He's actually well-known in certain circles for both of those traits.

Posted by: Scooter_ | March 23, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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