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Scott Olsen not upset after early hook

Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman says the hardest part of his job is something he confronts on a nearly daily basis: deciding when to pull the starting pitcher from a game.

"You hope you get it right 162 times, and I feel like I did it right last night," Riggleman said Wednesday before the Nationals played the New York Mets at Citi Field. "If I didn't do it right, that one goes in the negative column. "

Nationals starter Scott Olsen seemed to think Riggleman had it wrong on Tuesday, appearing angry when pulled in the sixth inning after throwing just 82 pitches. He exited the game with a 6-1 lead, but it turned into an 8-6 Nationals loss. Olsen did not speak with reporters after the game.

On Wednesday, both Olsen and Riggleman played down the idea of any lingering discontent. They said most starting pitchers would fight to stay in the game, and that the seemingly early removal of Olsen on Tuesday was simply part of baseball.

"When a starter comes out of the game, if they don't think they should come out of the game, I like that," Riggleman said, adding that he was not bothered by Olsen's surly demeanor after being removed on Tuesday.

"He sat down and was fuming. If they're slamming stuff around and staring you down and all that, I take issue with that . I don't show anybody up, and I don't want anybody showing me up. But I'm not than thin-skinned. I'm going to get too upset about it."

On Wednesday, Olsen, who is 2-1 with a 3.51 earned run average, said he understood the decision by Riggleman. He said it did not have anything to do with getting hit by a comebacker that hit his left heel in the second inning; he said the ball smacked the hard part of his spikes, and did not bother him.

Olsen said he spoke with Riggleman on Wednesday morning and that the conversation went smoothly. "Why wouldn't it?" Olsen asked reporters.

"You always think you can go longer, whether you're at 120 pitch, whether you're at 80 pitches," Olsen said. "You don't want to get pulled out of the game. Not everyone can throw complete games every day like Roll Halladay."

By Mark Viera  |  May 12, 2010; 1:45 PM ET
Categories:  Jim Riggleman , Scott Olsen  
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Next: Stephen Strasburg live blog, Syracuse edition, Vol. 2


Its 1 early pull. I wish we had a better reason for it from Jimbo.

If the game ended a W would people even question the move?

Posted by: alex35332 | May 12, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

So what was the reason Riggs pulled him? Still don't understand. And it was a baaad decision that ultimately cost the Nats the ballgame.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 12, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine - are you for real? That decision did not ultimately cost them the game as you say.

Poor relief pitching in the latter innings cost them the game.

Like Alex said, if the team won, wouldn't be a big deal. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal if Olsen wasn't so upset walking off the mound.

Posted by: dmacman88 | May 12, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Watching it on SNY, the Mets were really starting to get solid contact when Olsen got pulled. My guess is it was a preemptive strike by Jim, before some of those flies turned in extra base hits, but what do I know. The wind keeps so many balls inside Citi Field, that I probably would've risked it and tried to let Olsen get through the inning.

Posted by: rnkorby | May 12, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Time to let Tuesday night go and relish today's great win. What a game for Bernadina. Who'da thunk he had that kind of pop? And that catch!! This ought to earn him a regular stretch in RF.

Another series win, and back in 2nd place. Let's go, Nats!

Posted by: nats24 | May 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

We stranded too many runners today, and Bernadina was the main culprit-Zim had a hand also, but a Win is a Win. Bernadina for everyday RF. The lad has always played great defense and he is slowly starting to get hot.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | May 12, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Olsen is a bulldog. You gotta love that.

Posted by: fpcsteve | May 12, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-mentioned earlier that perhaps Riggs was trying to put Bruney in a position to sorta get himself straightened out w/o the game on the line. If that was the case, then I like Rggs thinking. 'Course, didn't
work but...nice try-If that's what it was. Because I woulda left Scott in.....
And today? After starting to teeter, and then collapse, Clip looked as if he got that behind him-and WHAT A WIN!!!! a 90 WIN PACE!! Hahaha (he laughed maniacally)

Posted by: zendo | May 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, hindsight is 20-20 but Olsen had given up 9 hits so it's not like he was cruising through the Mets lineup. Let's not forget that Olsen is coming off an injury so why push him. Livo is the only SP with the priviledge of saying "leave ne in". Also, with a 5 run lead Riggs probably saw an opportunity to give some work to the BBB team and give the CC team some more rest.

Posted by: Natmeister | May 12, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully Riggleman has to realize that Clippard is much better when he starts an inning than when he inherits runners.

So he can't bring in shaky Burney even with a four run lead and expect Clippard to clean up the mess. He either should have brought Clippard in to start the 8th, or had Capps or Burnett ready for bail out duty.

Lesson learned -- we hope.

Posted by: hapster | May 12, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see some sanity has crept back into the discussion of Rigg's decision on Olsen last night, enabled I'm sure by a win today that was as unusual as the loss last night. That's baseball. All the points made above cover all of the points I would make about last night, so no need to repeat them.

Posted by: thelonghaul | May 12, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Truely great rebound win today for the Good Guys! Eventually a Nats pitcher is going to have to pitch into the 7th or we will have no bullpen left by the All Star break. But for now, break out the champagne and its onto Denver.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 12, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I believe I said they were gonna lose today...crow never tasted so good yum yum

Posted by: chillsonic | May 12, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I believe I said they were gonna lose today...crow never tasted so good yum yum

Posted by: chillsonic | May 12, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse


Two things. The Phillies just lost in extras so the Nats are 1.5 games out, and the Phils play again a little later.

Next, the web site Metsblog is pretty entertaining, and this appeared after the game:

i still can’t believe a guy, bernadina, who had never hit a home run in 100 career at bats entering today ended up hitting two today… he also made an outstanding catch to keep three runs from scoring, diving full in air, making the catch, and sliding on the wet grass in to left field… i guess Willie Harris was busy today

We keep saying "The Mets must hate Willie Harris." Well, maybe, in spite of Rogearvin's work today, we can start thinking that the Mets hate the Nats' right fielders.


Posted by: kevincostello | May 12, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

And, if the Giants lose tonight to the Padres, we'll be tied for the wild card lead. Not sure what our magic number is with 129 games to go, but Let's Go Pads!

Posted by: thelonghaul | May 12, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Roger made a great diving catch exactly a week ago against the braves...i think he is just trying to get web gems.

Posted by: chillsonic | May 12, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Those two catches by Bernie rank with anything I've seen since we got baseball back -- up in the league with Willie Harris, which is really exclusive company. They don't get as much credit as the hitting, because these kind of clutch catches tend to defy even Sabermetrics.

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