Results tagged ‘ Scott Olsen ’

Wang’s no-hit bid

After a couple of shaky starts that both resulted in losses, Chien-Ming Wang looked like the pitcher he was with the Yankees last night. After throwing just 81 pitches, he was done for the night in the seventh inning. The bullpen took over and locked it down in a 3-1 win over the Chicago Cubs.

Wang’s outing was highlighted by the fact that he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, where pinch hitter Tony Campana led off with an infield single. But the fact that the righty got that far into a game without allowing a hit was certainly thrilling for Nationals fans, who have yet to see a no-hitter since the Montreal Expos moved to DC.

The franchise had four no-no’s during its time in Canada, the most recent being a perfect game by Dennis Martinez on July 28, 1991. Worth noting about that game is that the catcher that day, Ron Hassey, had previously caught a perfect game for Len Barker of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981. Hassey is the only catcher in MLB history to have caught two perfect games.

But the city of Washington hasn’t seen a no-hitter in a lifetime. The last person to throw one for a Washington Ballclub was Bobby Burke, who threw his on August 8, 1931. Burke, a lefty, spent most of his career with the original Senators before going to play for the Phillies. He was with the Senators for their 1933 pennant victory.

Prior to that, you had the great Walter Johnson. His no-hitter on July 1, 1920 was the first in the history of that franchise and came on a narrow victory—1-0 over the Boston Red Sox. Johnson’s only base runner came on an error by Hall-of-Fame second baseman Bucky Harris in the seventh inning; Johnson did not allow any walks during that game.

After Johnson and Burke, there have not been any no-no’s in the Capital, as the expansion Senators did not throw one until they moved to Texas. However, within recent years, you’ve had a few pitchers flirt with making history.

In April of this year, Jordan Zimmermann took a perfect game into the sixth inning before Carlos Ruiz spoiled his chances with a home run. In 2010, Nats fans got the closest they’ve come to a no-hit victory when Scott Olsen took one into the eighth inning in a game against the Braves. Atlanta catcher David Ross hit a single past Ian Desmond to put the first hit on the board for the Braves. The only base runner prior to that was a walk to Melky Cabrera in the third.

Jason Bergmann got the closest to a no-hitter back when the Nationals were still playing at RFK Stadium. In 2007 he, like Olsen, took his bid against the Braves into the eighth inning before allowing a hit. He struck out 10 batters and allowed just one walk and two hits in his eight-plus innings pitched. The Nats won that game 2-1.

With Wang shaking the rust off of his pitching arm, as well as the much-anticipated return of Stephen Strasburg looming on the horizon, it’s quite possible that Nationals fans could see their squad get off the no-hitter schneid.

30 Players in 30 Days: Scott Olsen

scott olsen dealing.jpgScott Olsen is once again eligible for arbitration and the Nationals are once again left with the decision on what to do with him. Last year, they didn’t tender his contact and he became a free agent, only to later sign with the Nats. It was strictly a financial move and it saved the Nationals a substantial amount of money. The Nationals now have to answer the same question this offseason: to tender or not to tender, that is the question.

When the Nats acquired Olsen from the Marlins before the 2009 season, he was a durable pitcher that started at least 31 games the previous three seasons and had never been on the DL. It hasn’t been the same story with the Nats. Olsen has been plagued by a nagging left shoulder injury and in two seasons with the Nationals here are his numbers: 6-12 with 95 strikeouts and a 5.76 ERA (92 ER/ 143.2 IP) in 26 starts (28 games).

In 2008 with the Marlins, Olsen went 8-11 with 113 strikeouts and a 4.20 ERA (94 ER/ 201.2 IP) in 33 starts. It isn’t proof that he can be a No. 1 starter, but if the Nationals can get those 2008 numbers out of him as a fourth or fifth starter, they wouldn’t complain.

At times during the season, Olsen was great. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Braves in May, at the same time extending his scoreless streak to 20.0 innings. But the high points were few and far between and the low points seemed to keep getting lower. He experienced shoulder tightness in the middle of May and was sent to the DL once again. Olsen came off the DL on July 29 but he never could settle into a comfort zone. He went 1-6 with 8.72 ERA (32.0 IP/ 31 ER) and a .331 BAA over seven starts.

“As a starting pitcher, getting into a rhythm of every five, six days, I would say it’s more difficult to come off the DL, be up and down, do all this stuff,” Olsen said. “By no means is that an excuse. When I’m out there, I’m out there. I’m feeling fine. I just got to be better. It’s just the bottom line.”

Olsen was moved to the bullpen in September and he pitched four perfect innings in his first relief appearance. It was an impressive outing but Olsen doesn’t see himself as a reliever.

“I’d like to start,” Olsen said. “I don’t want to be a bullpen guy.”

If he is healthy in 2011, he won’t need to worry about pitching out of the bullpen, no matter where he is playing.

Strasburg to DL and Lineups

In a move that seemed inevitable, the Nationals placed right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the 15-Day DL with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to July 22–the day after his last start.


“They’re taking every precaution with me,” Strasburg said. “It’s doing great already, making big strides, so I’ll just keep getting better, keep getting stronger and when the time comes, I’m going to be ready to go.”


The move made room for Scott Olsen who will take the hill for the Nats in his first start since May 21. Olsen has been out with shoulder stiffness.


Olsen missed the last 59 games after he was placed on the DL on May 22 with left shoulder tightness. The 26-year-old went 0-0 with a 3.21 ERA (5 ER/14.0 IP) in four rehab starts. Olsen is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA in eight starts with the Nationals this season. In the six starts prior to his DL stint, he went 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA.


Braves (58-42):

1.    Martin Prado – 2B

2.    Jason Heyward – RF

3.    Chipper Jones – 3B

4.    Troy Glaus – 1B

5.    Matt Diaz – LF

6.    Omar Infante – SS

7.    David Ross – C

8.    Melky Cabrera – CF

9.    Derek Lowe – SP (10-8, 4.48 ERA)

 Nationals (43-58):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF 

6.      Michael Morse – RF

7.      Ian Desmond – SS

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Scott Olsen – SP (2-2, 3.77 ERA)


Nats look to fry the Fish in game one

Marlins (13-15):

1.    Chris Coghlan – LF

2.    Gaby Sanchez – 1B

3.    Hanley Ramirez – SS

4.    Jorge Cantu – 3B

5.    Dan Uggla – 2B

6.    John Baker – C

7.    Cody Ross – CF

8.    Brett Carroll – RF

9.    Chris Volstad – SP (2-2. 4.45 ERA)

*Florida suffered its first three-game sweep of the season when it fell to San Francisco last night, 6- 3. Florida did not get a hit until the sixth frame and was limited to five hits on the night.

*As a team, Florida is hitting .312 with runners on base–tops in the Major Leagues–and are the only NL team hitting over .300 with ducks on the pond.


 Nationals (15-13):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Willie Harris – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.     Craig Stammen – SP (1-1. 6.75)

*Washington won its first walk-off of the season last night, thanks to 7.1 hitless innings by Scott Olsen and Willie Harris’ single to center field to end the night.

*Washington is now 4-1 in rubber games this season.

*In last night’s win over Atlanta, Ivan Rodriguez hit his first homer as a member of the Nationals, which was also, coincidentally, his first long ball at Nationals Park. Rodriguez has now homered in 34 different ballparks, and will attempt to add to that total this summer when Washington visits Citi Field, AT&T Park and Chase Field.


Jinx this

Can you jinx a no-hitter?

Can you jinx the pace of the game? That’s why they say never to say, ‘Wow, this game is going by so fast,’ because you can jinx that too.

Is there anything we can’t jinx in baseball?

That is the million dollar question.

I mentioned that Scott Olsen had a no-hitter in the sixth inning and I was quickly accused for just jinxing the no-hitter–as if I had anything to do with it. I wish I did because I would have jinxed him to keep it going.

Is it really possible to jinx it? The answer seems obvious. No way, right. It seems highly irrational to think that people have the power to do that. I am sure every Braves fan was talking about it and wanting it to end. I am guessing they had no effect on stopping the no-hitter. But it is only a guess. I can’t prove it. Maybe someone jinxed David Ross to get a hit.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say you can jinx a no-hitter.

I will blame my friend for this one. He texted me during the top of the eighth and said, “Not jinxing anything but…” Needless to say, the no-hitter ended shortly thereafter.

For everyone who jinxed the no-hitter last night, here are seven more things you should jinx. I don’t want your jinxing powers to go to waste as you wait around for the next possible no-hitter that you’ll end just to be mean. And like they say in Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” You are responsible to jinx the following…

1.      Please jinx Justin Bieber from singing about dating and girls. I love JB as much as the next person but the 16-year-old should be singing about puberty and pimples.

2.      Please jinx the Yankees winning ways. Why not?

3.      Please jinx the Pirates losing ways. Nobody deserves 17 straight losing seasons. Might as well jinx the O’s while you are at it.

4.      Please jinx Ben Affleck from ever starring in another movie. He ruined Pearl Harbor and let’s not forget the classics he starred in like Jersey Girl and Gigli.

5.      Please jinx the Redskins struggles. In fact, jinx all of DC sports.

6.      Please jinx an end to thinking people can jinx things.

7.      If you have any time left, you might as well jinx the Nationals to win the World Series.


So close…. yet so far

Scott Olsen 10.JPGLess than three weeks after the Braves were no-hit by the Rockies, they seemed destined to sink into despair yet again.

Scott Olsen was dealing. After seven innings, the Braves were hitless and Olsen had extended his scoreless inning streak to 20. He took a no-hitter into the eighth and after Matt Diaz was called out looking with a full count it seemed like the Braves were going to be no-hit for the second time this season–Ubaldo Jimenez threw the first no-hitter of the season against the Braves on April  17.

“I think if that would have happened,” Chipper Jones said, “you probably have to put us all on a suicide watch.”

Scott Olsen needed only five more outs and he would forever be remembered.

“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t thinking about it,” Olsen said about the potential no-hit bid. “I was thinking about it early. I thought about it in the fourth and fifth inning. But it’s one of those things that’s hard–real hard–to do.”

David Ross proved why it was so hard and made sure that didn’t happen. He singled to left on the second pitch, just past a leaping Ian Desmond. (Reaction below.)

Scott Olsen no-hitter broken up.JPGAs quickly as the no-hitter was lost, the game was tied 2-2 after Jason Heyward laced a two-run single to left off Tyler Clippard with the bases loaded.

How quickly the tide turned. The Braves had runners on the corner with one out. Clippard settled down and got Omar Infante to ground into a double play to end the eighth. But he found himself in trouble yet again in the ninth. The Braves loaded the bases and the man who broke up the no-hitter found himself at the plate once again. He wasn’t so lucky. Ross grounded into an inning ending double play.

Adam Kennedy drew a walk to lead off the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman doubled and the Braves intentionally walked Cristian Guzman to load the bases. With the infield in and zero outs, Willie “Walk-off” Harris ripped a single into center field to give the Nats their 15th win of the season. They didn’t win their 15th game last year until June 6 (they were 15-36 at that point in 2009).

It is a different year and you can sense it everywhere: in the clubhouse, in the stands and, of course, on the Metro. This game had everything any fan could ask for: a possible no-hitter, suspense late into the game, home runs, key double plays and a walk-off win.

Walk-off Willie Harris c.JPGHere are some memorable quotes as people waited for the Green line to Greenbelt.

“I ate at Ben’s Chili Bowl, got half drunk and watched our Nationals win. It was like a night in heaven.”

“That was one of the best games I have ever seen.”

“Talk about a heart attack inducing game.”

“The Nats would have lost this game last year. They are winning a lot of close games this season. Last year, they looked for ways to lose… this year they are finding ways to win.”

“Tyler Clippard for Cy Young.”

“Zimmerman looked like Air Jordan jumping out there… If only Scottie Pippen could have caught the ball.”

His buddy quickly responded, “Great basketball analogy at a baseball game.”

The rubber game against the Braves

Braves (12-15):

1.    Omar Infante – SS

2.    Martin Prado – 2B

3.    Chipper Jones – 3B

4.    Troy Glaus – 1B

5.    Matt Diaz – LF

6.    David Ross – C

7.    Melky Cabrera – RF

8.    Nate McLouth – CF

9.    Tim Hudson – SP (2-1. 2.87 ERA)

*Atlanta snapped an eight-game road skid with a 7-6 win last night.

*Rookie superstar Jason Heyward will not be starting tonight’s contest. He left last night’s game in the top of the second inning with a sore right groin and is listed as day-to-day


Nationals (14-13):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Ian Desmond – SS

8.      Roger Bernadina – RF

9.   Scott Olsen- SP (2-1. 4.35)

*Scott Olsen has not allowed a run in his last 13 innings on the mound. The streak spans over two games; both resulted in wins.

*Last night’s 10 inning loss dropped Washington to 0-3 in extra-inning games this season.

*Washington is 5-0 this season when hitting multiple home runs.


The Nats make a few roster moves

It was a busy day for the Nats. They recalled left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen and outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Triple-A Syracuse Chief and designated right-handed pitcher Jason Bergmann for assignment.


It was inevitable when the season started with eight pitchers in the bullpen that the Nats would eventually have to drop down to seven pitchers in the bullpen. Today was that day. Bergmann wasn’t the likely candidate on Opening Day but he pitched himself into that position with a 15.43 ERA (4 ER/ 2.1 IP) in four games.


Olsen, 26, started this afternoon’s series finale at Philadelphia. Olsen made one start for Syracuse, allowing four runs on eight hits in 6.0 innings during Friday’s no-decision vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies). He started just 11 games last season and his last start was on July 10 before he had left shoulder surgery. He wasn’t quite 100 percent at the end of Spring Training but his fastball is back in the low 90’s and he could become a valuable southpaw in the Nats rotation.


Maxwell, 26, struggled this spring but was 5-for-15 (.333) with two doubles, two RBI, five runs scored, five walks and two stolen bases in four games with Syracuse prior to the promotion.


The Nats also voided the April 11 option of right-handed pitcher Garrett Mock to Syracuse, and instead, placed Mock on the 15-Day Disabled List, retroactive to April 11, with a right cervical spine disc injury. Mock, 26, received a no-decision on Friday at New York (NL) in his 2010 debut. He worked 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks.

J.D. Martin to make Major League debut

Following yesterday’s series finale, the Nationals placed left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen on the 15-Day Disabled List (left shoulder), retroactive to July 11,  designated right-handed pitcher Julian Tavarez for assignment, and selected the contracts of right-handed pitcher J.D. Martin and right-handed pitcher Logan Kensing from Triple-A Syracuse.


JD Martin.jpgMartin, 26, will make his Major League debut tonight against the Mets. Martin went 8-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for Syracuse to earn the promotion. Martin posted a 6.3/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio en route to posting those eight wins, which are tied for second in the IL. Last week, Martin represented Syracuse in the Triple-A All-Star Game.


The 27-year-old Kensing joins the Nationals after posting 12 saves in 13 opportunities and a 3.91 ERA in 23 appearances during a nearly two-month stint with Syracuse. While with the Chiefs, Kensing walked just five and struck out 24 in 25.1 innings. Kensing joins the Nationals for the second time this season. He was acquired from the Florida Marlins on April 29 in exchange for right-handed pitcher Kyle Gunderson.


Olsen, 25, is 2-4 with a 6.03 ERA in 11 starts for the Nationals this season. He last pitched on July 10 at Houston.


Tavarez, 36, went 3-7 with five holds, one save and a 4.89 ERA in 42 appearances with Washington this season.

Olsen can’t beat friend, former team in strong return from DL

Scott Olsen.jpg

Scott Olsen pitched well against his former team and good friend Ricky Nolasco but the Marlins still beat the Nationals, 4-2, on Monday night. The left-hander, who had been on the 15-day disabled list since May 18th, gave up two runs on six hits while striking out seven over seven innings. It was his longest outing since April 18th. Olsen left with the game tied at 2-2, however relievers Julian Tavarez and Ron Villone each gave up a run in the eighth which proved to be enough for the Marlins’ victory. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 13th home run on the season off of Nolasco in the second inning. It was Olsen’s first start since being placed on the DL on May 18th with left shoulder tendinitis.

 “I’m not Jamie Moyer — I can’t really be hugely successful throwing 82 or 83 [mph],” Olsen said. “The exercises and new routines that the training staff and physical therapists got me on here — it’s a real credit to them. Every start I’ve made to this point has put me at 88 to 92 [mph].”

In other Nationals News:


Craig Stammen and Willie Harris secure regular roles with the team

– National’s sign second-round pick Jeff Kobernus

– Syracuse’s Garrett Mock is IL Pitcher of the Week

Ryan Zimmerman falls to third place in All-Star voting. Cast your vote HERE.