Photo courtesy George Burkes
Justin Maxwell's diving catch in the ninth saved today's 1-0 win.
For the Dodgers, though, yesterday took a greater toll. Joe Torre had to use seven pitchers, all of his relievers except for Ramon Ortiz. As reporters rattled off names of L.A. relievers this morning, Torre responded with their availability. George Sherrill? No. Hong-Chih Kuo? No. Ronald Belisario? Maybe. Jonathan Broxton? Maybe.
So the Dodgers actually recalled another arm for today's series finale, Jon Link. What's so special about Link? He's a local! Grew up and continues to reside in Chantilly, went to Chantilly High School. He just made his big-league debut Tuesday in Cincinnati, tossing two scoreless innings but immediately getting sent back to Class AAA Albuquerque because Beliasario was coming back from the DL.
Well, five days later, Link is back in the majors, taking the spot that opened when Vicente Padilla was placed on the DL. And gets to make his return in his hometown, with 100 family members and friends in attendance. Pretty cool.
Check back for updates throughout the game...
DODGERS AT NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN2-HD
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Chance of storms, 68 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF
CF Nyjer Morgan
3B Adam Kennedy
2B Cristian Guzman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
SS Ian Desmond
RF Justin Maxwell
P Scott Olsen
SS Rafael Furcal
C Russell Martin
CF Matt Kemp
1B James Loney
3B Casey Blake
2B Ronnie Belliard
LF Garret Anderson
RF Reed Johnson
P Chad Billingsley
12:51 p.m. -- Your daily Ryan Zimmerman update: Not in the lineup, again. Available to pinch-hit. Again. Hoping to play in Chicago the next three days, though they may be cautious about that because it's supposed to be cold there. In other words, nothing's really changed.
12:53 p.m. -- Willie Harris is also banged up, dealing with a sore right knee that's been bothering him most of this homestand but was made worse yesterday when he slammed into the fence to make a great catch. He can play today if needed, though.
1:35 p.m. -- And away we go ... ball one from Olsen to Furcal. Amazingly, the field is awash in sunshine. So much for that dire weekend forecast.
1:46 p.m. -- Really nice job by Olsen to pitch his way out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first. He threw six straight strikes to Casey Blake and Ronnie Belliard, striking out Blake on an 0-2 slider and getting Belliard to fly out on an 0-2 fastball. For the inning, 22 pitches, 18 strikes. THAT's command.
1:57 p.m. -- The Nats take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but you've got to wonder if they squandered an opportunity to score more after Morgan led off with a single and Kennedy drew a four-pitch walk. Guzman laid down a sac bunt -- why not let him swing away that early in the game? -- and then Dunn smashed a hard grounder to second that brought home a run but also recorded the second out. When Willilngham swung and missed at a 2-2 fastball from Billingsley, the inning ended with only one run across the plate.
2:04 p.m. -- As I type this, there are about seven or eight mascots roaming through the press box, handing out cupcakes in honor of Screech's fifth birthday. I asked "Clawed" the eagle from American University for his analysis of Scott Olsen's second inning, but all I got was a squawk. Olsen retired the side, for what it's worth.
2:15 p.m. -- Man, is Olsen pounding the strike zone today. Through three innings, he's thrown 33 of 43 pitches for strikes. He's also retired eight straight since loading the bases in the first.
2:31 p.m. -- Make it four scoreless innings for Olsen. Five strikeouts. Forty-two of 54 pitches for strikes. Nats still lead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
3:08 p.m. -- Scott Olsen: Six scoreless innings. Seven strikeouts. 62 of 88 pitches for strikes. I was down in the stands during his last inning taking photos, and a woman sitting behind me says to her husband: "THIS is the guy who pitched on Tuesday??? He was TERRIBLE!" Yep. Still 1-0 Nats through 5 1/2.
3:19 p.m. -- The longer this game goes with the Nats unable to push across another run against Chad Billingsley, you start worrying one mistake from Scott Olsen could ruin the entire afternoon.
3:25 p.m. -- Make it seven scoreless scoreless for Olsen. He got a big double-play grounder of Andre Ethier to end that inning, though it nearly turned into disaster. Cristian Guzman was late covering second, making for an awkward turn. But he got the job done, and so Olsen's day is likely finished. What a strange start to the season for the lefty: Solid in Philly. Horrible against the Rockies. Brilliant against the Dodgers.
3:32 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 18,395.
3:34 p.m. -- That's it for Olsen. Ryan Zimmerman comes up to pinch-hit and gets a nice ovation before hitting a sharp liner to second. Tyler Clippard coming on to pitch the eighth and strengthen his case for an All-Star selection.
3:42 p.m. -- Give Tyler Clippard a can of peaches! Another 1-2-3 inning of relief to protect the 1-0 lead. His updated season totals: 3-0, 0.61 ERA, 19 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings. Send Tyler to Anaheim!
3:50 p.m. -- OK, here we go. Ninth inning. Nats have been up 1-0 since the first. Matt Capps coming on to finish it off. Due up for the Dodgers: Loney, Blake, Belliard.
4:00 p.m. -- With a big assist from Justin Maxwell, Capps gets the job done. Despite a leadoff double by James Loney, Capps gets Casey Blake to ground out to second. Maxwell then comes charging in to make a diving catch of Ronnie Belliard's sinking liner to right, getting a huge ovation. Garret Anderson flies out to center, and that's all she wrote. Nats win 1-0, improving to 10-9.