Things did not start off well for the Nationals tonight. Before they knew it Shane Victorino smacked a home run off Scott Olsen to left field.
The thought; “here we go again,” raced through many Nationals fans minds as the punchy outfielder rounded the bases. Victorino’s touch of the plate marked the 12th straight run the Phillies had scored by way of a homer in this series.
But Scott Olsen did something we haven’t seen a Nationals starter do in a while, he weathered the storm. Following the Victorino blast the lefty settled down and struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to close the inning.
Olsen didn’t look back. He continued his domination to strikeout four of the next five batters. It seemed tonight that Olsen had found the form that once made him one of the better young pitchers in baseball. The most likely reason for his success? Throwing strikes of course. 67/93 pitches from the Nats twirler tonight were across the plate and as a result, batters were behind in the count and had to deal with his looping curveball.
The lineup didn’t let him down. Everyone aside form Nats backstop Jesus Flores contributed at least one hit, with Elijah Dukes and Anderson Hernandez leading the way. Despite stranding 18 runners, the Nats batters only struck out 6 times and gave just enough support for Olsen for the Nats to earn their fifth victory.
Olsen turned the ball over to the bullpen with two outs in the sixth, and for the first time all season they came in and shut the door. Garret Mock, Kip Wells and Julian Taverez combined for 3.1 scoreless innings.
Tavarez earned the save, imagine that.