tv [untitled] CSPAN June 29, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
they say time heals all wounds, and for the washington nationals it's been over two months since the florida marlins dominated the ball club in the first two weeks of the season. the nationals have pay back in mind as florida makes a surge to the top of the division standings. the series opens tonight, as scott olsen makes his return to the nationals rotation against his former team. it's the nats and the marlins, in south florida, next on masn 2. it is time for nationals baseball on masn. it's raining in south florida.
you find that hard to believe? ray knight, johnny holliday with you. glad you're with us tonight for nats baseball. it's about time the nationals finally knocked off the florida marlins. what did they win seven straight down there in florida? >> it seems like every game we've played them, they've would be. they certainly put it on us early in the year, as we didn't pitch very well. they had their hitting shoes on early. >> you go to florida with a nice little win over the orioles yesterday. i would imagine by now that home run that adam dunn hit is almost in easton. >> yes, it is. it went on the train or the trolley, maybe in a horse and carriage. we had some great highlights yesterday. a couple of home runs. we were able to amass 12 hits. here's am add -- adam going down and getting a fastball, as we were able to add some fire
power. willie harris homered later in the 7th inning on a fastball right down the middle of the plate. for a little man he can generate some speed. then lannan held on with seven strong innings pitched, 7 1/3 in fact. six hits, three earned runs, three base on balls and three walks. >> adam dunn with 297 career homers, number 19 of the season. does willie harris surprise you with his power. now, he's in the lead-off spot of this ball club and will stay there until they finally lose a game. >> doesn't surprise me. he's i guess about 5'9" but he's put together. very strong lower body, his hips, legs, very muscular. he was a football player. he works extremely hard, and he's probably the strongest guy we have pound for pound on this ball club. >> you just described was when i take this coat off. >> i've seen you, john. >> exactly the same thing. >> i have seen you, johnny.
>> with the buzz going for me. how about john lannan, i heard a comment, somebody asked him about now you're the ace of this staff, you're the key guy in this rotation. he said not really. i think everybody's going out there trying to do the best they can. if a guy throws a complete game, i want to throw a complete game. >> that's because he's humble. he's not the oldest, stammen is, but he's a guy that's been there the longest and has put together a tremendous resume. not in terms of won and losses, but in pitching quality starts. 14 times he's given up three runs or less, in the last five games his earned run average is down to 2.20. >> you like him, i like him, guess who else likes him? his manager, manny acta. >> we expect that out of him now. i mean this type of outings, just every five days whenever we're struggling giving us a chance to be in the ballgame. it didn't start the way it
ended. he at the beginning was a little bit off. actually gave up three walks in the first four innings. he had good sink to his fastball and had good command of the outer half of the plate. just gave a very solid outing. >> and there you see, john lannan's numbers. 3-0, 37 innings. this is last five starts, ray. he's had five quality starts this year. e.r.a. 2.19, strikeouts, walks, everything is going right now good for john lannan. >> you're going to have to dig real hard, in the national league or all of baseball to find a guy that goes out there over a matter of 49 starts, johnny, over two years and put together almost the same type game. he's just going to give you seven innings, he's going give up less than three runs, he's only going to walk a couple. he's going to keep your team in the ballgame and give them a chance to win. he said yesterday there's not a team in baseball that would not take this guy. >> down in south florida at
land shark stadium is debbi taylor. they changed the name they tell me back in my, used to be dolphin stadium. looks to me like you're in the dugout. might there be precipitation in the area? >> of course, johnny, it's florida, it always rains down here. we'll have more on that in a moment. but how about josh willingham, he's been outstanding lately. in his last 17 games he's raised his batting average 65 points, he's now hitting .278. i talked to him about that and also about facing some familiar faces on the marlins. >> absolutely. you know, there's a lot of people that i care about here, that i spent a lot of time with. went to war with, and playing a lot of games with. so it's nice to come back and see people, but i want to beat them tonight. >> you're hitting .454 since june 20. what's been the key to your consistens iscy at the plate? >> i think just getting pitches that i can handle, and just trying to hit them hard.
i'm not trying to do too much with them. trying to hit the ball hard. luckily when i have hit the ball hard, they found holes. they've been finding holes for me, so i'm thankful. >> i know you continue to work hard in the outfield as well. marques grissom said you're very dedicated to getting better. just your thoughts on playing right field? >> this is i think my third start out there, and it's different. it's going to take game experience to get used to. but as much work as i can get in batting practice and extra work always helps, so, again, it's different. i've played a lot more left, but i'm going do my best to get better at it. >> josh, the marlins have swept the nationals twice this year and they were, had a winning record last year. why do you think the marlins seem to have the nationals number? >> it's a good question. we just have to play better baseball when we play them. they've got a real aggressive hitting team and their starting pitching is the key to them, so we need to do a good job of
getting those starters out and getting some runs on them early, then we'll have a good chance to win. >> finally, you know how much the competitor scott olsen is. what would it mean to him to beat the marl ?ins. >> well, i just think it would be big for him to get a win, because he hasn't pitched in a long time. i don't think scott's going put any more pressure on himself because he's facing the marlins and neither am i. we just want to help our team and hopefully get always win. >> the nats are due. the marlins are 20-3 against the nats the last two years. a look at the weather, sources tell me that it's supposed to dissipate, it's supposed to get a little better here, but right now it does not look good. the rain is coming down and the tarp is on the field. so hopefully we'll have some baseball here, because let me tell you, josh willingham is a hot hitter and i know he wants to get out there and continue to raise his batting average. >> and when you look at josh willingham, he spent five years
with the organization down there in florida. sure he wants to play against his former ball club, as does scott olsen tonight, wants to pitch against them. >> the ballpark is built for him. the short porch in left field. he had 21 home runs there, with 89 rbi's. he's a guy that's just going to drive in a lot of runs. he hasn't done it this year because he's hit home runs with nobody on base. really on pace to have 35 doubles and around 20 home runs which is what he's always done. >> i go back to a comment he made earlier in the year. i got to play to be productive. he's playing, he's being productive, too. >> he knows himself better than anyone. timing is a key. when you're a pull hitter, you look for the ball in. the other night he hit a ball off the center field wall which i was happy to see, that shows he lets the ball travel a little more. josh, he's got a great attitude. comes back, plays.
you just look at his body. man hardly has any body fat on him because he works so hard at his craft and what he's doing. >> so nice to see him around the batting cage with his former teammates with the marlins embracing him. glad to have you with us tonight for "nats xtra pregame." it's the first three -- the first of three against the marlins in florida. fios guy! where ya headed? ah, just installed fios in the whole building.
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yeah, he's been swinging the bat very well. he's been probably our best hitter the last month or so. despite having to stop playing, he's swinging a hot bat, he's got a track record as a hitter in the big leagues and we're looking forward to having a very good second half out of him. >> no question about, josh willingham swinging a hot bat. his average up to .278, last 17 games he's hitting .500.
the orioles series, josh went 6 for 11 and had a stolen base. look who is leading off again. why not. willie harris in center, cristian guzman at short, and ryan zimmerman in the cleanup spot tonight. adam dunn will be playing left field, willingham goes to right. wil nieves will be catching and scott olsen on the mound tonight as the nationals try to get their 23rd win of the season against 51 losses. how about florida, 38 and 39. shortstop hanley ramirez, four home runs over his last seven games. he's hit in 28 of his last 35, 50 of his last 62. his 12 home runs leads all major league shortstops and ramirez will be batting third as you see in that florida line- up tonight. chris coughlin leads off, he'll be in left field, emilio bonifacio at third, then ramirez, cantu will be at first
and uggla at second base, ross will be in center field, robs catching, brett carroll will be in right field, and ricky nolasco who has had major success against the nationals, he'll be on the mound tonight. ramirez the guy you've got to keep off the bases. i think you just mentioned, pitch around him. don't even pitch to this guy. >> you've got to pitch one guy tough in the line-up and he's good night that when you look at all the charts, he's just hammered us with 37 rbi's, 15 home runs, steals bases. so you can afford to, with two outs, pitch him tough, let him get on. i'd much rather have a guy on second base with two outs or have him on second base with nobody out. he's a guy i would pick in the line-up not to let beat me, because he's done it so many times. >> debbi taylor moments ago reporting about the rain falling down in florida. and this game may or may not get under way at 7:00. 8:00 now they have projected
the starting time tonight. 8:00 for the first pitch in south florida. that means another additional hour scott olsen has to wait for his return to the major leagues after coming off the d.l. >> that's not a bad thing for him. i know he's all fired up, but since he hasn't started, really his routine until an hour prior to the game, they probably informed him and he's just been in there stretching, maybe getting his arm strengd by the -- stretched by the trainer. it won't affect him other than the butterflies in his stomach. he's had 13 starts with the nationals, marlins versus the nationals. it may have been one of the reasons we acquired him. but we haven't fared too well with him pitching for us, but he's only had the two starts. he's a guy that has a tremendous heart. goes out there and gives everything he has every day. third most wins amongst all left-handed pitchers, 25 years old or younger, behind scott kazmir and cole hamels.
he's won 31 games in the last three years. >> coming off, he's been on the d.l. since may 17. before rehab starts he had, his e.r.a. was about 9-0-1 record in the four starts. >> i don't worry about that. i think anytime somebody's in rehab their numbers are inflated or deflated. plus, he's just trying to get himself in shape and trying to get that mental picture of home plate, strike zone, and also feel strong mentally that he's capable of going out there and pitching five or six innings in a big league game. >> somebody who's going to be going down and working at syracuse because he's been having a little problem. shairon martis began the season with so much on his shoulders that everybody just raving about this guy. he's kind of gone on a down slope a little bit, ray. maybe he'll work at things at syracuse and be back with the
ball club in no time at all. >> he was not a known commodity coming out of spring training, went around the league, amassed a five hit. now he's not pitched efficient. he's throwing 20 pitches an inning. right at # hundred pitches last night. in only five innings. his change-up is great. if you look at his earned run average over the last five starts, it's not bad, but his walks, 16, with only 8 strikeouts. so that's where he's having his troubles. getting to a lot of 3-2 counts, extending the at-bats for these hitters, then they're able to mount runs on him, and he doesn't miss very many bats either. he just doesn't strike out a lot of people. so he's a finesse pitcher with a pretty good fastball, change- up, breaking ball. i'm not sure what they're working on, but i'm sure it's throwing the ball in a better spot and making better locations. >> and he did win his first
five starts for the nationals. ray and i will take a break. we'll continue with more "nats xtra pregame." gecko: uh, you wanted to see me sir? boss: come on in, i had some other things you can tell people about geico - great claims service and a 97% customer satisfaction rate. show people really trust us. gecko: yeah right, that makes sense. boss: trust is key when talking about geico. you gotta feel it. why don't you and i practice that with a little exercise where i fall backwards and you catch me. gecko: uh no sir, honestly... uh...i don't think...uh... boss: no, no. we can do this. gecko: oh dear. vo: geico. fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.
willie's been playing tremendous. not only defensively. he's working the count. has a good on base percentage. brings out energy day in and day out. >> i just go out and try to play the game right. if you do those things, the game will always give back to you. >> willie harris. talk about playing hard. a double, hit his fourth home run of the season yesterday. drove in a run in that lead-off
spot. manny acta said, sure, i'm going to keep him there. >> he plays the game more correctly than anyone. he runs the bases extremely well. for a guy that can play third, second, actually some shortstop left, right, and center, he never seems to be out of it. he always anticipates the play. i was up there, you and i were up there on the 7th floor at the park the other night. ball hit into left center field and he was actually running as the ball made contact to the plate, in anticipation. and made a play that could have been tough, an easy play, because he got such a great jump on the ball. >> let's go down to south florida and to the ballpark. mark has an umbrella over his head, i'm sure. ray and i were just talking for the hot corner segment. talking about willie harris and what he's done offensively and defensively. does either of the two surprise you with this guy this year? >> no, not really. after watching him last year. i think you could make an argument that he was this
team's most valuable player, the way he was going there for a while. he's the guy that when he gets going and he's playing on a daily basis, he's got some pop in his bat. as he put it yesterday, he loves that lead-off spot because he can cause havoc and all kinds of problems on the opposing staff. he reached base four times yesterday, he also stole a base. he does it all, and it's a good thing now to have him in the lead-off spot because i think he's really best suited on this team for that spot. >> he's got three more weeks before the all-star break. if he stays hot, do you think we can look for him to man that center field spot in the second half? >> well, you know, i think the organization would probably tell you, no, that that's not what they want. they'd love to have a true centerfielder emerge, whether that's roger coming back from injury later or justin maxwell coming back up. given what they have, willie is the best they've got and they've got to ride with the
hot hand. if he keeps it up, you've got to keep throwing him out there, no question. i think it does make a difference having him leading off. it puts guzman in a better spot hitting second where he's probably better suited, gives nick johnson better rbi opportunities. >> mark, one other thing that i want you to touch on is the leadership role that willie harris brings to the ball club. some of these younger guys can really take some lessons from the way he hustles, the way he approaches the game, his whole demeanor, they can feed off that. >> he is like the perfect ballplayer as far as that's concerned, the guy you want. nobody ever says a bad word about him. he hustles, out there every day, always has a smile on his face, never complains about what his role is whether he's starting or not, whether he's bouncing around from position to position. it definitely sets a good example. i know one reason the nationals resigned him last winter was not only because of what he could do on the field, but
because he could serve as a mentor for some of those younger guys. >> thank you very much. great to have you with us as always. we're going to take a break and come back. but first, it's time for the stay in the game hold of the day. joe beimel picked up his ninth hold yesterday. he leads the nationals in that category. just as joe comes in to keep the ball club in the game, you, too, can stay in the game with just for men hair color. ♪ ♪
am for our "nats xtra pregame." then atlanta braves come in for big fourth of july weekend series against washington. ricky nolasco goes tonight for the florida marlins. he has had major success against washington. >> he certainly has. he's a guy that throws hard, fastball. this year he's got a 4-6 record. three games ago he gave up eight runs, then the next game he gave up eight runs, but his last two ballgames he's given up only one run in 12 innings. only walked 18 people in the course of the season, so he's a guy that was a part of that quartet, nolasco, olsen, sanchez and johnson who won at least 10 games back in 2006. >> scott olsen goes tonight for washington. the nationals signed a second
baseman out of cal berkeley, he's a big kid. >> we have some video of him here running. he runs really well. talking to mike rizzo, he said he's one of the best runners they scouted. you can never, ever get enough of middle infielders. this kid has played everywhere. we'll excited about getting him signed, the 50th pick in the draft, our first pick in the second round. his father actually played in the seattle farm system. he should be ready to roll when he gets here knowing how to play this game correctly. >> and a young kid, only 20 years of age, all pac 10 honors in the 2009 at cal and berkeley. scott olsen, ricky nolasco tonight, the pitching match just for game one of the series in south florida. it is raining down there, so stick around. a good scene of the field. bob carpenter coming up with rob dibble. we'll see you after the
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