Character counts

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With a record of 4-5 coming off a 3-3 road trip, it's obvious the Nats are a different ballclub in several ways, from clubhouse character to improved performance on the field.

There were at least two wins on the trip to New York and Philadelphia that probably wouldn't have happened last year.

The Thursday thing is looking good as the Nationals have beaten the Phillies on getaway day two weeks in a row in salvaging a game of these two three-game series. This Thursday's 7-5 win at Citizens Bank Park was one of the best road wins in recent memory, with Scott Olsen pitching well and our ballclub staging a dramatic comeback.

Scott gave the pitching staff a shot in the arm with nearly 6 innings of very good starting pitching, then the bullpen worked over 3 innings, giving up just one run.

Matt Capps had never before gone more than one inning for a save, but battled through an inning and two-thirds for his fourth save in 4 opportunities. He looks like the "tough as nails" closer the Nats have needed to close out tense games like that.

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Even though the hamstring is still bugging him, Ryan Zimmerman came off the bench heroically with an eighth-inning, two-run pinch-hit home run (first of his career in that category) to give the Nats the lead, and Pudge Rodriguez capped it off with the two-run single that provided the winning margin.

The legend of Zim continues to grow and Pudge shows why he's a future Hall-of-Famer!

Wins like these don't come easily, and the Nats have already grabbed two of them. Fasten your seatbelt as the boys come home for 10 games with the hard-hitting Brewers, young and talented Rockies and always-contending Dodgers.

This homestand will be a good gauge of how our ballclub matches up with the better teams from other divisions and I, for one, am very happy to bid the Phillies "adieu" until late July.

I hope you're enjoying our dramatic games on MASN, and we're in for lots more fun in the next few weeks.

From Philly, "See ... you ... later!" and "Go, Nats!"