Nats right-handed starter Luis Atilano (3-0, 3.90) faces Mets right-hander John Maine (1-3, 6.13) in the finale of the two-game set tonight at Nats Park.
Atilano is coming off a start against the Colorado Rockies in which he allowed back-to-back homers.
He did not have the best control with four walks in five innings and was often behind in the count. A lot of times it was because the sinker was not catching the lower half of the plate.
I asked Luis how he adjusts when his sinker doesn't have enough sink:
"You just try to keep throwing it," he said. "Eventually at some point it is going to get outs anyway. I feel a lot better. I was working on some things between starts. So hopefully by tomorrow everything gets back to normal."
"Every pitch was coming out of my hands differently. I think I got it now. Tomorrow I will be able to do it."
So what did you and Steve McCatty work on this week?
"I have to keep focused and get some more balance on (my delivery). That is the key. If I don't have balance I won't be able to throw what I want. I worked on getting balance and try to finish out front."
Does it help to have a guy like Pudge Rodriguez to catch your games?:
"I feel comfortable with him. I throw whatever he calls because he has a lot more experience and he is probably the best ever at his position. I go by him. If I want to throw another pitch I shake and say no and throw what I want. Most of the time I go by what he calls."
Despite the recent losing streak, the team is 20-20, and playing much better baseball than in 2009, what do you think of the start?
"We have been doing well. We have been playing great. We just have to just find a way to get some of those little things (corrected) and we will be able to win a lot more games."
Pitching coach Steve McCatty on the main thing that Atilano must work on:
"He is still has a very good change-up. He is working on his breaking ball. He throws a slider and a curveball. Part of his problem lately is he is in a hurry and not gathering himself. So we have been working on that this week and hopefully it will pay off for him."
Why is Luis so cool in just four starts in the big leagues?
"He has got a little experience in winter ball so he has experience against major league hitters before. Luis has a good demeanor out there and he knows what he wants to do, and that is sink the ball and use his changeup."
What does Luis need to focus on for tonight's game?
"Sometimes he gets a little excited but that is just part of learning as a young guy. It is not how quick you get there. It's just taking your time to throw good strikes. That has been what he has been doing is rushing. He needs to slow down a little bit to get his arm in a good position to throw the ball over the plate."