Moving forward in May

Patience of a Saint...
You have to give Nats pitching coach Randy St. Claire kudos for coming out to speak with the media after Thursday night’s disappointing loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

You could see the look of despair on his face after he watched his pitchers issue 10 walks and four wild pitches. Like the rest of Manny Acta’s coaching staff, Randy St. Claire has managed to stay positive during this tough April stretch in which the team fell to 5-16.

Earlier this week, starting pitcher John Lannan told me he wanted the Nats to get to 10 wins before it got to 20 losses. That’s a goal that’s within reach if the bullpen can bounce back.

The Nats’ starters have steadily improved since their rough start. Even Thursday night Daniel Cabrera pitched well enough to win (Cabrera allowed only 3 runs in 6.0 innings of work to record his first quality start of the season), but the relief corps couldn’t hold the lead.

Randy St. Claire said after losing to the Cardinals that he believes the bullpen woes are more mental than physical. He said the pitchers are better than what they’ve shown on the mound and he thinks they’re thinking too much out there and they just have to be aggressive and throw strikes. It’s a simple philosophy but it’s one that’s not being followed right now.

How do you spell relief?
Logan Kensing, the new 26-year-old reliever, made his debut for the Nationals on Thursday night.

He hadn’t been pitching well with Florida, but do you actually expect a team to trade a pitcher when he’s doing well? This is a chance for Randy St. Claire to work his magic and try to help Kensing get back on track.

The righty has a live fastball, and if he works with Randy to harness his command, he could be a valuable power arm in the bullpen. Remember, this is a guy the Marlins had regarded as being their setup man and future closer.

Nats host Equipment Drive...
Just a reminder, the Nats are collecting gently used baseball and softball equipment this weekend during the Cardinals series. You can donate your items outside the Center Field Gates from the time the gates open through the fourth inning.

The DC Public High School Athletic Departments will benefit from the drive.