Livan Hernandez told me Thursday he likes the way the Nationals are playing overall. He said the key for him is just going out and pitching. He said it's been good to be a part of a starting rotation that has gone at least five innings in each start. The Nats' starters are the only club in baseball to continue doing that.
Don't walk this way: Hernandez has not walked a batter in his last two starts. But he did issue five walks against the Marlins and that's something pitching coach Steve McCatty does not want to be reminded of.
"I don't tolerate walks," McCatty told me Thursday before starter Tom Gorzelanny struggled with his command.
McCatty did say he appreciates the consistency that Livan brings to the staff.
"He does his thing and it's impressive", McCatty added.
Respect for Rick: Cardinals skipper Tony LaRussa told me Nats outfielder Rick Ankiel has so much potential and talent. LaRussa said the more Ankiel plays, the better he will get.
LaRussa also said Ankiel is at the top of his list in terms of respect, especially after everything he went through to convert from being a pitcher to an outfielder and making it back to the majors.
Ankiel told me he signed with the Cards at 18 and played in the organization until the was 30, so he really grew up there.
"Tony and (pitching coach) Dave Duncan basically raised me," he said. "They helped me become a man."
But when facing the Cardinals as a Nat, some things have changed. "Now I want to kick their butts," Ankiel said.
Ankiel felt so fondly of the fans in St. Louis that he took out an ad this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to thank them for their support over the years.
He also told me that with the direction the Nationals organization is going in, the fan support will be there, too.