Bruney’s struggles, Atilano’s progress

When the Nationals acquired Brian Bruney from New York last December, I asked Yankees’ broadcaster Ken Singleton about him.

“He throws pretty hard, but he’ll walk some guys,” he told me. “He’ll have some innings where he’s absolutely lights out, but then he’ll lose command and really frustrate you.” That kind of inconsistency has been on full display the current series at Coors Field.

Following yesterday’s first game, Jim Riggleman summed it up perfectly: “He’s got a great arm,” he said, “but we’ve seen this kind of thing too many times before.”

Too many times. How many more times - besides being the name of a great early Led Zeppelin tune (in the key of E if you’re playing along at home) - is a question that may be answered more sooner than later. Reliever Drew Storen’s ascent to the big leagues is approaching, and right now, Bruney’s roster slot is uncertain at best.

Losing the nightcap on an unearned run was tough, but we once again saw Luis Atilano compete, despte not having his best stuff. He threw too many pitches, and walked one more than he K’ed, but he never lost his poise. It’s that feel for the game that will likely extend his big league career. That, and the pace of recovery for Chien Ming-Wang, Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmermann.