Welcome to MASN’s live thread for tonight’s Nationals-Braves game at Nationals Park. I’ll have updates and analysis throughout the game, and whether you’re just watching the game on TV or following online, you can participate by commenting in this thread. Or, if you’re on Twitter, you can tag tweets with #masnnats, and they’ll be included in the chat.
If you want to participate in the chat via our Gamezone space, which includes live stats, matchup data, pitch tracking and more, head here. And if you’re not into the game chat experience, that’s fine, too - I’ll provide some periodic updates below the chat window.
Thru 3 1/2: Scott Olsen’s shutout streak is up to 17 innings, and it looks as though the Nats have found a pitcher. He’s doing what he’s done in his last two starts -- pounding the strike zone and setting up a sharp slider when he’s ahead in the count, which has been often. The Nationals have only managed one hit on Tim Hudson, but that’s one more than the Braves have against Olsen, if ya know what I’m sayin’. For Washington, it’s difficult to understate what kind of impact there’d be if Olsen can keep this up, or stay reasonably close to this level. His track record suggests he won’t be able to do it all year, but at present, he and Livan Hernandez are the surest things the Nationals have. We’ll see if he can keep it going tonight.
Thru 6: You can feel a buzz starting to build around Nationals Park now, and it’s because Scott Olsen has the aforementioned thing still going through six innings. He’s continued to throw strikes - he’s struck out seven Braves - and has been economical with his pitches (he’s thrown 76 through six innings). The Nationals got their only run on an Ivan Rodriguez homer to left off Tim Hudson in the fifth inning. Hudson has continued to pitch well; he’s only thrown 71 pitches through six innings. But his control is starting to waver a little, and the Nationals have packed three of their four hits off him in the last three innings. They might need another run or two, but probably not much more than that. And the way Olsen has pitched, they might have enough already.
Thru 8: Things couldn’t have come apart much quicker for the Nats in the eighth. After his eighth strikeout of the night, Olsen gave up a hit to catcher David Ross, breaking up his no-hitter. Then Ryan Zimmerman made his first of two throwing errors, trying to turn a 5-4-3 double play with an adrenaline-charged throw to second and firing high. Nate McLouth singled, and pinch hitter Jason Heyward took away Olsen’s 20-inning shutout streak and his chance at a win all in one swing, with a two-run single. Tyler Clippard has walked two in the eighth, and the Braves have the bases loaded. This could turn into a very painful loss for the Nationals here.