Things started so well for the Nationals on Tuesday night; Scott Olsen didn't allow a run in the first five innings of his start against the Atlanta Braves, and Washington took a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning against Braves rookie Mike Minor with a pair of doubles from one player who hadn't done much lately (Michael Morse) and another who hadn't gotten many chances to play (Wil Nieves).
But everything came apart after that. Olsen imploded in the sixth, Adam Dunn threw a ball that might have cleared a basketball hoop when relaying to Ian Desmond at second base, all three Nationals relievers who pitched gave up a run and the Braves scored 10 unanswered runs, turning the first game of the teams' three-game series into a 10-2 thumping.
Olsen is likely to keep his spot in the rotation, at least through next weekend in Philadelphia, after allowing three runs in five innings. Jordan Zimmermann will start for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, which would mean he could take Olsen's start the following Friday against the Cubs with an extra day's rest. But Olsen was solid enough through five innings on Tuesday, working quickly and keeping the ball down, that one bad inning isn't likely to cost him his spot, unless he falters against the Phillies this weekend.
it was a rare off night for the Nationals' bullpen, which gave up seven runs, four of them earned, in four innings. Doug Slaten allowed two hits and two walks, leaving without retiring a batter, though both of the errors came with Slaten on the mound. Craig Stammen also fared poorly, giving up two runs on five hits in two innings.
Livan Hernandez starts for the Nationals on Wednesday.