Last night was a night of comebacks in a few ways. Well, the Nats didn’t quite come back, they were never trailing in the game. But they were certainly reeling, after watching their starting pitcher have a no-no broken up to see a seemingly comfortable lead disappear. They didn’t look good in the bottom of the 8th, and then Tyler Clippard looked pretty rough in the 9th. But he was able to get out of it, and the Nats came through in the bottom of the 9th in a few ways.
Scott Olsen’s Comeback
Scott Olsen hasn’t pitched well in, oh, a year or so. But the last three games, he has shown ace type stuff. He had three pitches working last night, and he was dealing. The no hitter would have been nice, but 7 1/3 IP with 8 K and only 1BB and 1 ER is another great performance by him. The first could have been flukey, the second was encouraging. But now, after three really impressive starts, where he has been making hitters swing and miss, where he isn’t just getting lucky, he’s getting outs, you have to start to wonder if maybe Olsen is making a comeback.
Willie Harris’ Comeback
Willie Harris has been just plain bad this year. Despite hitting every time he’s had a chance in the past with the Nats, this year he was down to .158/.298/.395 as of May 1. But his last few games have given him three hits, including the game winner. If you had looking at what he’s done in 2010 so far, you might not have alot of confidence that he could hit the game winner last night. But Riggleman had faith, and he put Harris in as a pinch hitter. One game winning RBI later, you wonder if this is the kind of hit that pulls him out of his funk.
Ryan Zimmerman’s Comeback
Ryan Zimmerman had a rough night before the 9th inning. Two throwing errors, both of them were ridiculously off throws to second, and in both cases, he maybe should have just taken the safe out at first. The first one allowed the Braves to get first and second with only one out in the 7th, and they soon scored after that. Well, if you read the writeup of the game, you’ll see Olsen’s flirting with history. You’ll see Harris’ hit. But what you may or may not see, is how Zimmerman won this game. After Kennedy walked, Zim came up and hit a bomb that bounced off the RF wall. According to fangraphs, that play had the highest Leverage Index of any play in the game when the Nats were batting. At the point, the game was almost over. Zimmerman had a chance to come back, to redeem himself, and he did it.
When it’s all said and done, Zimmerman was bound to come back. Maybe not last night, and maybe not making up for those errors, but he’ll have many more days in the sun. Nothing was guaranteed for Scott Olsen and Willie Harris, though. In the next few weeks, we’ll get a chance to see if these were true comebacks, or just a couple of nice moments buried among many more bad ones.