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Olsen good, bullpen bad

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It’s time for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Nationals style…

THE GOOD: SCOTT OLSEN

The left-hander was outstanding in his return from the DL tonight. Seven innings, two runs, seven strikeouts, zero walks. And a fastball that regularly topped 90 mph.

“You couldn’t ask for anything better,” Manny Acta said.

What an encouraging performance for Olsen, who was downright awful before going on the DL in mid-May with shoudler tendinitis. The guy we saw tonight bore no resemblance to the guy who was 1-4 with a 7.24 ERA coming in.

The difference was his velocity. Thanks to some new strengthening exercises prescribed by the Nats’ training staff, Olsen has added several MPH to his fastball. The result is noticeable.

“I’m not Jamie Moyer,” he said. “I can’t really be hugely successful throwing 82-83 [mph]. I need to be up around 90 to have success. The exercises and the new routines that the training staff and the physical therapists have got me on here have paid dividends.”

THE BAD: THE BULLPEN

It’s been the story all year, and it was the story again tonight. Going into the bottom of the eighth, this was a 2-2 ballgame. Going out of the bottom of the eighth, it was a 4-2 Marlins lead.

For that, you could thank Ron Villone and Julian Tavarez. Combined, they allowed two doubles, two sacrifices and three walks (all by Tavarez, one intentional, one with the bases loaded).

One of the most discouraging developments of the last two weeks has been Villone’s huge drop-off. He had an 0.00 ERA in his first 19 appearances. But he’s now been scored upon in six of his last 10 outings, and has taken the loss in five of those games.

“It’s a game of inches,” the veteran lefty said. “I missed by several inches a couple times, and I missed by several feet a couple times. There’s no excuse for it.”

THE UGLY: NATS VS. MARLINS

Florida’s dominance over Washington continues, and the numbers are astounding…

The Nats are 0-7 against the Marlins this year.

They’ve lost eight straight to their division rivals.

Over the last two seasons, they are 3-21 against Florida. Just staggering.

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Mark Zuckerman

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