- The Washington Times - Friday, April 20, 2007

Right-hander Jason Bergmann has half the quality starts by Washington Nationals pitchers this season, twice allowing three earned runs or less over six-plus innings.

But he has only a loss to show for his efforts.

Bergmann is without a win in his 10 career starts, but he probably should be 2-1 already this season.

“The team got the win against [John] Smoltz in Atlanta and got a win yesterday, and the team ‘W’ is all we care about here,” Bergmann said.

Bergmann’s strong 61/3-inning performance Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Phillies was overshadowed by the 13-inning marathon in which Chad Cordero blew a save in the ninth and allowed the Phillies to tie the score, only to have Felipe Lopez’s sacrifice fly to left field win it for the Nationals four innings later.

Bergmann struggled badly in his season debut April 5 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, tossing 91 pitches in just 32/3 innings and walking six. He has performed better since and has struck out a team-high 15 batters in 16 innings. He is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA as the club’s fifth starter.

“He’s trusting himself and also trusting the game plan and [Brian] Schneider and working fast,” manager Manny Acta said. “He’s pounding the strike zone. That will tell him when he throws the ball around the zone, he’s a tough guy to hit.”

The call to Colome

Reliever Jesus Colome has turned into quite the workhorse out of the bullpen. Colome, who is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA, has pitched scoreless relief in eight of his team-high nine appearances.

The Dominican right-hander leads the club’s relievers with 12 innings, and he is riding a scoreless streak of six consecutive innings.

Earlier in his career, Colome’s fastball was clocked at above 100 mph on numerous occasions. Colome has learned he doesn’t need to throw hard to get batters out.

“I think now I’ve got different stuff that I’m throwing,” Colome said. “The last couple years I used a lot of fastball, fastball, fastball. Now, I use a changeup and slider in different counts, and I’m not afraid to use my slider and changeup.”

Logan, Guzman staying south

Injured outfielder Nook Logan (foot) and shortstop Cristian Guzman (hamstring) will accompany the club on this weekend’s three-game road series against the Florida Marlins, then remain in Florida and rehab at the Nationals’ extended spring training camp in Viera.

“I’m going to stay there until I’m ready to play,” Logan said. “I don’t want to come in and have any setbacks and all that. When I get back on the field, I want to make sure I’m ready to play.”

Both Logan and Guzman were injured Opening Day and placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day.

Sign of the times

Even chilly RFK Stadium was a hot seat for embattled Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. In the third inning, two Phillies fans unfurled a banner in the upper deck in center field with a message for general manager Pat Gillick: “Hey Pat, fire Charlie and save our team.”

Want more Nats? Check out Nats Home Plate.

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