The Washington Nationals are back over .500 and playing with confidence.
Coming off their first home win over Colorado since 2007, the Nationals look to continue their recent success Tuesday night against the visiting Rockies.
Washington (7-6) never spent a day over .500 in 2009, but it’s already done it twice through the first two weeks of this season. The Nationals snapped a nine-game home losing streak to Colorado with a 5-2 win Monday for their fourth win in five contests.
“Whether it’s a tangible thing or whether it’s subconscious or whatever,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “It’s got to seep in that we’re a legitimate major league ballclub.”
The Nationals, who didn’t win their eighth game of 2009 until May 5, have not had a winning record this far into the season since they were 81-80 on Oct. 1, 2005.
Some solid starting pitching also has helped the Nationals’ competitiveness in 2010. Washington is 7-0 when its starter pitches at least five innings, and 0-6 when he doesn’t.
After a strong eight innings from Craig Stammen(notes) on Monday, the Nationals hope veteran Scott Olsen(notes) can provide another solid effort from a starter in his second outing since being called up from Triple-A Syracuse.
Olsen (0-0, 6.35 ERA), who replaced Garrett Mock(notes) in the rotation, allowed four runs and walked three in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-5 loss at Philadelphia on Thursday. It was his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery in July.
Though the left-hander is 1-2 with a 8.39 ERA in five starts against Colorado (6-7), he’s facing a Rockies team that’s lost two in a row and four of five.
Todd Helton(notes) and Troy Tulowitzki(notes) each had two hits for the Rockies, who’ve managed 14 runs over their last five contests. Colorado will likely rely on more production from Helton, who’s batting .393 lifetime against the Nationals franchise.
After allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings in a win over San Diego on April 9, De La Rosa (1-1, 2.77) yielded five runs and five walks in six innings of a 5-0 loss to the Mets on Thursday.
The left-hander, however, has won his last two starts versus the Nationals to improve to 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA in four starts against them in his career.