Patchwork Staff Finds Success

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 23, 2007

When Tim Redding was called up from Class AAA Columbus to make his first start for the Washington Nationals on July 3, there were few indications that he would succeed. He carried a 5.32 ERA for the Clippers, hadn't pitched in the majors since 2005, hadn't won a game since 2004.

But with 6 2/3 shutout innings in yesterday's 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies, Redding continued to fit right in with a cobbled-together pitching staff that somehow is holding the Nationals together. The starting rotation -- which now consists of Redding, Mike Bacsik, Matt Chico, Jason Bergmann and Billy Traber -- posted a 2.79 ERA on a 5-2 homestand.

"Real good job by our starters, especially," Manager Manny Acta said. "I think we're like triple the amount of shutouts we had last year, so it's a big accomplishment for [pitching coach] Randy [St. Claire] and our two catchers."

Coupled with another 3-0 victory Saturday, the Nationals had back-to-back shutouts for the first time since April 2-3, 2003, when the franchise was the Montreal Expos. Though Redding didn't get the win yesterday, he did lower his ERA to 2.92 in four starts.

"Just trusting myself," Redding said.

Shaky, Then Solid

Chris Booker's first major league appearance since last September started out poorly. With two on and two outs in the seventh inning of a scoreless game, the right-handed reliever fell behind pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs 3-0.

"When I first came out, it was kind of nerve-racking," he said. But he battled back, getting a 3-1 slider over for a called strike, then putting Spilborghs away with a forkball that Spilborghs swung through.

Young Set to Return

First baseman Dmitri Young (bruised heel) sat out of the starting lineup for the third straight day, though Acta said Young would almost certainly be ready to start tomorrow in Philadelphia.

Colome, Bowie Head South

Right-hander Jesus Colome and lefty Micah Bowie headed to Viera, Fla., where they will begin rehabilitation. Colome, who had surgery to relieve an infection on his right buttock, threw yesterday and said he needs to start running. Bowie, out with a hip problem, threw a bullpen session and has been doing agility drills.

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