Confidence Key To Bergmann's Recent Revival

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jason Bergmann last allowed a run on May 9, back when he was pitching for the Class AAA Columbus Clippers, and back before he'd transformed his reputation. Called back to the Washington Nationals on May 14, Bergmann has used three starts since -- including his outing yesterday -- to build a scoreless streak of 19 2/3 innings.

Since returning to the big leagues, Bergmann's equation has been simple. Whereas once-poor location negated his chief virtue (three above-average pitches), now strong command highlights it, especially a curveball that Bergmann is throwing with new confidence. Yesterday, in 5 2/3 innings, Bergmann struck out eight and allowed four hits.

Dmitri's Delayed Home Run

Two facades, separated by a three-foot alley, stand between the Red Porch seats in left-center field at Nationals Park and the playing field. And yesterday, that architectural quirk created a moment of both confusion and drama.

In the eighth inning, Dmitri Young smoked a ball that hit the deeper of those two walls and then bounced back onto the playing field. Young ended up at third and was still breathing hard when Acta walked onto the field, hopeful that umpires would rule Young's hit a home run. For 20 seconds, the four umpires huddled near the shortstop spot.

Acta thought the ball had hit either a fan or a railing abutting the deeper of the two walls; either way, he believed it was a home run.

Finally, home plate umpire Jerry Meals twirled his hand, signaling a home run, Young's first of the year.

Zimmerman Rests Shoulder

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman sat out yesterday's game to rest an injured left shoulder, and afterward, Zimmerman said he might require a few more days off if the soreness doesn't subside.

"There's no reason to push it now, [this being] May," Zimmerman said.

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