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"Livo made a statement"

Apr 11, 2010, 10:06 PM EDT

NEW YORK — After a week's worth of shaky starts, high pitch counts and early exits, an old friend stepped to the mound today at Citi Field and showed the rest of the Nationals' rotation how it's done.

Livan Hernandez, that crafty, big right-hander who once held the title of Nationals staff ace, put down the hammer today. He tossed seven innings of scoreless ball, needed only 88 pitches to do it and showed his teammates first-hand what it takes to win at the big-league level, leading Washington to a 5-2 victory over the Mets.

"That's what you're supposed to do, just what he did," manager Jim Riggleman said. "And I'm sure some of our guys took notice."

Riggleman can only hope the rest of his pitching staff was paying attention to the 35-year-old. Hernandez may not have better stuff than Garrett Mock, Jason Marquis, John Lannan and Craig Stammen, but the guy sure does understand how to pitch.

And as we've seen already in this young season, that counts just as much (if not more) than everything else.

As outfielder Willie Harris put it: "Livo made a statement."

And because of that statement, the Nationals left town this evening with a 3-3 record, a full game better than the Mets. What's the big deal about that? This represents the first time the Nats have been in sole possession of anything other than last place in the NL East sinceRead more ยป

  1. Mr. Doggett - Apr 11, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    you gotta love Livo.

  2. Richard - Apr 11, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    Nice article Mark. You do nice work. We need some heroics, and the "old Man" showed 'em how it's done! Sorry they decided on Olsen instead of Martin–can't figure why he's always their last option.Do you know why?

  3. ArlingtonBigFish - Apr 11, 2010 at 10:26 PM

    Watching Livo stroll from the mound after each inning is kind of like watching Clint Eastwood walk down the street. Says my teen-age daughter, who is rapidly becoming an incurable Nats fan, "He's Soooooooo Coooool!!"

  4. Positively Half St. - Apr 11, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    He is so cool. I have no great insights in baseball other than what any other lifelong fan has at 46, but I truly expected him to do well today. Livo is a first-half success, perhaps because nobody knows what to do with him so early. They are expecting pitchers to have the advantage on power early on, and are not at all ready for guile. I was going to argure about April 6, 2008, but then I remembered that they played the opening game on March 31 that year, didn't they? That would have given them time to go 3-0 before starting the 0-7 swoon that destroyed them.

  5. Wally - Apr 11, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    MarkThis is off Livo topic, but I saw this on MLBTradeRumors. Have you heard about this before? If true, puts another consideration on how long they leave him in the minors."Stephen Strasburg, who struck out eight over five innings of work in his pro debut today, will be limited to about 100 innings this year, according to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (via Twitter). Gammons says Scott Boras negotiated that condition into the righty's deal with the Nationals last summer."

  6. Knoxville Nat - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    Better relief pitching this year….thank you Mr. Rizzo.Better defense this year…..thank you Jim Riggleman.Bring on them Phillies, we owe them a couple!!

  7. Deez Nats - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Mark: According to Retrosheet, the Nationals were technically not in last place after close of play on April 8, 2008 (percentage points ahead of Mets). http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/2008/04082008.htm

  8. randomdude2228 - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    Mark: It's aid, not aide ;-) (an aide is a person… aid as in assistance is without the e)

  9. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    I saw one — just one — effective pitcher that week this spring: Livan. I'm sure others noticed this. [This was against the Yankees A-Team roster.] That's the good news. The bad news is that all this just underscores how weak this staff is.

  10. 1stBaseCoach - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:58 AM

    where are all the posters who howled months ago when the Nats re-upped on Livo?

  11. Kevin - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    Livo has always been a favorite of mine since the Nats came to town. His seven innings today did not disappoint me. I'll let him slide since it's early in the season, but it seemed weird to see him come out of the game only having thrown 88 pitches.

  12. Souldrummer - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    Livo got us Mock and Martis. Pitch well again this year, and you hope you can get him into a race with another one of his former teams like say the Giants or Marlins for some Aaron Thompson+ prospects. It can be the Livo reunion tour!

  13. Suicide Squeeze - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    I was only able to listen to the game on the radio, but when I heard that the benches had cleared, all I could think was:The Mets must HATE Willie Harris.(Sportscenter, though, gave Mr. Harris some "Met Killer" love with a highlight hat trick of Willie robberies.)

  14. Sec3MySofa - Apr 12, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    Always the consummate professional, Livo wouldn't show up even his soon-to-be-former teammates."I'll let him slide since it's early in the season, but it seemed weird to see him come out of the game only having thrown 88 pitches."

  15. Sec3MySofa - Apr 12, 2010 at 2:35 AM

    Point of information:Livo was traded to Arizona for Mock and Matt Chico; Mike Stanton to the Giants brought Martis.

  16. Souldrummer - Apr 12, 2010 at 5:37 AM

    Thanks Sec3MySofa. Livo gets even better. I think Chico is more likely to pan out this year than Martis. Martis just ain't got the stuff. He's like JV JD Martin for me.

  17. Tcostant - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    "Wally said… MarkThis is off Livo topic, but I saw this on MLBTradeRumors. Have you heard about this before? If true, puts another consideration on how long they leave him in the minors."Stephen Strasburg, who struck out eight over five innings of work in his pro debut today, will be limited to about 100 innings this year, according to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (via Twitter). Gammons says Scott Boras negotiated that condition into the righty's deal with the Nationals last summer."Me:Wally – I think it's a 100 pitches per start. No way the Nats would agree to hold Strasburg to 100 innings for the whole year. Expect about 140-150 innings because that is the "safe" progression from where he was last year.

  18. Diz - Apr 12, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    That was 100 innings at the major league level.

  19. Wally - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Here is an update, sounds like someone got it wrong. Also from MLBTraderumors. By the way, any update on Wang's rehab, Mark?Stephen Strasburg, who struck out eight over five innings of work in his pro debut today, will be limited to about 100 innings this year, according to MLB.com's Peter Gammons (via Twitter). Gammons says Scott Boras negotiated that condition into the righty's deal with the Nationals last summer. However, Nationals farm director Doug Harris told MASN.com's Ben Goessling that a 100 inning cap for Strasburg "doesn't hold water" (Twitter link). Harris says 150-160 innings would be reasonable for Strasburg (Twitter link).

  20. Anonymous8 - Apr 12, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Rumors, rumors, rumors. Gammons may get a little egg on his face on that one. 100 innings as a cap for MLB time or combined? My question of the day for Mark Z. is what has happened to Adam Dunn's power? We didn't see it all Spring Training and besides some majestic foul balls, no Homers yet.

  21. alm1000 - Apr 12, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Livo, Livo, Livo!Welcome back old friend.

  22. Bas - Apr 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    I'd also like to get an update on Wang.I thought he might pitch in May but now he's on the 60 day DL

  23. Anonymous - Apr 12, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    You gotta love Livo, the modern day Camilo Pasqual. This guy just knows the game and whatever rubs off of him onto others on that staff will be a blessing. JTinSC

  24. K.D. - Apr 12, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Thanks Mr. Z; For the great article on Livan. Nice to see someone over thirty get some love (especially since I am over 40-ish). Great writing, quite Mitch Album-ish.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 43 --
ATLANTA 54 46 2.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
NEW YORK 47 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 13.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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