Apr 24, 2010, 3:41 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Luis Atilano couldn't have scripted a better big-league debut.
Luis Atilano was 6 the first time Ivan Rodriguez squatted behind the plate in a big-league game. It would be a few more years before Atilano became a Pudge fan, but like every other kid growing up in Puerto Rico, it was bound to happen.
Flash-forward 19 years and 1,500 miles north, where on a gorgeous April evening in the District, Atilano made his major-league debut with none other than Rodriguez as his batterymate. That the right-hander, stuck in the minor leagues for the last seven years, tossed six innings of one-run ball to lead the Nationals to a 5-1 victory over the Dodgers only added to the moment.
"It's crazy. It's been my dreams," Atilano said. "After seven years, I made it finally. I pitched to Pudge Rodriguez, hopefully a Hall of Famer. I can't ask for nothing better than that."
The Nats couldn't have asked for anything better out of a rookie pitcher making his debut against the majors' best-hitting club. Even without Manny Ramirez — who was placed on the DL today with a strained calf — the Dodgers boasted a formidable lineup that has averaged more than six runs per game this season.
So when Atilano carved this way through Los Angeles' batters with ease, scattering five hits over six innings, it felt like a shot in the arm for a Nationals team desperately seeking some consistency fromRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Gonzalez sees progress in latest start for Nats
- Nationals lament close call in loss to Phillies
- Nats struggle early, lose in controversial fashion to Phillies
- LaRoche gets rare night off with tight back
- Gonzalez faces Hamels in showdown of southpaws
- Nats' Triple-A affiliate Syracuse raking in postseason awards
- A primer on postseason roster eligibility rules
- Around the NL East: Stanton making strong push for NL MVP
- Nationals can't pull off dramatic rally this time
- Nats' momentum stalls vs. Phillies in first game of long road trip