Washington Nationals' 3rd Base Coach Pat Listach was on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio's Power Alley with Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy this afternoon to discuss the Nats' surprising start to the 2010 campaign which continues tonight when they travel to Wrigley Field in Chicago to take on the Cubs in the first of three in the so-called Windy City. Hired by the Nationals in 2008, Listach stayed in DC after Manny Acta left and was replaced by Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman. Here's some of what the former Brewers' and Astros IF/OF had to say about what's happening in the nation's capital:
• Pat Listach on the Nats shutting down the Dodgers' hitters: "[Nats' Pitching Coach] Steve McCatty works hard with Pudge [Rodriguez] and Wil Nieves and getting a game plan on these guys on these guys and then executing. You execute and attack their weaknesses...(inaudible)...when the pitchers are going good we get outs. And the defense is solid. We've been making really good plays, and making the routine plays, and not making boneheaded plays, and we came in and did a very nice job against a very potent offense, they were leading the league in hitting, we knew that coming in, we kept the ball in the yard against them with the exception of Casey Blake, who had a two-HR game a couple of days ago, but for the most part we kept Matt Kemp to three singles, Russell Martin had a game-winning hit in the one game, but for the most part they didn't hit the ball out of the ballpark and didn't hit doubles in the gap and we got our groundouts and turned our double plays. And like I said, the pitching was good and the defense was good and kept us in some games, and we got some big hits. So, we're playing good baseball, we just need to keep it going. It's still early, it's still April, but we've got a good thing going right now and we've gotta stay with it. The guys are very happy about the way they're playing, and they've really come together as a team and it's fun to be around right now..."
Q: The clubhouse chemistry has changed since last year guys are having fun, explain?:
Pat Listach: "Well any time you lose 100 games you're not going to have fun, and last year wasn't a lot of fun. We're winning some games now, but I think the guys know they can win and the bullpen has been outstanding. Matt Capps has been lights out in his save opportunities, and the guys are having fun, they're joking around in the clubhouse, but it's easy to have fun when you're winning so we just have keep winning and keep having fun."
• Matt Capps? Lights out? He's getting it done, but he still makes me nervous, and as several people in the comments here yesterday mentioned, minus a few great catchers, Capps might have blown a couple of his 8 saves so far.
• Clubhouse chemistry again, huh?
• I tuned in late, and only hear the end of the interview, wonder if he was asked about runners on third having issues as they did this past weekend...And I wonder if he was telling Nyjer Morgan to hold up around second on the play were Craig Stammen failed to cross the plate on a Morgan double that he attempted to stretch into a triple.