LOS ANGELES -- Nationals left-hander Scott Olsen was a member of the 2006 Marlins. That year, Florida started the season 11-31. By early September, the Marlins surprised the baseball world by becoming Wild Card contenders, but they faded and ended the season with a respectable 78-84 record.
Olsen said that particular team was able to make its comeback because the players on the roster had the fire to compete and were sick of hearing how they were going to lose 100 games.
"In 2006, it got to the point where we took it personally that everybody wrote us off," Olsen said. "We had a certain fire and drive from within that we feed off of. A lot of it has to do with the type of guys we had there. We had a lot of rookies who had something to prove. We had nothing else to lose."
Olsen is hoping the 2009 Nationals can make a similar comeback like the '06 Marlins, but he thinks his current team needs to get some fire and some breaks. It didn't help that the Nationals played the first month of the season against National League East opponents. Entering Thursday's action, the Nationals were 7-18.
"I don't know if we have the same type of guys [as the Marlins had]," Olsen said. "We have the talent. We have more talent on this team than the '06 Marlins, but I don't know if the type of guys are the same. I don't see a lot of fire, but the talent is there. There has to be something else besides talent to take you to the next step.
"Everything has gone wrong. When the starting pitcher pitches well, it seems like the bullpen doesn't pitch well. When the starter is terrible, the bullpen will pitch real well. ... It's like we haven't had a stretch of time where everything has worked. Until that happens, it's going to be real hard to say what the possibilities are. That's pretty much I can go with that. But it definitely has to change. The atmosphere and culture around here -- something has to change."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.