WASHINGTON -- Before Thursday's game against the Phillies, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said he wasn't happy that his staff walked 17 in the first two games of the season.
McCatty declined to give excuses as to why the staff hasn't been able to throw strikes, but it's obvious that the pitchers haven't been aggressive when facing Phillies hitters such as Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez, who had a combined 10 walks entering Thursday's action.
"We have to be more aggressive, pound the strike zone, and we haven't done it," McCatty said. "You can't sit there and say it's mechanical. We are playing a pretty tough team. There are a lot of times, the mental part of a pitcher is, 'These guys can hit.' They try to make too good of a pitch, you get behind in the count and you walk guys instead of saying, 'Here it is. I'm just going to make a good pitch and make them put the bat on the ball.'
"I don't know if the mental part has entered into it or not. It's not an excuse. We have to be better than that. We have to throw strikes and make them hit the ball."
McCatty talked to the staff before Thursday's game. Whatever he said, it worked as the Nationals walked only three in a 6-5 victory over the Phillies.