MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Belisle's extended outing not lost on Baker

Nats' manager appreciates 3-inning stint amid tough stretch; righty to receive rest

Belisle's extended outing not lost on Baker

WASHINGTON -- After pitching three scoreless innings in an 8-1 loss to the Orioles on Tuesday night, Nationals reliever Matt Belisle was not expected to be available on Wednesday and possibly Thursday against the O's, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said on Wednesday.

It was the first time Belisle had pitched that many innings since Aug. 15, 2014, when he was with the Rockies. Belisle entered Tuesday's game with two outs in the bottom of the third inning in relief of starter Reynaldo Lopez and exited after allowing two singles in the sixth.

"[Belisle] gave us more innings than he has pitched at any given time," Baker said. "He wanted to go more innings, and I didn't let him. He saved my bullpen -- big time."

Belisle said the decision to remove him from the game was Baker's, but the veteran reliever wanted the team to know that if it needed him to eat innings, he would've been glad to do so because of the Nationals' 20-game stretch without an off-day.

"You bet -- as long as I could go, I wanted to keep eating up innings," Belisle said. "I tried to locate real well. The Orioles are ready to rip. [Camden Yards] is a great ballpark to do it in. I tried to locate the fastball after I got ahead in the count. I tried to move the ball around. I knew they would be aggressive, so I tried using that to my advantage."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.