Tag Archives: Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg was the #1 pick of the 2009 MLB draft. He debuted for the Washington Nationals on June 8, 2010 before a sold-out crowd and set the team’s strikeout record. Later in 2010, he needed Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound in September 2011.

nats-onesies

Nats: MASN, Werth, Harper, the dearly departed centerfield bat

No, I don’t blog much about the Washington Nationals anymore. I will let you figure out why.

When I last checked in on the MASN dispute, I noted that “I am uncharacteristically happy about this news, I’m so used to it being bad for the Nats. However, it could still blow up because Selig’s track record is coddling Angelos and to a lesser extent the Orioles.”

According to the most recent report from The Post the Orioles owe Nationals $55 million-$60 million in fees from MASN, MLB panel ruled. The Nats “big victory” over the forces of evil was about half of what they had sought out, so the of course Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles are still refusing to pay up, hence the dispute. In the end this whole saga will probably end with a whimper and not a bang. The hopes of the Nats being released from the corrupt bargain of outgoing MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s coddling of his friend Angelos seems to be a false one, a figurative towering fly ball caught just before the warning track.

By the way, since the Nats and Orioles are entitled to the same amount of money, Angelos want to keep it low so he can pocket more for himself. He’s even hurting the Orioles with this bargain. Also, the MASN camp is leaking more stuff to DC media. The Nats tend to keep tight-lipped which is letting others set the agenda.

Over at The Fingerman, Eric Fingerhut wonders why The Post, the most serious outlet left (cough, The Wash. Times, CSN) hasn’t dedicated more resources to this issue. I wonder too, particularly in light of some topics that are covered ad nausem. Not enough interest? Fear of offending Baltimore fan? Lack of interest in Nats fans? Are they Orioles fans themselves? It’s no secret that several people in the DC sports MCM are Baltimore fanboys. It isn’t even necessarily that they are covering for their favorite baseball team, just that they don’t recognize the problems that were foisted upon Nats fans by the cowardice and villainy of Angelos and the Orioles with Bud Selig’s support.

The biggest winner of course in all of this is probably Ted Leonsis whose Capitals and Wizards won’t be on CSN Mid-Atlantic forever. Without his teams, there is little point to having CSN Mid-Atlantic, so that channel’s willingness to make a sweet offer is high. MASN may also want to get Leonsis on board too as it could crush CSN Mid-Atlantic and monopolize all . For all of Leonsis talk of Monumental Network, getting a favorable deal with an existing RSN may be his ultimate goal.


Elsewhere in the world of Nats baseball, Jayson Werth was driving way too fast and is a danger to himself and others. We know this because natsenquirer.com scooped everybody else on it. It seems like the next story the MSM breaks on the Nats will be the first.


Matt Williams hasn’t upset me lately with a acute bad decision, but batting Bryce Harper sixth remains to be baffling. Speaking of Harper, good job by DC Sports Bog pointing out that the Braves reaction to walking through a letter in the dirt is…hypocritical. Oh and because it was awesome and I don’t tire of it, here’s Harper’s walkoff last week:

Oh and former Montreal writer — he’s not a bust, he’s recovering from thumb surgery.


Michael Taylor’s debut was what’s wonderful about baseball. Maybe the Nats will be okay when Werth is suspended for few games next year for reckless driving.


Theory on Stephen Strasburg: he felt he was getting squeezed on the strikezone by the umps, so he starting throwing his fastball over the plate more. Decreased velocity made it more hittable.


miss you bat

The windows-less building behind centerfield that was torn down had few months of glory, specifically, the mural of a bat. It’s going if not gone by now

The mural made the backdrop of Nationals Park much more interesting and let’s face it, a good backdrop is 50% of what makes a ballpark.

More later, maybe even a Nats vs. Pirates Q&A.

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Opening Day

Happy Opening Day 2014!

Congratulations everyone, we made it! Opening Day is finally here and the Washington Nationals begin their 10th 21st century season at 1:10 in the borough of Queens as they face the New York Mets. Stephen Strasbug gets his third consecutive Opening Day start for DC (The Post), while Nats killer Dillon Gee starts (ESPN) for the Flushing Nine.

Strasburg is the only Nats starter to win an Opening Day game which was last year against the Miami Marlins. Given that fact, the Nats Opening Day record isn’t spectacular, going 3-8 since 2005. They have won their last two though. The Mets boast the best Opening Day record in all of baseball The Times, an impressive feat given their 0-8 start in their early years. They actually won a World Series before they won on Opening Day.

READ MORE: 2014 Nats vs. Mets Q&A with Eric McErlain

The game should be in our nation’s capital, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig is more worried about coddling his friend Peter Angelos than respecting long-standing traditions.

Okay, enough commentary, let’s focus on the joy that is this national holiday. Sadly, I have to work but I plan to take a late lunch and watch the first part of the game at a pub, then switch to over to the sweet sounds of Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler.

PREVIEWS

My take — the Nats will win the NL East again.

The Post

The Wash. Times has PDFs for much of their Opening Day coverage. Really. I’m no even going to link to that on account of it being 2014.

CSN Washington doesn’t have a specific section, so here’s their whole coverage.

Okay, time to put up the flag — the rain/sleet/snow over the weekend kept from doing that or putting up the bunting earlier. Have a great Opening Day!

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nationalsparkpressbox

I remembered to submit my DC-IBWA 2014 Nats predictions

Every year, the DC Internet Baseball Writers Association sends out questionaires for the Natmosphere about the state of the Washington Nationals. Some years I get to them, some years I don’t. This year, I got to it. Fire away:

1) Who will lead the Nats in home runs in 2014? – Bryce Harper
2) Who will lead the Nats in RBI? – Bryce Harper
3) Who will lead the Nats in stolen bases? – Denard Span
4) Who will lead the staff in wins? – Stephen Strasburg
5) How many games will Ryan Zimmerman play first base? – 11
6) Who starts more games: Ross Detwiler, Taylor Jordan, Tanner Roark, Ross Ohlendorf? – Taylor Roark
7) Who will get more at bats for the Nats this season: Danny Espinosa or Jamey Carroll? – Danny Espinosa
8) Which minor leaguer are you most interested in keeping tabs on this season? – Lucas Giolito
9) Who will reach majors first: Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole, Lucas Giolito or Matt Purke? – Matt Purke
10) How many all-stars will the Nats have? Who? – 3 – Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Wilson Ramos
11) Total wins and what place in the division? 92, 1st

Essay: What should be the single most important development for the Nats this season?

The Nationals single biggest development should be playing smarter. The talent is there, as we saw in 2012, but last season they had a tendency towards defensive lapses that extended innings and wore down pitchers. Another part of playing smarter is not playing with serious injuries. Harper played hurt for the bulk of the season and Espinosa played his way out of the majors. In the outfield at least, an improved bench should make it easier for manager Matt Williams to give Jayson Werth, Span and Harper some days off with Nate McLouth as the fourth outfielder, so nagging injuries may bee mitigated somewhat. In the infield, Espinosa is a big question mark as the utility man coming off of injuries to both arms.

Strasburg also faces a big year at the top of the rotation after an “off” year in 2013. A recent Post article suggests he had an epiphany about his approach. Strasburg has always come off as intelligent, but very sensitive at the same time. If he has overcome his perfectionist tendencies and self-flagellation, he could dominate with more regularity. Simply put, a focused Strasburg, more comfortable with being an ace and all that entails could be devastating to NL hitters.

Lastly, I believe that Williams approach to defense and hiring of a “defensive coordinator” could help address defensive lapses. Not necessarily because shifts in and of themselves can anticipate where batted balls are going, but also keeping the fielders a little more focused. The question will be whether this will help overcome the learning curve that Williams will face as a rookie manager. Thus far, the tone he is setting for the team is refreshing after Davey Johnson’s casual approach in 2013.

I’ll be surprised if the Nats win 98 games like they did in 2012 — I think that was the peak year in the regular season at least, but I don’t see the Braves winning 96 again either. I believe the Braves will challenge to for the NL East title and probably make the play-in game. After that, it’s all about matchups in the playoffs, so, who knows?

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Nats show that lost seasons still have great memories

Not every baseball season is great, but greatness appears in every baseball season.

Following a sweep by the NL East division leading Atlanta Braves, the Washington Nationals could no longer deny that the 2013 season had gotten away from them. Nonetheless, this weekend’s series with the Philadelphia Phillies showed that even in underachieving seasons, there are joyful times. For the first time in a long-time, the Nats were exciting and seemed to be having a good time.

SUNDAY

WASHINGTON 6 Philadelphia 0

Stephen Strasburg has been having an “off year” going into Sunday’s game with a 3.01 ERA and a 5-9 record more indicative of his run support than his performance. That being said, it was not as dominant as his first seasons. Sunday evening, he had one of his finest performances and his first complete game and shutout.

Strasburg threw 99 pitches for 10 strikeouts was his first “Maddux” – a complete game shutout with less than 100 pitches. He pitched with a groin bothering him:

Head trainer Lee Kuntz and pitching coach Steve McCatty emerged from the dugout and walked to the mound with Johnson close behind. Strasburg told Johnson his groin didn’t affect him when he flew open during his delivery. He remained in the game. And after walking Brown, he pitched as if nothing at all had bothered him.

The groin tweak “just helped me kind of take a step back and just go nice and easy and stay on line as long as I can,” Strasburg said

Nationals vs. Phillies: Stephen Strasburg throws first complete game as Washington completes sweepThe Post.

Did he just learn something yesterday?

SATURDAY

WASHINGTON 8 Philadelphia 5

Tanner Roark, acquired for Cristian Guzman in 2010 won his first game with a 2 inning, 12 pitch performance in relief.

Jayson Werth was the bigger story though, with a 3-hit performance — hits 998, 999 and 1,000th a home run to take a lead the Nats would not relinquish.

FRIDAY

WASHINGTON 9 Philadelphia 2

Friday night’s game was a laugher with Dan Haren continuing his second half resurgence, going 7 innings and only giving up 2 runs for the third consecutive start.

Hard Times Cafe is on the hook for free wings (with an additional purchase) for each game of the series since the Nats scored 6 or more runs. In theory, they’ve stockpiled them and are pretty happy to clean out some inventory.

I don’t know what the rest of the week, season and such holds for the 2013 Nats, but I know how much I enjoyed this weekend’s series. I also know that I get to enjoy for an extra day — no Monday game.

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Will we still be happy that the All-Star Break is over during/after Nats game tonight?

A co-worker asked me this morning about the Washington Nationals. He’s a casual fan going to the Sunday game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom he expected to be a better opponent. I suggested that the Dodgers were better than their record now that Yasiel Puig was on the team. I also suggested that the Nats were less than the sum of their parts thus far this season. The lineup, incomplete for so long, is finally healthy so perhaps the players can start hitting around their statistical norms. Even Bryce Harper is slumping a little bit, but who knows, maybe finishing 2nd in the Home Run Derby will get him going. The lack of situational hitting is the biggest problem, a relapse to the 2005-2011 Nats that seemed to lead the NL in runners left on base annually. Well, maybe not in 2008 and 2009.

We are also really overdue for a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off.

On the pitching front, Stephen Strasburg is having an “off year” while sporting an ERA of 2.99. Gio Gonzalez has settled into a groove after a mediocre start while Jordan Zimmermann is an All-Star (and rural American!) who hasn’t been quite as good of late, but clearly the leader on the staff. The backend hasn’t been good with Ross Detwiler on the DL twice and having trouble getting through the order a third time. Dan Haren, on the other hand, has had trouble getting through the order once, though has shown signs of improvement.

The Nats are six games back of the Atlanta Braves and catching them over the next 67 games is certainly possible, some even say probable. But it probably won’t happen all at once if it does — read Nats Pennant Push for more as you watch games while breathing into a paper bab. and September scheduling favors the Braves.

They can win the NL East, but it will likely be a slog. I thought that some of the preseason predictions of greater than 98 wins was wishful thinking, but 48-47 at the break was not something I anticipated. On Opening Day, I predicted 94 wins and I think that’s optimistic at this point.

Of course, if the Nats just wear their red caps and the Braves don’t wear their alternate jerseys, it’ll all work out!

MSM PREVIEWS

Washington Nationals have their work cut out for themThe Post

Washington Nationals storylines to watch in second halfThe Wash. Times

2nd half storylinesCSN Washington

FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS

They found a few!

It starts up again at 7:05 tonight — 11 game homestand. Time to get going.

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Let’s interupt this Harper coverage (that’s missing the point) to remind you Strasburg is pitching in his hometown tonight

Lost in all the coverage of Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper running into a wall (still a bad route from an inexperience outfielder everybody!) and getting his beard knocked off to remind you that Stephen Strasburg makes his hometown San Diego MLB debut. The Union-Tribune has a story about how he evolved from a lazy, fat kid into a disciplined gym rat: He wasn’t always THIS Stephen Strasburg.

2013 is supposed to be the first full season of Strasburg in the majors after his rookie year, Tommy John surgery and last year’s much discussed shutdown. It hasn’t gone well for him at all – he’s 1-5, despite a respectable 3.10 and averaging over a strike out an inning. He’s had trouble getting out of the first inning cleanly and has collapsed under the weight of defensive errors behind him, last Saturday evening’s 5th inning as the prime example. Eight of his 25 runs allowed have been unearned. Strasburg has looked dominate at times (like the first four innings on Saturday) but the root problem is that he’s regressed emotionally. It seemed last year whenever some misfortune would come the Nats way, he’d get extremely focused and strike hitters out in bunches. He hasn’t been able to flip the switch this year.

Tonight’s game against the Padres presents an interesting challenge for Strasburg. It will be his first start in his hometown since entering the majors. Given his tendency to have rough first innings, how he handles all of this will be quite interesting and I’m surprised there is not much attention out of DC media. Maybe it is just because they are on West Coast time, but perhaps it works out for the best for Strarsburg. While Harper enjoys being the center of attention, Strasburg resents it, perhaps so much that the shutdown and being a #1 pick has hurt his game.

I don’t know if it will be tonight or later in the season, but I think Strasburg figures it out and returns to dominance. It is better for him and the Nats that he get this out of his way in the first half of the season and gets ready for the stretch run. Even with all the misfortune the Nats are dealing with — injuries, some bad series and bad luck, the Nats are still a mere game out of first place. The schedule eases up soon too, so without the emotion tied to all of this, the Nats are doing fine. It may not always feel like it though.

By the way, the Nats lost last night, the second in a row, costing them the series with Los Angeles Dodgers: Zack Greinke latest Dodgers pitcher to quiet Nationals bats in 3-1 loss at Los Angeles (The Post). Wilson Ramos is hurt again too. Remember when the Nats had a surplus of catchers? Ross Dewiler may miss a start or two as well. Remember when the Nats had a surplus of pitchers?

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Where is Miguel Batista? Strasburg has forearm tightness, Nats can’t capitalize early, fall to Braves

Uh oh.

Washington Nationals superstar Stephen Strasburg has forearm tightness (The Post) which explains why he was wild at times last night against the Atlanta Braves. He kept walking the first batter of the inning — two of them scored over six innings of work. #37 struck out the side in the sixth though. Still, Natstown is on edge yet again as another loss (Tyler Clippard gets pegged with it after allowing a run in the 7th – leadoff batter again) and Strasburg being potentially hurt.

Is Miguel Batista available? Can he recapture his Miss Iowa magic? His spot start for Strasburg in 2010 was one of that season’s highlights. Apparently, he’s in the Toronto Blue Jays system with the Buffalo Bisons.

We probably won’t know for a few days whether Strasburg will miss a start – he insists he won’t. Could a Chris Young call up for Saturday’s game in Pittsburgh be on the way? Or will we see Zach Duke get the ball against the Pirates, his old team.

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Lost weekend for Nats as Braves sweep them

Oh man, tough, tough weekend for the Washington Nationals. They got swept by the Atlanta Braves, who are off to a very strong start and already hold a 4 game lead in the division. It is a long season. Especially when you are reminded more of 2008 than 2012. It isn’t time to panic, but the team has some stuff to work through. Also, Danny Espinosa needs to shut up (Hardball Talk). So does Stephen Strasburg. If your team gets swept, you aren’t the better team. It has been proven. Now go, get better (The Post) and return the favor at the end of the month and be the better team again.

Also, can you imagine if Bryce Harper had said what Espinosa said?

The heartbreak of the series though – Wilson Ramos is on the DL with a bad hamstring. Kurt Suzuki will get the bulk of the catching responsibilities for at least 15 days with Jhonatan Solano who had to wait 20 minutes due to the “rule prohibiting teams from having more than 25 active players in the clubhouse at once.” Just what a guy who woke up at 4 a.m. and flew in from Syracuse needs. Hey, I work up at 4 a.m. today! I wasn’t in Syracuse though.

FRIDAY

Stopper Ross Detwiler was done in by the bullpen again. Detwiler left after 7 innings with a 4-1 lead. He’s been the best D.C. starter thus far out of the 5th spot in the rotation. Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Craig Stammen blew it, as did Ryan Zimmerman, who made a critical throwing error in the ninth while playing in his 1000th game.

SATURDAY

Another Zimmerman error proves to be the difference as the third baseman extends the inning for the Braves, who capitalized with a Evan Gattis homer. Strasburg was okay, striking out seven and giving up no earned runs.

SUNDAY

Gio Gonzalez, fresh off of his visit to see D.C. United (2-0 loss to Red Bull NY) stunk up the joint, giving up 7 earned runs.

Now, the Nats get a little of what they need — a series with the Marlins. They probably don’t need a trip to Miami though, I’d be happier if they were going some place less exciting.

140 CHARACTERS OR LESS

IN SCORES OF OTHER GAMES

The Nats bullpen nearly did in the Caps, who also had a big lead on Saturday night.

Also, the New York Yankees triple play on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles was sweet. More like OrioLOLes, amirite?

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