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Stammen’s inner Livan

Apr 20, 2010, 3:30 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Craig Stammen churned out eight strong innings to lead the Nats to victory.

Craig Stammen says his right arm has never felt this good. It certainly didn't feel this good last year when he tried to pitch with bone chips in his elbow that didn't allow him to throw a curveball without wincing pain.

But perhaps Stammen actually feels too good. Able to throw free and easy for the first time as a big leaguer, he's been tempted at times to try to cut loose and overpower opposing hitters.

Just one problem: Stammen is not a power pitcher. Never has been. Never will be. He actually loses effectiveness when trying to throw too hard, something he did five nights ago in Philadelphia during a wretched, 1 1/3-inning start against the Phillies.

So when he returned to the mound tonight against the Rockies, the 26-year-old made a conscious effort to ease off the gas pedal a bit. Don't try to throw 94 mph when 90 is good enough.

"When you're young, you learn real quick that 100 percent isn't always the best," he said. "I kind of got into a mode where my arm was feeling so good, I was letting 'er fly. And that felt good. But I wasn't getting any results."

Stammen got the results he and the Nationals wanted tonight. With eight superb innings of two-run ball, he rediscovered his top form and led Washington to a thoroughly satisfying 5-2 victory over Colorado.Read more ยป

  1. meixler - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:00 AM

    For those who haven't seen the New Yorker article in which Mr. Zuckerman plays a prominent role (and thanks to someone else in the previous game thread to tipping me off that it could be floating out there in cyber space): http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/04/12/100412fa_fact_mcgrath?currentPage=all

  2. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    great article in the NYer…hope it seriously spikes your donations!

  3. Gus - Apr 20, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    Mark, any update on Wang, Detwiler and JZ? Damn, this team might actually be ok sooner than we thought. Get Dunn swinging the bat, and some sort of offense from RF (MENCH is so hot right now), and who knows, we might beat the Mets.

  4. natsfan1a - Apr 20, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    Loved the piece, thanks. You go, Livo, and nice work, Stammen!Thanks to meixler for the link to the New Yorker story. Congrats on the publicity, Mark. I would, however, opine to Mr. MrGrath that Mrs. Z. does a fine job with photos of game action. I believe that the lady has her head in the game, thank you very much. :-)

  5. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM

    all this talk about a good vibe, good chemistry in the clubhouse…this is why Dukes is sitting at home.

  6. K.D. - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Great Post.

  7. Janner33 - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Does anyone know what was going on in I think the end of the 4th or 5th inning when Pudge seemed to be pretending that the ball got by him? Then he just fired it to first. Was busy doing something at the time, had the TV on mute, and couldn't hear what the commentators were saying!

  8. natsfan1a - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Oh, and my fave part of the New Yorker piece was probably JR's address to the media. :-)Janner33, I believe that Pudge didn't realize the ball was in his glove the whole time. Bob also referenced the time that Zimm lost the baseball in his jersey (which I'd been telling my husband about just moments before).

  9. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    Is anyone else thinking we should flip Dunn and Zimmerman in the order?

  10. Kyle - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    I have read your blog everyday since that article was published, very good publicity.

  11. Ed - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    Livo was the first guy to get to Stammen after the last out for a well deserved high five. Nice to see that kind of thing.

  12. Hendo - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:16 PM

    Well done, Mr. Zuckerman.(And a Memo to Other Writers Some of Whom May Now Be Working the Asia Desk for a Major Washington Newspaper: If you don't want your food-critic ambitions to be splashed across the pages of the New Yorker, keep them to yourself.)

  13. Janner33 - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    @natsfan1a – Thanks for the explanation. And here i was thinking Pudge the wily vet had a trick up his sleeve :)

  14. natsfan1a - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    I noticed that, too, Ed. Looked like Livo said something to him then as well.

  15. natsfan1a - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    Good one, Janner. "Watch me pull a rabbit out of this hat."

  16. Andrew - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Mark Zuckerman said…In the process, Stammen extended a trend that has come to define the 2010 Nationals. When their starting pitcher goes at least five innings, they're now 7-0. When the starter fails to go five, they're 0-6.________________________________Thanks for pointing stat out.I also like the points by Gus above. I just can't imagine what this offense can be when Adam Bomb gets going!

  17. Doc - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Do you think that Livo has time to also be the pitching coach????

  18. Steve M. - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Gus said… Mark, any update on Wang, Detwiler and JZ?ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZYes, we certainly need an update on these 3. Where are they all at physically and geographically also. Thanks much!

  19. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    great stuff…quick question: are there "nats insider" t-shirts? might be a good way to support the site. sorry if this has already been proposed.

  20. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    OK, the much-anticipated injury updates…Wang has been throwing off a mound in Viera. Next step is throwing live BP. Then he'll go on a rehab assignment. Target date to return is early-to-mid-June.Detwiler is on a similar timeframe. His rehab assignment will come sometime in mid-to-late May.Zimmermann has a longer way to go, but that's been expected all along. The Nats are still targeting August-September for his return from Tommy John surgery.It should be pointed out once again that all three players (along with Jesus Flores) are on the 60-day DL. So they are ineligible to return before June 3. Not that it appears any of them will be ready prior to that.

  21. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Anon: The T-shirt idea has been brought up by my marketing staff. Would people actually be interested in purchasing such an item?

  22. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    ***crickets sound***

  23. Anonymous - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    i would buy one either way, but my thought is that if you had a good slogan you would see pretty good sales. i propose a slogan contest: winner gets a free t-shirt. am i overthinking this?

  24. natsfan1a - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    I don't know that I'd be likely to wear one (I tend to stick with Nats wear for games). I'd be more likely to use a coffee mug or some such. But that would only advertise the site to my husband and house guests, I suppose. I do like the slogan contest idea. In other news, I found the Livo-Elvis scoop on Debbi Taylor's MASN blog (see below). I *thought* that might be the case. I love Livo, but he doesn't have the smallest head around. :-)"On Friday, Josh Willingham sported the silver Elvis hairdo, but on Sunday, Livan Hernandez had the wig hanging in his locker because he told me it didn't fit!"

  25. Sunderland - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Marketing staff?You mean Mrs. Z I presume.T-shirt with slogan?Not likely.Then again, over a 2 week period in 1978, there were about 100,000 "It ain't over till the fat lady sings" t-shirts sold.Ah, Les Boulez.Don't let me discourage you.Get a logo / slogan / whatever, log in to cafepress.com and you can set up you online shop with coffee mugs, boxer shorts, coozies, anything you want.

  26. NatsNut - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    The slogan thing was done to death over at Nationals Journal back in the day (2007?), with some pretty hilarious slogans but no T-shirts.Yes, I'd buy a t-shirt if it was cool looking. Put the year on it and you can change the slogan every year.

  27. Wigi - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    The tee shirt should say "Nats Insider" but printed on the insise od the shirt, so you'd wear it inside-out.

  28. Wigi - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Let's try again…The tee shirt should say "Nats Insider" but printed on the inside of the shirt, so you'd wear it inside-out.

  29. Farid - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    Living in Idaho, I got to watch the Nationals on TV instead of the computer on the Rockies baseball network.They were surprised at how good Stammen pitched considering his ERA.I wasn't. I recall several stories over the winter that suggested that Stammen (even with his surgery)was highly thought of and several teams inquired about trading for him.It is still amazing that the Nationals selected Stammen and Lannan back-to-back in 2005 (I think it was the 11th and 12th rounds).J.D. Martin pitched very well in Syracuse last night too — I still think he deserves to be that rotation somewhere.

  30. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    How about a t-shirt with two Asian groundskeepers saying "they're still sh*tty."And no, I'm not a racist. Watch _major league_.

  31. Aeoliano - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    Silver Elvis wig t-shirt.

  32. Aeoliano - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Both JD Martin and Luis Atilano have been pitching well in the rotation in Syracuse. The whole staff (to a much lesser extent Matt Chico at this point) in Harrisburg look like they are all ready to make the next move. Its not just Strasburg at this point.

  33. Keithcu - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    First post: I want my Nats Insider t-shirt! Just keep it simple – no slogans necessary.

  34. Tom - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    When is the Elvis Wig night give away scheduled this year?

  35. Farid - Apr 20, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Just reported that the president of the Colorado Rockies was found dead in a Salt Lake City hotel room.I wonder how that will effect the Rockies tonight.

  36. cadeck13 - Apr 20, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    I would absolutely buy a "Nats Insider" t-shirt. This is my "go to" site every day (I really should say many, many times a day but the boss could be reading ;)) Now I just have to figure out how to be able to post from my Blackberry 'cuz I use that at night for the in-game threads – anybody out there know?

  37. natsone_va - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    I would love a Nats Insider T-shirt. Also, I love that article on NY'er. I was at that 2nd Strasburg start down in Viera also so I can relate to so many topics on that article. I love NY'er writing, especially baseball writing. Go Mark!! Go Nats!!

  38. Tcostant - Apr 20, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Nationals are making piles of money:http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/33/baseball-valuations-10_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.htmlThird overall in net income.

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