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Strasburg’s back, but expectations low

Sep 6, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to return to the mound at Nationals Park tonight.

It was precisely 381 days ago when Stephen Strasburg unleashed a 91-mph changeup to the Phillies' Domonic Brown at Citizens Bank Park and immediately winced in pain, the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow having snapped, the most-hyped rookie season in baseball history having come to a screeching halt.

Weather permitting — and it certainly doesn't look like it's going to permit it — Strasburg will be back on a big-league mound tonight for the first time since throwing that fateful changeup in Philadephia. The Nationals' right-hander will become merely the latest in a growing line of big-name pitchers to make it all the way back from Tommy John surgery, a procedure with a 90 percent success rate.

Having completed six rehab starts at four different levels of the Nationals' farm system, Strasburg firmly believes he's a better pitcher now than he was pre-surgery. His fastball velocity still approaches 100 mph, his curveball has as much bite as ever and his changeup is as devastating as any he threw as a rookie.

Strasburg, though, also knows what every pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery knows: There's no way to predict how theseRead more »

  1. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Mark – Any idea what the plan for Strasburg is if the game is postponed? A simulated game today and have him start in 5 days? Pitch Wednesday – another possible rainout? Thanks.

  2. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the perspective and for not feeding the hype machine. Been reading some other stories this a.m., and it's Strasmas this, the Second Coming that, the Rapture this, blah blah blah. Geez. Just let the kid pitch.My congrats to SS on his perseverance and for apparently working through adversity with strength of character and grace. I'm guessing he'd be fine with all the hype dying down so that he could just take the ball when his turn comes up and continue the process of getting back to normal, or to the new normal, or whatever. Good on you for getting back here, kid. I'll be rooting for you (and the other 8 guys on the field, natch) when I watch the broadcast.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    People need to realize that Strasburgs next start (tonite or otherwise) is nothing more than the equivalent of a Spring Training 3rd or 4th start. It's certainly nothing like his debut start last season. Listening to Bob and FP over the weekend, they were promoting it as the second coming which is not doing the organization (meaning Rizzo, Davey and McCatty) or Stephen justice.

  4. LoveDaNats - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    I don't mean to liken it to the Second Coming, but I'm SO excited to have him on the mound again. I can't wait to see him pitch! However, it's not looking good, weather-wise. If they are gonna call it, when do you think that might happen?

  5. sunderland - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    NJ, 1a, completely agree. I would expect some good and some bad over the next few starts, just like we saw in his rehab starts. And then next spring even more good, and even less bad. And *then* the second coming, the Rapture of Strasmus, the Ghost of Walter Johnson (ok, I made that one up).Is it too soon to start speculating when Stasburg's first MLB start will be in 2012?

  6. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Wow, from a Sheinin story in the Post. Some "fan" that woman is, huh?By the time he got to Hagerstown on Aug. 7 for his first rehab start, the change was striking. After that game, as he exited the clubhouse, he was engulfed by autograph seekers. But rather than push his way through, or sign indiscriminately for an hour, as he might have a year ago, he took charge of the situation, saying he would sign for children only, then cutting off the session after about 15 minutes.One woman in the crowd hurled expletives at him, and a man blurted: “I hope you blow out your elbow again.” But rather than snap back, Strasburg ignored them and kept on signing for the kids.

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Oh, and the dude as well. And in front of the kids to boot. Atta way to model behavior, not.

  8. baseballswami - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    I have always thought that SS's achilles heel was his impatience – with the game, with people, with umpires,with fans, etc. It sounds like this experience has been a good growing up experience for him. You always hate to see someone have to deal with this kind of thing, but once you have to, maybe you can find the silver lining. I hope he has found it. I think the regular position players on our team have a little more of a level approach than the other pitchers and the media.

  9. Dawn - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    What ruins it for the real fans are the people who just want to turn a buck. Don't blame the players much at all, however, there should be a sign posted by the venue preparing people waiting in line that it will be short and/or kids only, especially to minimize unpleasant confrontation.

  10. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    "One woman in the crowd hurled expletives at him, and a man blurted: “I hope you blow out your elbow again.” But rather than snap back, Strasburg ignored them and kept on signing for the kids."It's Hagerstown. A backwards town full of dimwits.

  11. A DC Wonk - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    sunderland said… Is it too soon to start speculating when Stasburg's first MLB start will be in 2012?Opening day?

  12. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    True, Dawn. I think it's the folks seeking autographs for resale who really mess things up for the kids. Wouldn't be surprised if those "fans" were out-of-towners.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    A DC Wonk…. And break John LannEns streak of opening day losses?….Just kidding…. Opening Day is penciled in for SS in my book.

  14. Bowdenball - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    I think Zimmermann has earned Opening Day honors next year. Strasburg will be on an innings limit, so there's no reason to rush him out there, especially if they think they might still be in a playoff race in August/September 2012.Of course they were at home for Opening Day this year, so maybe they'll start on the road next year and can accommodate both of them. Zimmermann for Opening Day, Strasburg for the home opener.

  15. sunderland - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    They might give opening day to Zimmermann?OMG, well at least now I have something to fret about all winter.

  16. NatsLady - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Radar shows some breaks in the rain. So let it rain until about 4:00, then get the grounds crew out there with lots and lots of drying agents. Then, pray!

  17. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    @ foolish N. Cognito, who wrote:"It's Hagerstown. A backwards town full of dimwits."Did you run the ID checkpoint? Hagerstown was also full of traveling fans from DC that day, plus scores of bloodsuckers (autograph profiteers) with telltale NY accents. Don't be so quick to blame those smalltown locals – you have no fkg idea – and no, I'm not one. I live in McLean.

  18. MC 703 - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    How often do they call the game before people start heading to the field? What time do they make that decision?I recall it happening once this year but don't remember when the axe was dropped.

  19. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Anon, I'm with you there, as my husband is a from small town in "flyover country," and he's both very intelligent and very honest (I could go on but I don't want to bore y'all, and yeah, I'm kinda biased).Now that I've dismissed the geographical generalizations, I *will* say that I once observed what I suspected to be a profiteer back in the day at RFK. He had the NY accent, and we weren't playing a NY team that day. He was elbowing kids aside next to the dugout, jockeying for position at the front of the scrum. He told a kid who was offering up an item to be signed by a random Nat (can't remember who but maybe it was Jamey Carroll, because he was *always* signing for kids), "Don't bother with him, get Patterson because he'll actually amount to something one day" (or something to that effect). He's calling out to Patterson, "John, over here! Can I get your autograph, please?" and Patterson walks right past him. The guy then exclaims, "A-hole!" (Thought balloon over my head, "Well, sir, now that you mention it, that *is* pretty much what you're acting like…")

  20. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    (If we're keeping track, I grew up in suburbia and still call it home, but in a different part of the country.)

  21. JaneB - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Like LoveDa (you don't mind if I call you that, do you?), I don't mean to compare it to the second coming either. But I am thrilled he is back. I know he's on an innings count, and that the second half of the game will be pitched by omeone else (is it to be Peacock, after all? More reason to smile, as I haven't seen him yet). Mostly what makes me happy is that he is back and we are back on track to become fierce competition for the aging Phillies and the Braves. All pitchers have a certain way of taking the mound, of setting, kicking and pitching. It will be so satisfying to see his ways, right there on the big field. Whenever that happens to be. It feels momentous, like a line in the sand: We have Strasburg and Zimmermann. And a bunch of other guys who can get you out too. But we've never had two for real aces before. Starting tonight, we do.Welcome back Mark! We know you had a baby and everything, and we want you to be with them. At the same time: Boy, have we missed you.

  22. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    "Did you run the ID checkpoint? Hagerstown was also full of traveling fans from DC that day, plus scores of bloodsuckers (autograph profiteers) with telltale NY accents. Don't be so quick to blame those smalltown locals – you have no fkg idea – and no, I'm not one. I live in McLean."Very true. The man and woman could have been from DC or NY or somewhere else and not from Hagerstown. However, Hagerstown is a backwards town full of dimwits. On that I have a real fkg good idea – and no, I'm not from there, but my parents moved there over 15 years ago to be closer to their kids, so I've been to Hagerstown a lot.

  23. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    My use of the word "full" should not be interpreted as meaning, "all."

  24. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Hagerstown is a backwards town full of dimwits. On that I have a real fkg good idea – and no, I'm not from there, but my parents moved there over 15 years agoSo your parents are dimwits? Might not want to tell them that to their face, they might write you out of the will.

  25. Knoxville Nat - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    " However, Hagerstown is a backwards town full of dimwits. On that I have a real fkg good idea… I've been to Hagerstown a lot"Well good for you. As one who lived in the Hagerstown area for over 20 years I can see you must have had your blinders on when you were visiting the Hub City. Hagerstown is full of hard working industrious people who are not "dimwits" by any stretch of the imagination. Does the area have their share of problems? Certainly, but no more so than Fairfax, Silver Spring, Northeast DC or any other area. As far as I'm concerned you can take your opinions and stick them where the sun doesn't shine.

  26. DCJohn - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    The real feel good story of the night will be Brad Peacok coming in to relieve Steven Strasburg. Well all know Stasburg's story, but how many know or appreciate Peacock's: pick in the 41st round of the 2008 draft, over fourteen hundred players picked ahead of him, clawing his way through the minor league system with dismal results but sticking it out until it finally clicked this year. What a contrast how two young men got to the major leagues. Good luck and success to both.

  27. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    "So your parents are dimwits? Might not want to tell them that to their face, they might write you out of the will."No. My parents are not locals.There are a lot of good and smart people in Hagerstown, as there are in any community. I've had dealings with many people in Hagerstown on many occasions. An apt description for a good number of them is that they simply stopped thinking when they were about 14 years old.

  28. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    An apt description for a good number of them is that they simply stopped thinking when they were about 14 years old.Which is apparently about two years later than you stopped thinking.

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    This is a shout out to "Big Cat" for his comment on the previous post this morning about Desmond and Eckstein. (But it really has to do with him mentioning "Jake" Jacobs.)I learned darn near everything I know about baseball from an intense summer of baseball in the summer of 1963 from Marshall "Jake" Jacobs. He was my American Legion coach in East Falls Church and I was being converted to a catcher under his tuteledge. By far and away the best coach and baseball man I've ever been associated with.I would meet Jake at the field on Broadway Ave. a half hour before our 5:45 practices (he would still be in his Washington Gas and Light uniform) and he would work with me on blocking balls developing my footwork and discussing pitch calling strategy. The following season at Falls Church High, I beat out the incumbent catcher and caught every inning of every game, including 2 no hitters. Jake taught me a quick release having my right foot in position to throw when ever a runner was on base and there was not one stolen base against us that whole season.Thanks for bringing him back to my memory, Big Cat.

  30. sjm308 - Sep 6, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    Realize we have 23 games left and those are obviously most important but my vote for opening day is JZimm. I guess spring training will prove which its going to be but Jordan put in a full year to prove he was our go-to guy and I think he will improve even more next year. Not crazy about the weather on most opening days either but would not miss it for the world. Actually, if they open against the Phillies I vote for SS since that would mean NO PHANS in the stands!!

  31. Scooter - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Of course, Sabathia could always get the opening day nod. (Yes, I'm being silly. But I'm also pointing out that asking the question now is really silly.)swami, you made a good point up above. "Impatience" seems a very good way to sum up what sometimes bugged me about the kid.

  32. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I'll shut up now and spend a little time getting the foot out of my mouth (anybody got a crowbar?), but it's a little ironic that if I posted negative generalizations about Philly fans, I'd be "correct."

  33. Scooter - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Oh, and swell story, NatsJack.

  34. Scooter - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    N Cog, you can borrow my crowbar; it's very well used, but it should work for ya.Good call, and thank you.

  35. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    There's nothing wrong with maximizing profts so I'd set up the rotation to have Strasburg pitching the second home game.

  36. David - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Im excited to see Peacock as much as I'm excited to see Strasburg….

  37. LoveDaNats - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    "JaneB Like LoveDa (you don't mind if I call you that, do you?), I don't mean to compare it to the second coming either."Of course I don't mind. That's what imaginary friends are for:)

  38. fpcsteve - Sep 6, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Nope, Zimmermann gets Opening Day. At its best, baseball is a meritocracy. Zimmermann has earned it this year.

  39. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    N. Cognito said… There's nothing wrong with maximizing profts so I'd set up the rotation to have Strasburg pitching the second home game.From a marketing point of view this is brilliant!

  40. Big Cat - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Haaaaa…I knew you must be a Falls Church boy Jack. I went there too. Graduated mid 70's. Played legion ball for Jake when we teamed up with the O'Connell boys. We had a wrecking crew. 30-1. Won Districts, State and came within an out of going to Worlds. Lost in Verona NJ. Could tell Jake stories all day. Personally saw the man in 2 fist fights on the field. He played to win. Small world Nats Jack

  41. Sol - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Hagerstown sure beats Bladensburg. And Cottage City. And Colmar Manor. And Seat Pleasant. And Suitland. And Langley Park. And Anacostia. Or 80 % of Baltimore.

  42. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Speaking of Desi, as Big Cat did in the prior thread, noticed on the replay that he was wearing one black batting glove and one white one yesterday. I'd not picked up on that before. I suppose that he has to stick with it now, so as not to mess with the streak and all…

  43. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    fpcsteve…. I might be inclined to agree with you except for two words….. Davey Johnson. If Jordan is the top pitcher coming out of Spring Training, then Jordan it is but if not, it's Strasburg.And Big Cat… I grew up over off 50 in the Westlawn area. Graduated 1965. Tom Bradley and I were co-captains our senior years. Sandy Alderson was a reserve infielder. I only had that one summer between mt sophmore and junior years with Jake but it gave me a whole new way to observe the game. Ended up with a torn rotator cuff during my senior season that gives me fits to this day. I need a replacement but am holding out till I can't take it anymore (which seems to be getting close).

  44. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I suppose that also means that Cora has to keep using Matt Stairs' 1B glove, when he's playing there.

  45. Bzl. - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Re: when/if rainout is called. This game will not be called until every one of the 30K customers will have had a chance to buy dinner and a couple beverages. Then it might get called.

  46. Golfersal - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Not to sound selfish, but I am a season ticket holder and have others involved. So when it was announced last week that Stasberg as pitching tonight I had to buy tickets for tonights game. Unfortunely if tonight gets rained out or rescheduled, I am out of luck. Go up on stubhub and see that there are over 4,000 tickets for sell, nobody is buying. But the problem for me, of course my tickets can be exchanged for another night but with only 12 home games there is no game that I will exchange because I have those seats as season ticket holder. So it's ugly, I can see my $135 dollars including like $16 in fees go down the drain.

  47. Big Cat - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Jack…..Bradley went on to UMD and then the Sox and I believe Angels. Had a couple real good years if I remember. Jake used to run a winter pitching clinic at FC in 72 and 73. They would set up the strings and we would throw. Bradley would come and throw his "control curve" Kind of half curve half slider. I was just a youngster and was scared to death of Jake. Just an outstanding coach and personUsed to play basketball almost every night at Westlawn Elementary….that old tile floor. I grew up in Tyler Park. Went to Devonshire. You were a little before Boger then huh?

  48. sunderland - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    12:45 PM, received an email from the Nats encouraging me to buy a ticket to tonights game and the return of Strasburg. Wow. They couldn't care less that it's raining and more likely to not get played than to get played. Here's a kicker for ya – Let's say it is wet and drizzling, but the game is to be played. It's been delayed, it maight only go for an inning or two and maybe another delay. Do the Nat's still send out Strasburg?

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Big Cat…..In 1971, the White Sox were in town to play the Senators. Tom got to stay at his parents house so I drove him to the game on a Saturday for his start against Washington. Since that put me in RFK about 9:30 AM for a 1:00 PM start, I had to sit in an empty stadium for quite awhile until they opened up to the regular public.As I was sitting in the front row watching the Senators take batting practice, Ted Williams came over to inquire "who the hell are you and why are you the only person in here watching batting practice?"I told him about my relationship to Bradley and that I brought him to the game and that I caught him in high school…… well the next 20 minutes were spent with him peppering me about how Tom pitched, how heavy was his fast ball (thats how Williams described fastballs, either they were light or heavy) and how did he hold his change up. It was another of those times you never forget.Tom pitched about 6 innings that day and got a no decision in a rare Senators win. But yakking with Ted Williams is the most important memory for me from that day.We all got together during the Mets first visit to D.C. the first week in May. Tom is relocating from College Park to his wifes hometown in West Virginia pretty soon.

  50. baseballswami - Sep 6, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Stephen Strasburg is making a rehab start. It's a rainy Tuesday, the first day of school for many. It really is not Strasmus part II. It's exciting for him to be back where he has worked so hard to be, exciting for us to have him back part-time. This is another step. My vote for opening day next year is also Zimmermann – he has seniority, has paid his dues and won't be on an innings limit.

  51. NatsLady - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    1) Opening day will be sold out whoever pitches. JZimm deserves it. Let Stras pitch the 2nd game (assuming we are at home). If we are playing Philly–wherever–Stras gets the first shot.2) I think they'll wait as long as possible before cancelling the game because it will be very difficult to reschedule. The Dodgers are going back to the left coast for a Friday game against the Giants and aren't coming east of Phoenix for the rest of the year. If you try for a make-up game as part of a double=header tomorrow or Thu, you will just have another rainout. Too bad they couldn't have had an anticipatory double-header yesterday… not with Stras pitching, but to give an extra chance for a game.All they need to do is get 4 innings of Stras in, plue 1 inning of a reliever or Peacock to make it a game. If they see a 2 hour break in the radar they'll start the game at 10 pm. Stras won't warm up till they can dry out the field, he'll warm while the grounds crew is working. My prediction.

  52. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    I think they'll wait but it's not crucial to get this game in. It has zero playoff implications.

  53. Steve M. - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Bowdenball said… I think Zimmermann has earned Opening Day honors next year. Strasburg will be on an innings limit, so there's no reason to rush him out there, especially if they think they might still be in a playoff race in August/September 2012.Of course they were at home for Opening Day this year, so maybe they'll start on the road next year and can accommodate both of them. Zimmermann for Opening Day, Strasburg for the home opener. September 6, 2011 9:13 AM sunderland said… They might give opening day to Zimmermann?OMG, well at least now I have something to fret about all winter. September 6, 2011 9:15 AM fpcsteve said… Nope, Zimmermann gets Opening Day. At its best, baseball is a meritocracy. Zimmermann has earned it this year. September 6, 2011 11:57 AM Hilarious reading Opening Day 2012 suggestions while the 2011 season isn't over but since it is here, I am with Bowdenball/Sunderland/fpcSteve that Jordan Zimmermann has already earned it. Now then, since the season isn't over, Strasburg could put up some amazing numbers of his own to make me re-think this.Whether or not Rizzo and Davey (assuming he is the manager) extend the honor to JZim is another thing.The great news on having a discussion like this is that there will be a legitimate 1-2 aces going into 2012 and if Rizzo sets his sights this off-season on more attainable goals then he set for himself last off-season, this team will be a contender. Given the age and improvement of this team, it is now small changes.Ian Desmond has gone from the man many of you all were willing to give away for a bag of balls and now he is showing maturity at the plate. Davey deserves a lot of that credit.Could Ian be the answer to leadoff in 2012? That is a huge question to think about. If he is, then Bernadina or Werth could be your starting CF and then there may be a clearer path for young Mr. Rendon to LF (the man without a position). Remember, Left-field is better than Left-out.

  54. sunderland - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    I'm becoming convinced we have a Miss Iowa situation brewing. Dodgers and Nats and the NL are going to want to try and get the game in. Rizzo, Cat and DJ are not going to want to have Strasburg warming and waiting and cooling and warming and waiting. And when push comes to shove, Balester will start the game tonight to a chorus of boos.

  55. NatsLady - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    I don't think they can chuck the game altogether. The Nats are eliminated from the division mathematically but not from the wildcard. Dodgers are not eliminated. There may be zero chance for either team, realistically, but you can't just reduce the length of a season because of that– would open up a real can of worms. Do you pay the guys? Example: minor leaguers who a pro-rated for ML time. What about records–Morse's HR and RBI records would lose a game. They are gonna try to get the game in. Stras might not pitch it, though.

  56. NatsLady - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    And which beauty pageant contestant will Balestar pick on?

  57. Big Cat - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    NatsJack…wow, how cool is that. The Splendid Splinter himself. I'll bet when he asked you in that gruff voice of his who the hell you were, you went "Uuuuh uhhh" But you are right. That is a memory for a lifetime. Hey, one of those high school no hitters you caught wasn't by a guy named Wells was it. We moved into the area in 65 and my neighbor pitched at FC and all the talk was that he had thrown a no-no

  58. Steve M. - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Ended up with a torn rotator cuff during my senior season that gives me fits to this day. I need a replacement but am holding out till I can't take it anymore (which seems to be getting close). September 6, 2011 12:54 PM I feel your pain! Back in the day, we never seemed to warm up properly like they do now. I developed elbow problems and my baseball was done in High School. In College went back to football. After a lower leg injury where my leg went numb, I took up golf. That's where my real problems started. I always try to hit 'em 350+ and ended up with a left shoulder labrum tear on a bad follow through on my swing. Since then, nothing but trouble to the point that I have to swing controlled and slow so my shoulder doesn't pop out again. I might as well only use a 5 iron!

  59. NatsLady - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Just reading Cubbies' fans reaction to the Rizzo-Cubs rumors. They don't like the Werth deal. "Scares 'em." Goooooooood. Maybe it'll keep their grubby, cubby paws off our GM.

  60. A DC Wonk - Sep 6, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Steve M. said:Ian Desmond has gone from the man many of you all were willing to give away for a bag of balls and now he is showing maturity at the plate. Davey deserves a lot of that credit.Indeed! He's been hitting .282 since the all star break, third best on the team (behind Morse and Zim, natch).There were many of us who thought that just a bit more time would help him out. Someone had mentioned that he needed a year to get his fielding together (he was too aggressive), and it would take him a season to get his hitting together (he was too aggressive with that, too).(And I wonder if Lombo and Renden in the wings also helped focus his mind ;-) )

  61. Anonymous - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Lets hold off on Renden for a little while. There are a lot of minor league pitchers who want a piece of his butt. Also, wooden bats are a huge adjustment. What if he goes to Potomac and hit .210 with 6 homers and 33 rbi's. Then what?

  62. MC 703 - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Without doing the research on his stats since the all star break, I knew Desmond was starting to get his bat together because I wasn't exasperatedly yelling his name name as often as before. Werth is improving too but I keep catching myself scaring the sh@t out of my dog with WORTTHH!!

  63. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Neither the Nats nor the Dodgers have any realistic chance of making the playoffs. The Nats (all MLB teams) will try to get this game played because that's what they always do, whether it's today, tomorrow, or Thursday. If they can't get it in, it will not be played at all. Nats and Dodgers have a common open date, but the Dodgers will be on the west coast and the Nats on the east coast.Any games against the Astros that can't be played this weekend will be cancelled. The Nats and Astros have no common open dates.Looking at the forecast, it's possible for the Nats to play only 159-161 games this season.

  64. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    I don't do predictions but I can get behind NatsLady and others re. Z-nn having earned an OD 2011 start (I also liked the grubby Cubby paws line).In other news, was reading the August/September team magazine/program the other day and enjoyed the feature showing Livo's team pic photos over the years. He looked like such a pup in '97. :-) Couple of other nice pieces in there. Also on a pubs note, sure wish that the team was still selling media guides to fans. I'm one of the dorks who bought one every year. In years past I'd managed to find them on E-Bay if not in the team store. I heard somewhere that speculators had bought up a bunch of them because SS was featured on the cover this year, and that the team would not be producing more. Booooo if so. And the yearbook is not an acceptable substitute. So there… ummmm…Mark, if you happen to see a spare one lingering around the press box somewhere, I'd be happy pay the cover price for it.

  65. Who_Cares_Strasmus! - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Off the topic of our batting practice pritcher for the rest of the season, St. Stephen…..when was the last time that a team had a such a discrpancy between its top hitter and #2 hitter in BA:Morse .315Desmond.244HORRIBLE

  66. Just speculating wildly - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    @ 2:45 p.m. NatsLady said…And which beauty pageant contestant will Balestar pick on?—————————–Based on an earlier series of posts, I gotta believe it will be Miss Hagerstown…

  67. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    What are the odds that the Nats will play any more games against the Dodgers this week? Rain is not going to stop until Saturday!

  68. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    +1 for "speculating wildly."

  69. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Although this late submission from Mr. Z has merit as well (pulled from Twitter feed at top right side of page):Surprised so much media has turned out at Nationals Park for my return from paternity leave. So … who's pitching tonight?

  70. Feel Wood - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    The media guide was sold to fans early in the season. I didn't see it at the team store, so I asked about it and was told that they had them at the stands where game programs are sold. Lo and behold, they did. And BTW, Strasburg is not on the cover. Werth, Desmond (IIRC) and Rizzo are.

  71. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Thanks, Feel Wood. Congrats on finding someone who actually knew what it was. Whenever I asked a team store employee about it (including at the start of the season), they'd point me to either the magazine/program or the yearbook. In addition to checking at both team stores numerous times I checked at a number of the team gear booths around the concourse. Seems like I asked at a program stand a time or two as well but maybe I'm misremembering. D'oh!

  72. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    I do seem to recall reading that about the cover now that you mention it. Maybe what I read was that the speculators were interested in the SS 2010 stats. I like looking at the stats for the entire team, and the bios and what-not, but that's just me. After all, how else would I glean trivia such as that about the former Nats pitcher who was married on the mound at the Durham Bulls park between games of a double-header.

  73. Mark'd - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Very cool piece on Saturday in the Wash Times by Amanda Comak:When the Nationals took the field Saturday night, they had an infield comprised completely of home grown talent, a pitcher drafted by the organization three years ago, a catcher picked in the Rule 5 draft and nursed through a significant shoulder injury, and a right fielder who is the longest-tenured member of the organization.

  74. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Oof! New posted again.

  75. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Big Cat… Just to correct some of my story… I remembered it as a Saturday but it was a Thursday to be exact. Tom Bradley did pitch 6 innings but he got the win and Darold Knowles took the loss.And you're right, I was looking for a place to hide when Williams sauntered over and about peed myself when he boomed "who the hell are you". But once I explained myself and could speak with out squealing, the conversation went very well.The no-no's I caught were by Buster Ellis on our opening day against Mt. Vernon and Tom against Fairfax both in 1964. I think you are talking about Billy Wells who was on JV in 1965 but pitched after I graduated.And Steve M… funny you should bring up the elbow but that's how I ended up with a torn rotator cuff. My high scool coach had an in with Doc Lentz who was with Georgetown U. and also worked as a trainer for the "Skins. When my elbow started barking at me a little, my coach sent me to see Doc Lentz who pumped some cortisone in it. The shot hurt like hell but withing minutes my elbow was great and I proceeded to play our game that night.Needless to say, I've been unable to throw anything since. And this was in 1965.

  76. natsfan1a - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    btw, those are some very cool stories, NatsJack.

  77. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Rizzo on MLB channel in a couple minutes.

  78. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    Why are there these Anon types throwing cold water on our happiness as we speculate about the future? They are raining on our parade. Also, tonight's Strasmus celebration is being rained on!Back to my other un-reality….Ah, Opening Day 2012 when all the teams are tied!

  79. N. Cognito - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Got to sit and talk baseball with Teddy F'n Ballgame. Lucky SOB!I loved and highly recommend his book, The Science of Hitting.

  80. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    PAY TO PLAY… They're Oriloe fans. It's all they've got.

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Oriole… don't' mean to demean them too much.

  82. Steve M. - Sep 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    I will say under Davey's watch, he had to endure the excruciating pain of the July 31st trade deadline rumors. Ian Desmond and Drew Storen were the 2 guys most on ice. It had to be almost unbearable. Since the Trade Deadline, Desmond is batting .288 and in the last 4 weeks Desmond's slash is .307/.346

  83. Scooter - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…They're [Oriole] fans. It's all they've got.Yeah, at least we don't have to put others down to feel good about ourselves!Those are some great stories, including but not limited to the one about Ted Williams. Thanks for putting a smile on my day.

  84. jd - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Steve M. As I I've said before I don't put too much stock in in short term stats but what I do see from Ian Desmond is a new approach and that is encouraging. I heard Davey discuss this on a post game show once. He said he has been trying to convince both Desmond and Espinosa to maintain their aggressiveness without giving away at bats. You can tell that Davey's advise has not fallen on deaf ears at least as far as Desmond is concerned. I don't think he'll ever be a proto typical leadoff hitter and I don't think he'll ever walk enough to have a good OBP but he brings enough to the table (especially the range) where if he can maintain a .310 OBP with a little pop he'd be OK.

  85. Steve M. - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    NatsJack, ouch. I went on to play in Men's league baseball and played 1st base. Felt like LaRoche but with a bum elbow.

  86. A DC Wonk - Sep 6, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    when was the last time that a team had a such a discrpancy between its top hitter and #2 hitter in BA:Morse .315Desmond.244Conveniently leaving out Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos, etc etc . . . . ho hum . . .

  87. Big Cat - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    NatsJack…..yes it was Billy Wells. You guys played over off Cherry St. I went to Whittier Mid School there. Now….its all torn down. All townhomes. Shame.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 0.5
MIAMI 53 53 5.0
NEW YORK 51 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 60 11.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m. TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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