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Three smurfy innings for Strasburg

Sep 11, 2011, 10:31 PM EST

Photo via Jesus Flores’ Twitter account
Stephen Strasburg (in red) and others were forced to dress as Smurfs postgame.

Much as he and everyone else would like to believe it, Stephen Strasburg knows he’s not going to have a perfect feel for his pitches every time he takes the mound in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Strasburg, though, was able to take some comfort in knowing he was able to rediscover that touch by the third inning of Sunday’s start against the Astros, resulting in an 11-pitch inning and his best stuff of the afternoon.

The only thing that could stop the Nationals right-hander at that point, unfortunately, was the quick hook of manager Davey Johnson, who decided not to push the young hurler too much and pulled him after only three innings and 57 pitches.

Strasburg wasn’t pleased when Johnson informed him of the plan.

“Just three?” he asked his manager in the home dugout.

“Yeah, just three,” Johnson replied.

Several hours later, after the Nationals had wrapped up an 8-2 victory over Houston, Strasburg was less upset about the quick hook.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” he said. “But knowing Davey from the Olympics, he’s got my best interests in mind. I trust him 100 percent.
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  1. djohncox - Sep 11, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Love the Smurfs photo. Rookies gotta pay their dues!

  2. sunderland - Sep 11, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    Who is the smokin' hot chick-smurf? How much was spent on white crocs that will never be worn again? And, since 1a may be too shy to ask, are there any photos of a similar prank when Jamey Carroll was a Nat?

  3. baseballswami - Sep 11, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    That is just disturbing.

  4. dryw - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:17 AM

    Geez, think Stras works out much?

  5. Andrew - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    The girley smurf is Wilson Ramos. LOL

  6. Gonat - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Is that Wang's interpretor on the left?

  7. Gonat - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    NatsLady said… Pictures of the Nats as Smurfs are on Twitter. Really fun. (I know, not baseball.) September 11, 2011 6:35 PM___________________________________Anything with Nats players, former Nats players and future Nats players should always be good to go!

  8. Aussie Gus - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Seriously, if I am running this team, this photo makes me angry and the man in charge of fitness just lost his job. Not becuase of the whole Smurf thing, but because of the amount of fat on display. You think Strasburg is just good because of his natural ability?

  9. Gonat - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    More details from Adam Kilgore: any player who had never had to dress up like this was required to go Smurf. That meant 16 players, including Collin Balester, Corey Brown, Danny Espinosa, Steve Lombardozzi, Chris Marrero, Yunesky Maya, Tom Millone, Brad Peacock, Wilson Ramos, Henry Rodriguez, Atahualpa Severino, Craig Stammen, Drew Storen, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Matthues, and trainer John Hsu.

  10. Anonymous - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:00 AM

    I'll put our ace's abs up against any other aces abs in the majors!!!

  11. NatStat - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Great fun! I guess they won't be running in the Presidents' Race,though.Whose idea was it? Who brought it together–Rizzo??

  12. SonnyG10 - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    Cute idea. I wonder what Ryan Zimmerman was forced to dress up as?

  13. dryw - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

    In this interview, Zim says he had to dress up as a girl. The interview itself is kinda fun to read looking at where he was then and where he is now.

  14. baseballswami - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    So – when Strasburg said that he had been working on his core muscles – he was not kidding.

  15. Andrew - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    dryw, that was a good article. Thanks for posting!

  16. gonatsgo - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:53 AM

    That really is not a very flattering get up – no wonder they look bad. Just thankful that Todd Coffey is not there!

  17. Drew8 - Sep 12, 2011 at 5:36 AM

    Between the Nats and the Skins, it was a good day for Smurf and Turf.In case folks missed it, Boz had a remarkable stat in his online chat last week that crystallized the Nationals' failure to get on base at the top of the order:From Boz:"This brings me to a pet point — How few RBI chances the middle of the Nats' order gets. The most extreme example is Werth."When Werth has batted with two or more men on base he has hit .323 and slugged .516 with a .941 OPS. I'd never have guessed it. In the maximum-damage RBI siutations, he's been stellar. Yet his RBI pace of 60 is pathetic. How?"He seldom comes up with multiple men on base… He's batted 314 times with nobody on base and only 73 times all year with two or three men on base. For reference, in Philly the year he had 99 RBI, 52 of them came in situations with two or more men on base."This is the point I've been trying to make about Ian Desmond's terrible .290 on base percentage. He almost never walks, so the occasional multi-hit game has not budged his on base percentage at all.If we can please, please get the CFTBNL and Rendon at the top of the lineup, maybe we'll hit fewer solo homers next year.

  18. MicheleS - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Every last one of them needs to start working out like Stras… didn't realize that Drew still has baby fat!

  19. m20832 - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Isn't the smokin hot chick smurf Debbi Taylor?

  20. The Dude Abides - Sep 12, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    m20832….. Hardly.

  21. Gonat - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Drew8, that is one interesting stat because I can recall so many situations where Werth had failed in bases loaded situations so I checked and sure enough he is batting .222 in bases loaded and a crazy .343 with men on 1st and 2nd. When men are on 2nd and 3rd, he is really bad at .154 which may be more understandable as they can pitch around you with 1st base open.

  22. Joe Sommer - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    As John Kruk said: "Lady, I'm not an athlete. I'm a ballplayer." Athleticism is helpful for fielders, but the sport is mainly about throwing baseballs and hand-eye coordination. Many of us are probably more fit than, say, CC Sabathia. But you wouldn't want him on the roster? Roger Bernardina is an awesome athlete; so was Justin Maxwell. Neither are superstars.

  23. Anonymous8 - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Joe, you had to hit us with the JMAX. LOL

  24. Not Yet Ready To Claim It As My Own Idea - It's A Trial Balloon.... - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    So, while everyone's in a good mood, here's a thought to ponder. I've been thinking about a comeback to the Orioles fans yelling O! during the Star Spangled Banner. This would be pre-emptive: after the colors are presented, the stadium announcer always says "Please remain standing for our national anthem" – so what if everyone shouted NATIONALS when he says "National" anthem.Good idea? Bad? Should we only do it at Camden Yards?

  25. Early Votes Are Bad - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Captcha was "tubed"

  26. NatHat - Sep 12, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Pudge is probably in the best shape out of all of the Nats and he is going to be 40 this year. The rooks will figure out in order to stay in the game, their core has to be strong. They don't look out of shape just Stras looks in great shape. Now, this is just weird looking at a bunch of half naked blue guys for more than two seconds.

  27. Mick - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    How bout our Skins! On a somber day, it was a good sports day in DC. Watched my son's youth football tea win in the morning, watched little of Strass pitch and of course the Skins and of course all the 911 coverage, the flight 93 movie just breaks my heart each time I watch.back to Nats, I will take a 10-7 finish for 77 wins this season. I think anything less than 85 wins next season is a problem and I finally agreed with Davey on him taking Strass out after 3, that was a good decision.

  28. Mick - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    so.. what do you all do during the off season? will Mark have this blog during the winter? I like you guys and gals, lol

  29. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    I hate winter. Just sayin'

  30. Traveler8 - Sep 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    @Not Yet Ready – no,No,NO. Please, we have finally gotten people to stop yelling O in Nats Park. Let's just be respectful and and listen.

  31. Section 222 - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    I'm sure I'll be new posted by the time I post this comment, but here goes. It's getting really tiresome to hear Davey take credit when someone who has been in a slump starts hitting. He did it with Desi, and with Werth, and now with Espi. (See Kilgore's post this morning.) He supposedly told Espi to relax and not press so much when he saw him going into the film room after Saturday's three strikeout debacle. And voila! Espi hits two doubles, and only strikes out once. What a genius that Davey is!We have no idea, of course, how many times previously Davey told him to relax and not press so much. (And if never did, why the heck not? He's been in slump since the ASG.) And if Espi has another golden sombrero this week, Davey of course will not be responsible. But that one good game? That was due to the brilliant managing of Davey. Why? Because he told us so.

  32. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    I don't get MLB butting their heads into everyone's business. First they tell Rizzo and the Dodgers they can't cancel a ballgame despite flooding that led to FOUR deaths.Now they won't let the Mets wear FDNY hats on Sept. 11? I saw first responder hats all over the place in the football game and the NFL is not known for looseness in the uniform rules.(Torre: "Wait until you've screwed your fans, then cancel." Rizzo: "Oh, forgot to mention–our grounds crew [sorry, fellas] can't handle it, unplayable field." Torre: "Hey, the grounds crew in Miami can handle it." Rizzo: "OK, we'll get them on a plane. Ooops, the runways are flooded and the roads are closed. NOW can we cancel the game????")

  33. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I REALLY try not to listen to Davey. But he keeps putting Espi in the lineup and that's probably the right thing to do. The kid is young and I assume healthy, so why shouldn't he play baseball every day and work himself out of the funk?

  34. Steve M. - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Mick-Winter? Of course, with Winter meetings and Free Agent signings!Talking about Free Agents, FanGraphs just did a great story on Mark Buehrle. what we have seen of John Lannan since the Trade Deadline, it is even a higher level of concern that the team needs 1 veteran who can step in as a true #3 and push Lannan back to the #4.There are so many varying opinions on Wang and it seems with these bad 1st innings he has to pitch a simulated 1st inning in the bullpen or indoors to see if that solves his problem. It may lead to a shorter outing, but these 1st inning runs are burying the team early. The bigger issue as was brought up is his last few performances is his 2 seamer is starting to high in the zone. He improved some in the Dodgers game from the Atlanta game but is now 5 straight games without inducing a double play.To really be effective, Wang has to be 2:1 Ground balls:Fly balls and he has only done that once on Aug 9th at Chicago. The Nats are now 3-5 in games Wang starts. On Tom Milone, he reminds me right now of Detwiler and that isn't a good thing. Stellar in innings 1-3 then falters. Let's just hope Milone gets it going in his next starts.I am hoping Peacock steps up to see what he has.

  35. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Nats Outsider - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    "no,No,NO. Please, we have finally gotten people to stop yelling O in Nats Park. Let's just be respectful and and listen."Well said, Traveler8. The fact that our friends to the north do something tasteless and disrespectful is no reason for Nats fans to follow their example.

  37. LoveDaNats - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Was it my imagination or did I hear an "OOHHH" during the National Anthem at Redskins park yesterday?

  38. NatsLady - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Steve M., just reading the same article. on Buerhle.Here are the stats:Buehrle 2011: 4.8 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 45% GBs, .291 BABIP, 72% LOB, 3.58 ERA, 4.14 xFIPBuehrle Career: 5.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 46% GBs, .291 BABIP, 72% LOB, 3.83 ERA, 4.22 xFIPStable and reliable. He's a lefty, but other than that, comparable to Livo.

  39. Steve M. - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:37 PM is a good article on Wang. I didn't write it although we debated this fairly well on July 30th after Wang's 1st start and many starts after that.Just about 3 weeks of baseball left to see what Detwiler, Wang, Peacock and Milone can show us.Someone out of the 4 has to step up from the pack.

  40. sunderland - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    National Anthem "O". I was surprised to hear it loud and cler at a Caps game. For #8 I presume. It's tacky and should stop. If Baltimore fans want to do it for their O's, that's fine with me. Let it be their thing. We should not do it at any event in DC.

  41. sjm308 - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    You certainly did. Surprised me as well.Mick – winter will be even more fun because there is more speculationAFLTrade RumorsFree AgencyHiring a manager (probably a done deal but you never know)and then before you know it, its Feb and we get ready for spring training when we send Mark down to beautiful Viera and NatsJack really earns his keep.Try and stay positive my friend and please don't explode if we don't get that 77 wins you want.Go Nats – 8 more wins!!!

  42. Steve M. - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    NatsLady, comparable to Livan? Just start and end with the ERA so when can end any comparison. ERA 2011 :Livan 4.47 Buehrle 3.58Ok one more stat, The Nats are 10-19 in games Livan starts and the Chisox are 17-11 in games Buehrle starts. The ERA alone is huge but the disparity of W/L is also a mirror image.

  43. sunderland - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    NatsLady, the problem with allowing teams to wear special caps for some games is that you open a pandora's box. Where do you draw the line? If you start allowing this, at some point it's gonna get ridiculous and controversial. It always does. So MLB is being conservative and prudent, it's what they do. I'm OK with it.And MLB has to have a role in postponing games that have a chance to never be played on a make up date. If the Dodgers hadn't prematurely announced, this wouldn't have been an issue.Lots of people wanted the first Dodger game called 5 hours before game time. Yet that game was played fine. We postponed a Pirates game hours before game time and could easily have played that game.All MLB wants is to get closer to game time to be sure calling the game is the right decision. The Dodgers made it seem worse with their early pronouncement.

  44. Feel Wood - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    The trick to wearing special caps during games is to not ask MLB permission first. Just do it, like the Nats did when they wore the Virginia Tech caps in 2007. It is always easier to apologize than it is to get permission, especially when dealing with institutions like MLB.

  45. Mark'd - Sep 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    NatsLady said..He's a lefty, but other than that, comparable to Livo.I think you are great NatsLady, however you can't make comments like that if you want to be taken seriously. Livan is almost 1 run more than Buehrle. In baseball that can make a Tim Lincecum at 2.68 into a John Lannan at 3.65 with that almost 1.00 ERA differential!

  46. Anonymous - Sep 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Mark'd, Timmy Jim may cry foul on that comparison to John Lannen. FOUL Good point though.

  47. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Dang, Strasburg's got a 6-pack!

  48. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Wow, was out of town and missed the Astros portion of the last homestand. Did read box scores in the local (Ohio) fishwrap but they didn't cover the Smurfs angle. Kinda funny. :-)

  49. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Lol, just saw this! Thanks for having my back, sunderland. Jamey Carroll's hazing would likely have dated back to his Expos days, I reckon.sunderland said… Who is the smokin' hot chick-smurf? How much was spent on white crocs that will never be worn again? And, since 1a may be too shy to ask, are there any photos of a similar prank when Jamey Carroll was a Nat? September 11, 2011 7:24 PM

  50. Anonymous - Sep 14, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Is it wrong to have set this at my screensaver? :)





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