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Amped-up Strasburg gets through 1st start

Mar 4, 2012, 10:36 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Stephen Strasburg was charged with two runs over 2 2/3 innings.

VIERA, Fla. — Given how much he's already been through since he was drafted by the Nationals, it's easy to forget how little spring training experience Stephen Strasburg has.

When Strasburg stepped to the mound at Space Coast Stadium shortly after 1 p.m. today, it marked only the fourth Grapefruit League start of his career. How quickly we forget his first spring with the Nationals (as a rookie in 2010) lasted a mere three outings and nine total innings before he was optioned to Class AA Harrisburg. And, of course, he never pitched in a game last spring while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

So it's hard to fault Strasburg for being something less than his usual spectacular self during his first appearance of 2012.

"Stras was too hyped up, too amped up," manager Davey Johnson said. "You could tell from the first pitch he threw, too. He was loaded forRead more ยป

  1. Cwj - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    Outstanding as usual Mark.It's a credit to Stras that he can be "too amped up" and lacking control, yet still not walk a batter and strike out 3.

  2. NatsLady - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I am neutral on Davey. However, with a young team, I would say you need:1) A careful plan that does NOT allow players to overwork and get injured, yet does ensure that they enter game situations with proper warmup. There is more chance of players overworking at this stage than slacking off. Injuries will hurt the team far more than Desi making a couple of errors. Mark's post about Stras confirms my impression there a lot of adrenaline and that may be what Davey is trying to tamp down. 2) Veterans to caution players about stupid off-field stuff like DUI's that will harm themselves and the team. 3) An alert sense of who needs work on "fundamentals," and who would benefit from "tinkering" — and who wouldn't, especially when players are working through a slump.4) Good communication at all levels (including manager-to-bullpen).

  3. JaneB - Mar 4, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    I saw your tweet about whether these innings count. They DON'T do they? Nothing else about ST counts.

  4. NatsLady - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Losing two games to a "bad" team is probably a good thing, strange to say. The guys were ready to conquer the world, a "room full of puppies" as Boz described them. Expectations are sky high, and they get higher with every game the Caps lose. Best to come back to earth–and the grind–now rather than later…

  5. Cwj - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Just thought I'd mention this again in case anyone sees the game later.The radar gun displayed during the MASN broadcast was way off. Going by average velocity for all today's pitchers and for their various pitches, I would say the gun was off by 5 mph.So don't freak out if you see Strasburg throwing an 89 mph fastball :-) That would actually be ~94 mph. I saw one of his fastballs show up as 93 on the radar (tops among all of today's pitchers), which no doubt was ~98.Yes, I track pitches in my game logs as a hobby. It's actually pretty fun :-)

  6. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    I saw your tweet about whether these innings count. They DON'T do they? Nothing else about ST counts.JaneB, that's what Rizzo meant in the interview when he was asked this: between 140 and 170 innings depending on what he (Rizzo) sees. Remember, last year was also Ryan Mattheus first year back from Tommy John's surgery. While he was extremely effective in Syracuse and later in the majors he suffered a minor injury and he was tired when he returned from rehab. Again, they are going to use Zimmermann as their yardstick. They will follow the same procedure with McGreary, Taylor, and Solis as they will with Strasburg. They are developing a process to get pitchers healthy and strong past the TJ surgery.Makes me laugh I remember when too many of the pundits here used to excoriate the front office for picking up another "Tommy John". Boys, the ace of your staff is a "Tommy John". Just goes to show how silly fans can be.

  7. natsfan1a - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    I wasn't fully focused on the play-by-play, in that I was commenting during the game, but I think they did mention the radar gun issue fairly early on in the game.

  8. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    @NatsLady, Its EARLY spring training. Early? Last season it was the same deal with Riggleman except he apparently worked guys extra hard. And a decided difference this year: last year Riggleman had already decided what his bench would look like with Ankiel, Cora, Hairston, and Nix. Last year it was the starting lineups with the exceptions of Werth, Zimmerman, and LaRoche. Instead of putting Ivan Rodriguez on the bench he started him which likely helped to severely damage an already weak offense.This year the starting lineup is pretty much set as Davey predicted last season. Its the bench that's up for grabs. Much more youth both in the rotation and in the starting lineup. Much more talent.Davey Johnson so far seems to clearly be the superior manager to Riggleman at least from an overall strategic standpoint. Remains to be seen how he manages them in games with such high expectations.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    It is early, but Desmond sure isn't helping himself and the offense looks punchless again this year. Losing badly to the worst team in MLB isn't exactly what I wanted to see.

  10. MicheleS - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    The one good thing.. Stras felt like he could go another couple of innings.. That is the take away from today, nothing else.

  11. Cwj - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Natsfan- Yeah FP mentioned the radar gun a couple times. Didn't get to hear Charlie and Dave.Just wanted to make sure everyone knows that Stras was not throwing his FB 88-93 mph, (which of course would have been a very bad sign indeed).Count me in the Davey Johnson fan club :-) I think he's an outstanding manager and infinitely better than Riggleman.

  12. Steve M. - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Spring Training for a well stocked team will give us a good idea of any fringe stand-outs and any on the bubble players that may have ruined their opportunity.It is way too early to come away with anything except hustle and desire observations, mechanics, and preliminary scouting.I love this kid named Harper. I still see him as a long-shot but he brings back the good memories of Pete Rose with youthful exhuberance. Very happy there is no Matt Stairs types this year and still hoping the best 24 1/2 go North.The 5th starter spot can soon be debated.

  13. Cwj - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    What I take away from this game is that pitching will once again be the Nats strength. Hard to say that after a 10-2 loss, but Gorzelanny gave up 7 of them.

  14. NatsSec130 - Mar 4, 2012 at 11:59 PM

    Hello, new poster here. I was wondering if anybody was still looking to buy into a season ticket group, or if you knew anyone who might be. I'm nine rows behind the Nats dugout (Sec 130) and am looking for 2-3 folks to round out the group. I need help picking up about 40 games. Apologies if I've broken any codes against hawking wares on the discussion thread. But I read Mark's blog everyday and enjoy following the discussions you all have; I'd rather reach out to serious Nats fans first before going through the Craigslist creepiness.

  15. DWS - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    I'll try to put this as politely as I can. Play the devils advocate as it were.Preface by saying I'm a big fan, just following my old team (Expos).But until I see Nats smacking the ball like the Astros did against anybody not named Gorzalany I'm concerned.

  16. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    What she said.MicheleS said… The one good thing.. Stras felt like he could go another couple of innings.. That is the take away from today, nothing else. March 04, 2012 6:35 PM

  17. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    What she said.MicheleS said… The one good thing.. Stras felt like he could go another couple of innings.. That is the take away from today, nothing else. March 04, 2012 6:35 PM

  18. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Oops, sorry about that. {hic}

  19. MicheleS - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    1A.. lay off the bon bon's and caffeine! ;-)

  20. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    DWS- I have always wondered if former Expos fans continue to follow the Nats.I think that's pretty cool :-)

  21. Ray - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Mark, how much should be made about Rendon playing SS today? He looked much smoother than Ian, I was impressed (albeit with limited action). How seriously would the Nats consider using Rendon there?

  22. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    But…but…sec3 said about the sprint/marathon and then FP said about the best shape of his life…and…and…well, I guess I got a little carried away. :-)MicheleS said… 1A.. lay off the bon bon's and caffeine! ;-) March 04, 2012 7:23 PM

  23. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Cwj, there are quite a few Expos heritage fans who post here and on other blogs. It is nice to hear from them, I agree.

  24. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    2 games in is just too early though to make any predictions. Spring games are quickly forgotten on Opening Day.31 days btw! Can't wait! Ugh, so long though…

  25. SCNatsFan - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    cwj, I went to college in Montreal and followed my love of the 'Spos to DC. Nats fans may feel like they are long suffering but I feel like I've put in my time! 2 games in not much to draw from any of this but I agree it sure would be nice to see the ball smacked around a little more.

  26. Wally - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    It was good to see a game again, after all this time. I watched up to the equatorial delay.A couple of things I noticed, beyond what I have seen posted:FP, at one point, predicted a big trade for the Nats during ST. He said that he couldn't see the OF just with guys currently on the roster. I do NOT think he had any inside knowledge, just speculating.Anthony Rendon probably needs to go to minor league camp and start to play again. I can't point to anything specific, but he looks a little star struck right now. He isn't embarrassing himself (although he should have run out that foul ball), but after such a long layoff, I think working out the kinks out of the limelight is the best thing for him right now. On the positive side, there doesn't appear to be any lingering shoulder issues, but I can't say there has been a lot of data for that conclusion.Derosa looked good. He is a critical bench guy, as the roster stands right now.Harper doesn't look as big on TV as I was expecting, given some of the media commentary. Morse – now that is a big guy.Something tells me that Werth is going to have a big year.

  27. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    I'm a Montrealer who follows the Nats passionately. But I'm rare, believe me. My friends think I'm crazy.

  28. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    ScNatsFan- To me they've only been the Nats (didn't follow the Expos). I have tremendous respect for you and other Nat fans who followed the franchise in Montreal.That's definite loyalty.

  29. DCGuy7 - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Sec 130 – put up a way to contact you, in your blogger profile. i might take some games from ya

  30. DCGuy7 - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    (as if going to 25 games this year wasn't enough)

  31. NatsLady - Mar 5, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    I don't know what the stadium situation is there, but it seems like it would be really cool if the Nats could schedule a series in Montreal, one capital city to another… I mean, if teams can play in Japan, surely this could be worked out.

  32. Cwj - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Before seeing him pitch today I was just a bit skeptical about Brad Lidge.But he showed today that he's still got that nasty slider. He also mixed in his fastball well, I thought.

  33. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    Montreal is a capital city?

  34. MicheleS - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    1A.. I think we need to have Mark clue in FP/Carp/Charlie/Dave about our sorta of bon bon/drinking beverage of choice game for B25GN, It's A marathon/not a sprint/best shape of there life game. He could do serious damage to us all, we could be wiped out before opening day.

  35. NatsSec130 - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    @DCGuy7 – Done! Email link should be up now. Thanks!

  36. SCNatsFan - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:59 AM

    I think that's a fabulous idea if there was a venue in Montreal… who knows, college was many years ago!

  37. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    The 5th starter spot can soon be debated.It may even moot in the end. After all 2/4's or 1/2 of the Nat's top 4 starters are coming off of Tommy Johns within the last 2-3 years. I hope they are luckier in that respect this year that's for sure!!! Unfortunately, as we've seen with Marquis, Zimmermann, Strasburg, et al injuries can be the rule rather than the exception which is what made Livo so valuable and how he basically became ace of the staff for almost three years. The best were hurt and the rest weren't as competent as LIvo. The guy had the rubber arm that never broke. Would have made a good mop-up/long-man/spot starter on the right hand side. Let's hope the protocols the FO has implemented to save pitching injuries work!

  38. Snooty Historian - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Motreal was capital of the Province of Canada during the pre-dead ball era.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Livo is not suited to be a reliever, he knows it better than anyone, and a spot in Houston's rotation is the best thing for him at this point. "Would have made a good mop-up/long-man/spot starter on the right hand side."

  40. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    It is early, but Desmond sure isn't helping himself and the offense looks punchless again this year. Losing badly to the worst team in MLB isn't exactly what I wanted to see.They aren't going to be the Cardinals or Milwaukee on offense. Might as well get used to that. Its not just Harper who will continue his development in the majors. Its also Ramos, Flores, Espinosa, Desmond, Lombardozzi, and perhaps Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro. They aren't rebuilding per se' as the starting lineup has 90% of its components for the next 6-7 years. But most of those components are still very young and developing. Sorry, its going to require patience on your part.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    While the Nats are playing in Montreal, the Texas Rangers can play a game against the Minnesota Twins in Washington. And the Milwaukee Brewers can play as the Seattle Pilots. Maybe the A's can play 20 home games in Philadelphia and 20 in Kansas City. As a STH of the Nats, I would strongly oppose them playing in Montreal. Ever. It's not the Montreal Expos anymore. Montreal was given a decade to keep the team and failed to step up to the plate. It's Washington's team now. Playing a series in Montreal is the most idiotic idea I've ever heard.

  42. Scooter - Mar 5, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    I'm behind on the comments, so please excuse my off-topic-itude. Zuckerman mentioned a minor-league game tomorrow. Any thoughts on where (and when) that will be? On a practice field? Thanks to anyone who can help, this being my first time here and all.

  43. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    I'm impressed Snooty. 1849.Great idea though. Could be dedicated to Gary Carter. Have Dawson, Raines, Wallach, Martinez and others there. Loved the Hawk.

  44. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Playing a series in Montreal is the most idiotic idea I've ever heard.How about playing one series in Montreal and another in San Juan, Puerto Rico, just for old times sake? Would that be more idiotic?Of course, they could do that with the Phillies series, just to further screw with their fans…

  45. SonnyG10 - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    After Stras and Gorzey gave up their gofer balls today, I thought about Detwiler and that maybe he don't feel so bad about his gofer ball yesterday.I was disappointed in Rendon not running out his foul popup. I hope one of the vets clued him in about what he did (or didn't do).I really want to see our guys smack the ball around also. I know its early, but that's what we were told last year, except it just didn't get much better.I love having the Expo fans follow our team. Its more than I was willing to do when the Senators left town both times. Anybody know where I could get an Expos hat? Do the Nats still have the rights to the design?

  46. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    What's the old line about insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results? This was the same lineup as last year. What makes you think things would be different? Optimism doesn't win games. Hitting does.

  47. Section 222 - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    When did Montreal become the capital city of Canada? Might need to inform Ottawa. As for scheduling a series there –why? It would be cheaper to fly the few hundred Nats fans left up there down to DC….

  48. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    Scooter said…I'm behind on the comments, so please excuse my off-topic-itude. Zuckerman mentioned a minor-league game tomorrow. Any thoughts on where (and when) that will be? On a practice field? Thanks to anyone who can help, this being my first time here and all.The minor-league game starts at 1 p.m. on one of the practice fields at the complex down the street from Space Coast Stadium. If you show up tomorrow, you'll probably see all of us beat writers, because we'll be watching Chien-Ming Wang make his first start of the spring.

  49. Scooter - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    Markie Zed, you are the ginchiest!I'm sure I'll see you there.

  50. Exposremains - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    Since we're talking Expos, just wanted to say that I now live in Florida and today I made it to my 1st spring training game ever. As a kid, I was supposed to go one day with my grand-pa to see the Expos play and we never made it.Today, I made it with my son to see the Nats.As for baseball in Montreal, sadly I don't think Montreal will ever see a MLB game ever again.By the way, the capital of the province of Quebec is Quebec city, my hometown.

  51. Earl - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:19 AM

    The reason you win or lose is almost always the same. And it' ain't hitting.You could look it up.

  52. N. Cognito - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    "Playing a series in Montreal is the most idiotic idea I've ever heard."You haven't been here long have you?

  53. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    Actually, that's almost not crazy enough to work, playing a series in Montreal (as opposed to Ottawa). Too soon, I think–just rubbing it in, is all you'd be doing now. But the other teams–A's games in Philly, Browns in St. Louis…didn't the Orioles play a game against the Cardinals several years back in interleague play, in the old-timey games, where they were supposed to wear the Browns unis, but the O's wouldn't agree, and let the Cards have their throwback day on their own, and wore their regular road Baltimore stuff? I could be remembering that wrong…Still, they all do wear their throwback uniforms from time to time. Why not do it during interleague play, or otherwise hit their old cities, maybe host/toast the old fans, if there are any…

  54. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:40 AM

    Aren't the Expos/Nats, the Senators/Rangers, and the Pilots/Colt .45s-Astros the only expansion teams to have moved? All the other franchises that changed cities are, if not charter league members, at least in their city from the early days of modern ball, IIRC.

  55. Bill - Mar 5, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    The Astros didn't move. They just changed their name from the Colt .45's.The Pilots moved after one year to Milwaukee, and of course the expansion Senators moved to Dallas/Ft. Worth.The expansion San Diego Padres (NL expansion 1969, same year the Expos were created) very nearly became the Washington Senators in 1973, but it was prevented at the last minute. If you go to the Stars and Stripes Club, you will see pictures of a bunch of guys in Padres unfiforms on baseball cards that were designed with the expectation that the team would move to DC.The expansion LA Angels (added the same year as the expansion Senators) "moved" to Anaheim from Los Angeles, but most people wouldn't consider that a franchise relocation.

  56. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 5:36 AM

    Must be an intrasquad minor league game? The Chiefs don't have an exhibition game there until the 15th?

  57. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    By the way, the capital of the province of Quebec is Quebec city, my hometown.The city with 5-10 times more women than men? Well, at least now you are closer to the old-school Arcadians there. Now they are called Cajuns.

  58. Big Cat - Mar 5, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Rendon looked a bit overmatched at the plate. I guess that is to be expected, coming out of college and then right to big league camp.

  59. baseballswami - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Going to ding on Johnson one more little time then I promise to stuff it for a while. Once again yesterday, just like last summer, he confessed that he mis-managed the pitchers. I know it's spring training for him, too, but this was a theme before September last year. The very things that make the guys like him can work against the team. He gets very involved in the moment to moment of the game and sometimes forgets the chess moves that will move the game foward. Also – needing to have the guys like him and needing to relive his own past perhaps keeps them from doing what they need to do. He also seems to develop clear favorites within the team – not sure if that's good. I seriously love this team and am not in any kind of panic mode – very early in spring training and some of these guys are looking seriously good already – the rest will move to minor league camp pretty quickly. I am definitely drinking the nats koolaid, just not the Johnson flavor. I am warming up to the new possible bench – DeRosa and Tracy and to some of the prospects – Purke and Rendon. Now — when is Jordan pitching? I am still in the camp that he should get the opening day nod.

  60. jeeves - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Another former Expo fan here–from the get-go. Was at opening game at Jarry Park in 1969 and at the opening at the Big O later. Got my physed degree at McGill and taught for years in the Montreal area attending many games along the way. Have been an avid Nats fan since the beginning and like a few others here have been posting since the start.

  61. Anonymous - Mar 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Swami….would you rather have Riggs? Ol Doctor Doom. You couldn't pull a pin outa his rump with a tractor he was so tight. God bless you Davey!

  62. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Bill, thanks for the correction. Pilots to Houston?? Where was I going? What was I thinking??Oh, duh. I was obviously conflating Jim Bouton's move with the team's.

  63. Sargon I - Mar 5, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Old school? You want Old School? Akkadians–now that's old school. And a capital city, Akkad, if I do say so myself.

  64. natsfan1a - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Good point. We want to be in the best shape of our life for opening day. :-)MicheleS said… 1A.. I think we need to have Mark clue in FP/Carp/Charlie/Dave about our sorta of bon bon/drinking beverage of choice game for B25GN, It's A marathon/not a sprint/best shape of there life game. He could do serious damage to us all, we could be wiped out before opening day. March 04, 2012 8:20 PM

  65. SayNoToClint - Mar 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Although I think it might be cool to have teams play games in their "original" cities, I have my doubts that the MLB marketing machine would want to go out of its way to remind the casual fan how many teams have packed up and left town over the last century.

  66. Astro - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I ruv rou, Reorge.Anonymous said… "Meet George Jettison" Dog it against the Astros and you very well might. March 05, 2012 11:17 AM

  67. Astro - Mar 5, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    ruh-ro, rong post

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