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Are Strasburg starts still a big deal?

Apr 16, 2012, 2:00 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg hopes to stand tall tonight in his 2012 Nationals Park debut.

It's been nearly seven months since Stephen Strasburg last took the mound at Nationals Park, but the young right-hander who started on Sept. 23 against the Braves was not the same one who will get the ball tonight against the Astros.

Back in September, Strasburg remained on something of a pseudo-rehab assignment, his recovery from Tommy John surgery complete but his return to peak form still a work in progress. He was limited to 75 pithces, which on that day was enough to get him through only four innings. The Nationals, as a team, had long since been eliminated from contention.

So the scene should be quite different tonight when Strasburg makes his 2012 home debut. He's already flying high from two stellar starts on the road, including a career-high 108-pitch gem Wednesday in New York. And then there's the fact the Nationals currently reside atop the NL East.

But the biggest difference Strasburg may notice when he emerges from the bullpen around 7 p.m. might just be score of empty seats that areRead more »

137 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Maybe we could rename it Donkey Day.

  2. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Or Sam Wainwright day, hee-haw!

  3. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I can hear the promo now: "Hey, it's Donkey Night at the ol' ballpark. First 20,000 get a free copy of the movie Jackass IV."

  4. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    This would make more sense if it were in Pittsburg.

  5. jcj5y - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I'll be very surprised if there are fewer than 25,000 there tonight. People in DC are already paying attention to this team. Between the fast start, the weather, and Strasburg, this isn't a typical Monday in April.

  6. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    jcj5y, I agree, the buzz seems to be starting. When wearing Nats-branded gear, I get asked regularly about the team by people on the street.

  7. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Back in the day they played a July 4 baseball game while riding on donkeys. It was actually kinda boring. :-)

  8. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    There does seem to be more buzz around the team. I'm glad the Strasteria has died down and he can just play his game.

  9. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    I was excited to be a part of a large crowd. It was Friday night (opening night, in fact), a playoff contender (reds) was in town, weather was great, nats were flying high … and 26,000 showed up.In my estimation, the strasburg start gets canceled out by the night (monday v. friday), the opponent (astros rather than reds), and the alternative (caps). I predict 20,000.

  10. UNTERP - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Not anywhere as big as it was before his injury. His injury killed all his hype and mysticism, but the buzz can be rekindled with winning, not just him but the Nationals. The Five Kays starring Kay One, Stephen Strasburg…

  11. NatsNuts - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Strasburg starts are still a big deal as you get to see one of the best young talents in the game.I look forward to seeing Stras like I used to come on here every morning and read Steve's comments and analysis. Where is he?

  12. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Perhaps posting anonymously, NatsNuts, or perhaps doing well by doing good somewhere else.

  13. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Winning team, excellent weather, good press, but isn't there a Caps game tonight at the Phone Booth? 26,500+.

  14. Section 222 - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Even if only 20,000 show up tonight, that's alot more than the 11,623 that came out on Monday, April 19, 2010, to see the Craig Stammen start against (and beat) the Colorado Rockies.

  15. UNTERP - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Anonymous said… 10:30 AMI predict 20,000. I think this is close to right…

  16. MicheleS - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Well I hope the hysteria has died down, I hate fighting the crowds (HEY, You kids get off my lawn!!!). But I think buzz will generate some interest tonight, but I also think around 23K will be in the house. Caps/Astros will keep it low.

  17. Dryw - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Actually, I think the buzz is less with casual fans, for whom he was really a phenomenon as a rookie, but not among more serious fans. As NatsNut says, they are a big deal not because he is some hot new thing, but because he is one of the best young talents. He may not draw as many non-fans or casual fans now that he's no longer a novelty, but I know that some of my friends have upgraded their seats to get a better view of his home opener. Strasmas or not, he's an amazing young pitcher! (Agreed, the rest of our staff is right up there, too. Not making any comparisons–just saying Stras is fun to watch!)

  18. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I would not be so disappointed with a 15k crowd tonight given Monday, April, School Night, Astros, etc…. I would be big time disappointed if Miss Iowa made the start in SS's place.

  19. greg - Apr 16, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    it's a matter of perspective. the hysterical hype has died down. but i predict that, in the overall picture, you'll still see a bump in attendance for nights that strasburg pitches compared to if anyone else on the staff would be pitching for the same game. i know that if *i* have the choice between a night to see stras over anyone else, i'll go see stras. and if i come up close to a home game he's pitching, if i'm free i'll be likely to see if any good seats are available that night.unfortunately not free tonight. :/i actually plan (along with a couple of friends) to try to snag stupid expensive seats for one night somewhere as directly behind home plate as we can for one of his starts. after sitting on the aisle in the 6th row at RFK once in 2006 when oswalt was pitching in his prime, i want to see strasburg from a relatively similar spot.

  20. UNTERP - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Winning and the right PR, these Five Guys could have rock star celebrity in every city. They really have to win and dominate like we've never seen before, and the key part about it, it could actually happen…

  21. WebberDC - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    You folks inspired me to "look it up." The avg Nats attendance for the first weekday non-opener is 16,797. High water mark was 2005 with 24,003 v. the Marlins. Low water mark was 2010 with 11,623. Only one other game over 20K in 2008: 20,487. Interestingly, every other Nats park crowd was worse than the RFK crowds. I'm putting the over under at 15,000. Place your bets.

  22. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    No mention of the fact that the Caps are playing game three at home tonight. That has to take away at least 10,000 fans.

  23. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I think actual people in the park will be around 16,000. But because of ST count and the inflated way Nats and MLB count "paid attendance," the announced number will be around 24,562. Approximately.

  24. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Anonymous said…No mention of the fact that the Caps are playing game three at home tonight. That has to take away at least 10,000 fans.Did you even bother to read my article?…"A near-perfect confluence of negative factors are likely to keep attendance at Nationals Park down tonight. It's a Monday night game in April, traditionally the least-attended contests all season. The Astros, coming off a 106-loss season, are one of the worst-drawing visiting clubs that will come to D.C. in 2012. Oh, and the Capitals simultaneously will be hosting the Bruins in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series just a couple miles up the road at Verizon Center."

  25. Manassas Nats' Fan - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Being a Monday in April, the Caps, and the Astros all equal much less than average. Strasburg = more than average. 20,000 is probably close. However as the season goes and K Street starts happening every night, I can see attendance growing to an average of 30,000

  26. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Clueless Anon, 11:05 AM: "No mention of the fact that the Caps are playing game three at home tonight. That has to take away at least 10,000 fans."Mark Zuckerman, 10:00 AM: "Oh, and the Capitals simultaneously will be hosting the Bruins in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series just a couple miles up the road at Verizon Center."

  27. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Who cares about Capitals if SS is starting for Nationals? I don't. I would have attended the game if I was not in Baltimore working.

  28. UNTERP - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I will say this much. We could be underestimating the baseball constituency and overestimating the passive Caps fans who happen to be baseball fans who want to see Strasburg pitch. Also, tickets for Strasburg might have been purchased before anyone knew when/if or what day the Caps would be playing: 27,347 actual fans in their seats…

  29. Natslifer - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Mark – Since you appear to be reading I had a random question for you. When you do your "Nats Insider" appearances on 980, Andy Polley pronounces your last name "Zook…" (like "took") but when I tell other fans about this blog I always use "Zuck…" (like "truck") – I want to get it right – which one's correct???

  30. NatsBrat - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Go for Mark! We dedicated NI's like it when you interject a slam on a NegAnon.In other news, Nats' fans, for what it's worth early in the season, our favorite team has passed the Philthies, Metsies, Floundering Fish, and the Braveless in the MLB Power Rankings!Gooooooooooooo ZMan, Goooooooooooooooooo Nats!!!!

  31. MicheleS - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I know that some are interested, so here it is:Marlins Monstrosity Actually.. seems kind of lame

  32. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Natslifer said…Mark – Since you appear to be reading I had a random question for you. When you do your "Nats Insider" appearances on 980, Andy Polley pronounces your last name "Zook…" (like "took") but when I tell other fans about this blog I always use "Zuck…" (like "truck") – I want to get it right – which one's correct???They (usually) get it right on the air. Zuck rhymes with Book or Took, not Duck or Luck or … well, you can probably figure out the other one.

  33. Grandstander - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    lol @ Mark smacking down an Anon. Hilarious!As someone who has been priced out of a lot of Strasburg starts, I'll happily take the lowered attendance. After dealing with the crowds for 4 straight days it'll be nice change of pace to have the stadium back to ourselves for the time being.Let's play a game:Player A struggled as a starter, ultimately was converted to a reliever where he found success and turned in dominant performances amassing a 2.61 ERA and 1.063 WHIP and averaging 10.6 K/9.Player B struggled as a starter, ultimately was converted to a reliever where he found success and turned in dominant performances amassing a 1.00 ERA and 0.889 WHIP and averaging 11.0 K/9.Player A is Tyler Clippard, Player B is Craig Stammen. I'm not saying, I'm just saying…

  34. Adam - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    I for one, would much rather see Strasburg pitch than watch a hockey game anyday. But hey, I'm very biased towards baseball to start with.

  35. Doc - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    It's nice to see a long-time Nat turn it around in relief. It looked like CStam's last year in AAA put the blocks to his MLB career. It seems like Craig is more focused, and maybe using a better repertoir of pitches. Some suggestion that a past pre-professional coach provided some direct encouragement during the past off-season.

  36. sm13 - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Not only is a Strasburg start still exciting, but so is a Gio start, a JZimm start and, based on Saturday, an EJax start. This whole team is exciting. The biggest difference is that Stras is now just one of many reasons to go to the Park.

  37. sm13 - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Not only is a Strasburg start still exciting, but so is a Gio start, a JZimm start and, based on Saturday, an EJax start. This whole team is exciting. The biggest difference is that Stras is now just one of many reasons to go to the Park.

  38. The Fox - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I have to finish my taxes otherwise I'd be there.

  39. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    @George, FWIW, I think there are at least 3 or 4 distinct regular trolls who post as anonymous. They could post with their SSN and an image of their birthmark, and they'd still be here just to be antisocial, but the point is, there is more than one.You know my opinion on this sec 3. Yes, there are a number of anon's who I believe to be Oriole fans … or frustrated Redskins fans. The two aren't dichotomous they seem almost to be the same type. But, in the end, I have been here the longest. And I still see people trying to ram their fists down JayB's throat for his posts. Do you actually believe they are being "social"? "Courteous"? If you do we were raised differently … and I still remember getting reamed from all directions for pointing out the great performances of a AAA player in Syracuse named Michael Morse who had just been acquired for Langerhans. Beyond offensive and insulting.So, I just love to turn on alt.flame mode and use the rapier I have sharpened to nice point from those halcyon days of System High when the Internet needed no security. In my opinion many of these people deserve it and then some. You and these others sit here on high bemoaning anon's without looking at your own posts! Which too often are ridiculous in their poor comportment? Its no wonder this country is as polarized as it is today making us one of the more dysfunctional democracies. Its sad. I remember that preacher who used to post here … and has since left. He left after I pointed out how disturbing his posts were coming from someone of the cloth. What a poor example he was … far, far worse than anything I've ever said. Blogs aren't for everyone and he is a better man for it. All of you need to look in the mirror before pointing out someone else's flaws. All that's served by being sanctimonious is to fall as easy prey to my alt.flame rapier. In summation, YOUR perception isn't necessarily the right one sec3 I am sorry to say. And you need to consider other possibilities.And just so you know, this is my first post of the day. And BTW, you've posted at least 30 times between these two posts? And people used to hammer me for posting too much claiming I needed my "meds"? Are you off of your meds Sec3? Hmmm?

  40. Tom in AR - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    My world is rocked.Rhymes with book and took? Trying to get my brain around this.

  41. Jim Kurtzke - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    At least there will be shorter lines for beer

  42. MicheleS - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Did anyone go into the new Fairgrounds this weekend? Just wondering how it was.

  43. NatsNut - Apr 16, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    What a relief that the Strasburg hype has died down. If it was stressing ME out, I can't imagine what it did to him. His time away in rehab probably helped, but the increase of the talent of the rest of the team helped too.Go Nats!

  44. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Not yet, MicheleS, but will probably check it out at my next game (Sunday).

  45. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Ha, even the Marlins announcer called it The THING! Let's just keep the Thing quiet when we're there, OK, K-Street Boys? Just keep it quiet.

  46. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Thanks, MicheleS. It's even more grotesque than I'd imagined, plus it made me dizzy at first. Now J.A. Happ is the answer to a Carmen Miranda Memorial Home Run "Artwork" question. :-)

  47. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I'm in shock because I just finished my taxes. Last year I filed 'em on October 15, which is the deadline if you get an extension. What am I gonna do with myself all summer if I don't have "you really should look at those forms" nagging at me?Oh, yeah, go to baseball games.

  48. jcj5y - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    The attendance today might also be an interesing insight into how many more season tickets the team has sold this season. The front office has strongly suggested that sales are up significantly. A bigger attendance number tonight will confirm that, and perhaps give a clue about the magnitude of the increase.

  49. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Bold anon aka Periculum definitely needs to get back on his meds. Meanwhile, Sofaboy needs to cut back on the drink and get off the couch. They both post too much.

  50. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    NatsLady and Natsfan1a should dial it back a notch too. Their schtick is way tired.

  51. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Fox, get an extension and then worry about them taxes right around playoffs. Oh, wait, maybe that's not the best strategy. Might be worrying about them Nats on October 15!

  52. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Bold anon aka Periculum definitely needs to get back on his meds. Meanwhile, Sofaboy needs to cut back on the drink and get off the couch. They both post too much.Sorry pal, you just don't own a rapier … ~smiles~ likely as not given the level of intellect behind this post, you never will. Chimps can be taught to type.

  53. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    I don't think bold-Anon and Peric are the same person. And I'm going to work, so enjoy.

  54. Candide - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Well, there will be at least two people there tonight – Cunegonde and me. Section 219/C. I have to get there earlier than she does, so if anyone here plans to be there, let me know; I hate drinking beer alone.

  55. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I must denounce myself for missing that Caps game reference in Mark's post. Read it, missed it.

  56. Feel Wood - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    You know how we'll know when the Strasburg hype machine has jumped the shark? When Strasburg bobblehead day outdraws an actual Strasburg start. Should happen tonight.

  57. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    I don't think bold-Anon and Peric are the same person. And I'm going to work, so enjoy.You just never know NatsLady. That's part of the fun and a measure of revenge and vindication after being called out so often when I tried to follow **their rules*** … ~smiles~

  58. lesatcsc - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I wonder how much longer the Nats can continue to get virtually no offence from two outfield positions and keep winning. So far, not counting Werth and Lombardozzi (I'm not sure which games he's been in the OF) Nats OFs are hitting .142 with 3 doubles, a HR and 5 RBIs. That isn't going to cut it for long. Nady, Bernadina and DeRosa have been flat out awful. So far those guys have been spared a huge amount of scrutiny because the pitching has been so good. But sooner or later their complete lack of productivity is going to have to be addressed. If this team was 3-7 with those performances, folks would be calling for their heads already. It hasn't helped that RZimm and Espy have contributed little offensively thus far, but one's sense is that they will eventually get going. There is nothing to suggest that what we're seeing from the OFs isn't all they have to offer.How long do the Nats keep that trio failing away before they give Brown or Moore or even Harper a try? It's not like any of them could do much worse.

  59. Bowdenball - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    If they draw above 20,000, it would be surprising and obviously a tribute to the fact that either Strasburg or this team is a serious draw. This is pretty much a perfect storm of low attendance. There's all the reasons that Mark listed, which are plenty, but also the fact that the team is coming of a four game home series that included the home opener, a bobblehead giveaway and a weekend. ANYONE in town who wanted to catch just one Nats game would have done so already.

  60. sjm308 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Good morning peric! I am not always in agreement with you but it would just be easier to know which post are yours. You do this on Nats Prospects and for a brief while you did it here. In the scheme of things its not huge but you do have to agree that most anon posts are A. negative B. not well thought out. Like I said, I don't always agree with what you say and you certainly have the right to post how you do. I just wish once and a while you would consider another point besides yours without being mean or sarcastic.Looking forward to starting a new streak tonight with the solid blue hat, red small block W from 1953 – 1960. I believe this is the last block W hat as they went to curly W after this. This is the hat that my favorite Senator, Eddie Yost, wore and I have an 8 x 10 of him picking up a fake ground ball while smiling. I also have EVERY single baseball card of Mr. Yost(even the final years with the Angels & Tigers). Agree with Jim K. the beer lines will definitely be the shortest of any SS start.Go Nats!!

  61. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    How long do the Nats keep that trio failing away before they give Brown or Moore or even Harper a try?Brown is in the everyday lineup. But his best spot is CF. He's a lot better there than Harper is. While Harper appears to be better in right. Still, Harper is going to be in CF 2 out of 3. Moore is going to get left field every third game. Right now Teahen is the hottest hitter but if you're in need of raw power Moore is picking up where he left off in Harrisburg with improved plate discipline.They see what's going on in the majors and they are hungry. Honestly, if you ask me Jayson Werth should be worried about becoming a high paid bench player. I'm not sure but I think the Lerner's would come to accept that given that a good bit of that deal falls in their lap more than Rizzo's.

  62. Bozo - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Brian Bixler's in town. That guarantees 30 grand in attendance.

  63. UnkyD - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Sofa related:" Someone (I forget who) said of them, that if you talk to Chico for five minutes you'll think he's the greatest guy in the world. If you talk to Harpo for five minutes, you'll think you are. Great line."———————-(sigh…….) would that I could live well enough to have this said of me….. Thanks PFB.

  64. sjm308 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    MicheleS – I hit the "fairgrounds" for the Sox exhibition game. It was nowhere near complete. In walking by on opening day they were still working on the vending booths. For what its worth my critique would not be that positive. Good – music was excellent and the stage a lot larger. Seating is ample. Beers are cheaper but no drafts, they do have the large cans of Boddington which will do. Food was good since it was all food trucks and a huge variety but I don't think the food trucks are going to be a normal thing. I missed the dogs and sausage on the grill and maybe they are going to do that later. Bad – no shade, no TV's showing other sports, no draft beer, no dogs on the grill.Again, this was way back for the exhibition game and I would have to think its better. I still like Justin's Cafe for great craft beers and their happy hour price of $3 can't be beat. No Miller Lite, Coors lite or Bud for those of you that want that sort of thing.OK, back to baseballMy vote is the rapier/Bold anon is peric but who really cares.

  65. sjm308 - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Bozo – hate to break it to you but I think they sent Bixler down when their SS came off the DL

  66. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Thanks for the fairgrounds info, sjm.

  67. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I just wish once and a while you would consider another point besides yours without being mean or sarcastic.As sec 3 has surmised, its all a part of the game … using the rapier I honed so long ago on those who seem deserving. The problem is sometimes I get that last part wrong. So, you are right. More often than not I make posts like those about how I thought Lannan wasn't what everyone thought he was. Is that negative? But I also pointed out using similar stats that Morse was a lot better hitter than Jason Heyward when both entered the majors simultaneously. Sure, Heyward is younger but Morse was better? And its not like the Nats had a Heyward they were developing why not try Morse. You can well imagine the vile bile that was spewed in my direction. Insufferable obnoxiousness is a "schtick" it adds extra oomph to the rapier when it is used upon those deserving souls who hate it when I'm right. Personally, I don't care either way as long as the Nats win. But I do favor Davey's approach of using the minor leaguers, the guys working hard down in the farms first over diminished rental veterans. And some can be too expensive trade-wise and financially. Jayson Werth is a good example. I suppose I do like to defend it a tad too zealously. Let's face it as NatsLady points out, 39 year old Mark DeRosa seems a poor fit in left field especially when he isn't hitting. Sure seems like Bernadina should be there for now.

  68. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    The Astros optioned Brian Bixler to AAA on April 12. Sorry.Bixlerhttp://www.rotoworld.com/player/mlb/4944/brian-bixler

  69. Bowdenball - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Anonymous 12:24:Werth is at .350/.447/.450 on the 2012 season with a 1.000 fielding percentage. I know everyone likes to make a scapegoat of the free agent with the big deal and the name that lends itself to bad puns, but what say we stop with the Werth hate for a while? At least until he's no longer 4th in the NL in OBP.

  70. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Although, in the ex-Nats category, they do appear to have J-Max on their 20-man roster.NatsLady said… The Astros optioned Brian Bixler to AAA on April 12. Sorry. Bixler

  71. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    25-man, rather.

  72. UnkyD - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Espi: .333 OBP, 7 runs, through 10 gamesZim: .313 OBP, 9 runs….They're not hitting, yet, buy they ARE producing offense…………… It hasn't helped that RZimm and Espy have contributed little offensively thus far, but one's sense is that they will eventually get going.

  73. Slidell - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Last August(?) for a Dodger game, there was a negative weather forecast for a Strasburg start. Only about 10K showed up. So, apparently even for Stras, the stars have to be in conjunction for a big crowd.

  74. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Did Brett Carroll pass through?

  75. UNTERP - Apr 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Bowdenball said…Well, if we can't hate Werth, who are we going to hate? There's gotta be someone to hate. I don't want to say anything positive about Werth, really. I would jinx him, so may the hairs on his chin turn vile and Petrified…

  76. DFL - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    I wonder how long Corey Brown can be kept at Syracuse. His 11 walks and 3 of 4 steals are impressive.

  77. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Mark I think you're underestimating the buzz this team has. Strasburg is no longer the novelty he once was, but the team overall is drawing more crowds, and the crowds are 'better' in that they seem to be watching the game rather than taking photos of themselves in key moments. I'm a STH to both, and selling Caps playoff tickets at face value was not as easy as you would think it would be. The idea that everyone would be rather watching the Caps was more true in 2008 than it is now, in my opinion.

  78. Section 222 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    You know how we'll know when the Strasburg hype machine has jumped the shark? When Strasburg bobblehead day outdraws an actual Strasburg start. Should happen tonight. Ha! Funny. And the number of bobbleheads given out (allegedly 15K) may exceed tonight's actual attendance too.

  79. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Hmmm, well Bixler got optioned but I think JMax is now with the Astros. Hope we don't see him at the plate with the bases loaded … that's usually when he hits his homers in the bigs.

  80. waddu eye no - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    mark z – way to bite back.

  81. jeeves - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Okay, I think I'll become an anon. Their posts get far more attention than do mine. ( says Jeeves, a grievious and somewhat sulky look written all over his face)

  82. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Werth is at .350/.447/.450 on the 2012 season with a 1.000 fielding percentage. I know everyone likes to make a scapegoat of the free agent with the big deal and the name that lends itself to bad puns, but what say we stop with the Werth hate for a while? At least until he's no longer 4th in the NL in OBP.And what's his ISO because that is why he is batting fifth? Its .100 which is alarming … but its still early. He is not hitting as many line drives and is hitting far more grounders a sure sign of decline if it continues.Werth is blocking younger players who could be a lot better, who have a higher ceiling. He looks more and more like a good bench player in 2013. Which is what he was when he went to the Phillies.

  83. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Everything that is being said against Werth:http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=werthja01&year=2012&t=b#bases::noneHe has been lucky no doubt about it but once hitters before him start doing their job, even his career norms would produce good numbers across the board for Nats.

  84. Section 222 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    But I do favor Davey's approach of using the minor leaguers, the guys working hard down in the farms first over diminished rental veterans.Is this Davey's approach? Sure, he did it in September (Peacock/Milone over Livo, Lombo getting ABs, Marrero at 1B), but isn't he the guy who absolutely had to have DeRosa on his bench and elevated him essentially to a regular spot in the lineup once Morse went down? I do agree, however, that Bernadina should start over DeRosa/Nagy, at least against RH pitching.I think you often overestimate the success that the guys who are raking in the minors will have in the majors. I think Rizzo and his staff have a pretty good sense of who is ready and who isn't. I think we'll see Corey Brown at some point, probably a lot sooner than Harper, and a whole lot sooner than Moore in LF. But that's just a guess. As for your self-titled "rapier," I think it's alot more impressive to you than to your readers. You might want to consider that before wielding it with such glee. The blood spatter tends to obscure the often good points you make.

  85. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    222, just curious, why do you call Xavier Nady "Nagy"?

  86. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    off-topic again: without looking anywhere, do you think National League games last longer than American League or not? I just want to know general perception regarding it.

  87. Section 222 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    222, just curious, why do you call Xavier Nady "Nagy"? Typo, sorry. I did pronounce with X in his first name though. But you probably couldn't hear that. :-)By the way, I heard back from my ticket partner who attended umpire school a decade ago about the missed call at 1B yesterday. Here's what he said. Confirmed my suspicion on the likely reason he missed such an obvious call."This is one of the harder calls a first base umpire has to make. Usually you go on sight and sound, but when the first baseman jumps or comes off the bag, sound is gone. He’s got to look at the swipe tag first and foremost, because if the batter-runner is tagged before reaching first (regardless of when the first baseman’s foot comes down on the bag), the batter-runner is out. So there was a focus on the tag and that’s protocol. The manager should have said something like this when he came out: “I think you got it right that he missed the tag, but I think when you were looking at that, it made it harder for you to watch the foot, which I think clearly came down first on the bag. Would you be willing to ask the plate umpire for help as I think he had a pretty good view.” I don’t know if Johnson made this request or not. Maybe the umpire said he thought the foot came down too late, or maybe he said that he wouldn’t check with the plate guy (if Johnson asked)."

  88. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Milone's last start Saturday: IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA (L, 1-1)6.0 4 4 4 2 5 1 2.57

  89. avar - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Merry Strasmas everyone! Wish I could be there.

  90. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    As for your self-titled "rapier," I think it's alot more impressive to you than to your readers. You might want to consider that before wielding it with such glee. The blood spatter tends to obscure the often good points you make.As my chemistry professor used to say "I grade with a rapier". Its an analogy to a weapon that actually doesn't make a lot of blood and isn't as messy as a sword.

  91. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    FS, you might find this 2010 post from Beyond the Boxscore interesting.

  92. Bowdenball - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Anon 1:16-Yes his ISO is down, but if you are getting a .447 OBP with solid defense you tolerate it. In fact a .447 OBP with no power and solid defense is an all star for sure, maybe an MVP candidate. Sure it's early, but that's the point. So far he's contributing beyond anyone's wildest dreams. Presumably the OBP will drop and the slugging will rise as the season goes on, but let's not bury the guy while he's playing like an all-star, OK?I love tracking the young guys too but let's remember that AAA excellence doesn't translate to automatic performance in the bigs. If it's power you're looking for, Brown almost certainly has less of it than Werth, and in any event he's more of a CF, where our need is far greater. Moore is making his first start in the OF. And the rest of the young talented outfielders are a few years away. Werth may be a nice fourth OF option towards the end of his deal in 2016 or something, but projecting it for 2013 is completely off the reservation. He'll move to left when the time comes to make room for Harper and either Brown or a FA CF, but he's staying there for a few years, and Nats fans should be glad to have him there so we can focus our resources elsewhere.

  93. Gonat - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Section 3, My PFB Sofa said… Perhaps posting anonymously, NatsNuts, or perhaps doing well by doing good somewhere else. April 16, 2012 10:39 AM ________________________________Sec3, I got a text from him after Saturday's game. SteveM basically said he needed the break from posting. Unfortunately I am partially to blame for his departure when I spoke out of turn on the Lannan trade rumors in mid-March.

  94. A DC Wonk - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Well, there will be at least two people there tonight – Cunegonde and me. Section 219/C. I have to get there earlier than she does, so if anyone here plans to be there, let me know; I hate drinking beer alone.I'll be there — Section 310/A — and sjm308 said he was going to be there. So did MicheleS if I recall. (Michele, where?)As for early April attendance — if we're going to compare to last year, we should compare the weather, too. If it's going to be a nice May evening tonight (yeah, I know it's April, but the weather is May), that ought to help attendance, no?

  95. lesatcsc - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    ANON 1:16How can Werth be "blocking" a better younger player with a higher ceiling when we currently have two OF spots without regular incumbents? Wouldn't those positions have to be filled with productive ML players before you could say that Werth (with his .350 BA) was "blocking" someone?

  96. UnkyD - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Gonat: thanks for the update! Please pass along my fond regards, in you chance to communicate with him before he ends his hiatus. I hope he enjoyed the first ten, as much as we did…;-)

  97. SweetBlues - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Went to all four games BUT, not tonight — off topic- called season ticket line & told red carpet awards cards will arrive in week and a half.. I mentioned that I was told the same thing a week and a half ago…… Due to the "complexity of the cards" they are taking longer… Dusted with gold?! What??? Which makes me feel really bad for all the season ticket holders who have to use that stupid old uncomplicated card…

  98. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    thanks sec 3. good post and good blog. that's gonna keep me busy for a day or two.

  99. MicheleS - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Wonk.. Not sure where the tickets are. I don't have these tonight (someone else's)

  100. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Likewise, Gonat, thanks. Although I doubt it's your fault he's not posting.

  101. Gonat - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    UnkyD, I just texted him. Hopefully he posts his email or phone number so you can contact him directly or gets active on Twitter

  102. Candide - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    A DC Wonk said…I'll be there — Section 310/A — and sjm308 said he was going to be there. So did MicheleS if I recall. (Michele, where?)Okay; I need to scope out available seats for an upcoming afternoon game; gotta stay out of the sun for Cunegonde. After that I'll head over to the scoreboard pavilion for a beer. White tee with big curly W in chest center, red Nats cap, jeans, green backpack. I bear an alarming resemblance to MASN Sports' Dave Johnson, but better hair… http://masnsports.com/images/Dave-Johnson-Formatted.jpg

  103. Gonat - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Sec3, I appreciate that. When I made that post about Lannan it was over a weekend and I knew Steve didn't post on weekends. I thought I was getting the word out and didn't realize that it was very preliminary and died quickly after they got Pettite. My mistake. No more rumor mongering by me (except on Twitter)

  104. A DC Wonk - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Trivia of the day (if it hasn't already been mentioned):From Kilgore:Per the Elias Sports Bureau, Edwin Jackson became the first starting pitcher since 1901 to win a game for seven different teams before turning 29.What I'd really like to know, however, is how often in the past decade or two have we seen a complete game in just 92 pitches?

  105. Erik - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    I agree that sooner or later Werth will become a bench player if Rizzo has the guts to do it. He is clearly a player on the decline and just doesn't have the ability he had a few years ago to drive the ball and steal 20 bases. He is what he is at this point…a 3rd/4th OF on a good team. By July, I am guessing we have 5 guys for 4 positions (including 1B) with Morse, Harper, Werth, LaRoche, and Moore/Brown. Rizzo has also long been after BJ Upton, so by next year…who knows??? Not trying to pile on Werth, but he could become the John Lannan of the OF by next year. All of those "intangibles" that he brings to the team are what I like to refer to as "kooky talk." He has the 12th highest salary in baseball and like the 23rd highest in all of professional sports. He is making the same amount of money as Matt Kemp, Roy Halladay, Miguel Cabrera, Troy Tulowitzki, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and twice as much as Alex Ovechkin. Pardon me if I'm not "ecstatic" because he is hitting .350 with 0 HR and 5 RBI with a large chip on his shoulder. Maybe he should stop popping out with no outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. He gets one of those in yesterday and the Nats win!!! Alright…so maybe I'm piling on a little bit…sue me. If Werth is such a "team player" as everyone says he is, why did he leave his "team" in Philly for more money in DC. If he cares so much about winning as many of you say he does, why not give back some of your salary to help improve the team. It is all about the money. If it wasn't, he would still be in Philly. When he hits .300 with 30 HR and 110 RBI and steals 20 bags and wins a gold glove while leading this team to the playoffs…I will admit I'm wrong!!! Let the piling on me begin!!!

  106. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    It's possible he's not in decline, that this is who he was all along, but he benefited from the park and the lineup he hit in in Philly. This was discussed at great, near endless length when he was signed, so I don't need to go into it again here, but if that's it, then maybe he'll level off at something workable. We can hope. Sorta.

  107. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    I was at that game on Saturday along with 40k of my closest friends – and Jackson really was impressive. Amazing what you can do when you stop tipping your pitches :)But seriously folks, we have several pitchers who have the opposition swinging early this year – Jackson, Stammen, Lidge, and of course Strasburg. Maybe its partly the opposition – I mean the Mets and Reds are not exactly the Yankees and Red Sox when it comes to plate patience. But, I've seen more three pitch strikeouts in the last week than I think I saw all last year. The Lannan's and Livo's are wonderful pitchers, but they needed 5 pitches per batter just to get to strike 2.

  108. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    But speaking of taking the money, what I'd really like to see is Adam LaRoche having a better year than Prince Fielder. Or Albert Pujols. I'd enjoy that.

  109. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Stop with the Werth on decline stuff. He had a bad year. Lot's of players have bad year's. I remember back in 1983 I got married – now that was a bad year. (rim shot)

  110. Mark'd - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    EJax swing and miss for a whole game was nuts. He had the Reds looking like Danny Espinosa.Stammen faced a minimal amount of batters as a 2 trick magician. Can't do that as a starter.

  111. Feel Wood - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Due to the "complexity of the cards" they are taking longer… Dusted with gold?! What???They are saying that in 2013 that for STH the Red Carpet Rewards card will literally be our ticket to the ballpark, i.e. we can get into games with just our card and not need a physical ticket. (Although I hope they continue to provide the paper tickets, since that's how I keep track of what games I have tickets for, what time, etc.) If that's the case, the cards must be more than just a piece of plastic, like Metro SmartTrip cards for instance. Perhaps that's why they take a while to make. Information unique to each holder needs to be embedded in the card.

  112. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    So – has anyone seen the video of gio and ejax at the mlb fan cave about what they would do for Jordan on his pitching day? They actually try to get his dog to pee – it's hysterical! I think you can find it on that "other " blog.

  113. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    Maybe he should stop popping out with no outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. He gets one of those in yesterday and the Nats win!!!I think Werth should worry less about whether Teddy wins or loses and more about his own individual performance. He's really not holding his weight in the #5 spot and should be moved to #6 putting Ramos or Flores into that slot.

  114. Erik - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Headed out to the park tonight…does anybody think they will have the Caps game on anywhere in the stadium. Stars and Stripes Club? Red Porch? Hopefully Stras pitches a 2 Hour gem and I can catch the 3rd period.

  115. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    You do realize Werth is top 10 in batting in the NL right?

  116. Mark'd - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Halladay vs Lincecum in SF tonight. Hope to watch that after Nats game.

  117. whatsanattau - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    also 4th in OBP, tied for 3rd with most hits, …

  118. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    I think fans need to come to terms with that most free agents, Werth included, will not be able to match their contract. Werth more so, because he was admittedly overpaid to make a statement about DC baseball. Yes, he makes as much as Kemp and all. We knew that a year before, no point in repeating that. Unless our OF prospects pan out, I refuse to see him as a burden.

  119. Mark'd - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    My buddy was tweeting away on his Verizon phone on Opening Day and my ATT phone was frozen.Any ideas to use the phone or do I have to change carriers

  120. FS - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Mark'd, that's a WS match-up. But worried after Tim blew up in his previous two outings. I might watch it thuogh.

  121. blovy8 - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I wonder how many balls it'll take before Carpenter mentions the 108 pitches. Hell, he'll say it before they even start.I'm thinking extra period/innings for Caps and Nats games. Good channel surfing night.

  122. Frediemac - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Does anybody know where to get a Nats Schedule Magnet that was givn away during the Boston game?No go on Ebay

  123. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    also 4th in OBP, tied for 3rd with most hits, … Keeping in mind that the Nats over all have had 370 PA which leads the majors by a pretty good margin. The ISO of .100 says it all. Balls on the ground. Not in the air are where the hits are coming from. They can also lead to double plays. He isn't getting around on the fastballs and he is often late in his swings at those. He is still looking like a player in decline by comparison to his years with the Phillies.But, again, its early. But at age 33 given his previous year at the plate which wasn't as bad as the BA would have you think … but certainly not that of a #5 hitter in decent lineup.

  124. Mark'd - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    No doubt Werth is looking better, need to see his power stroke. I do like that he is more agressive and working the BABIP. Besides LaRoche and Desi's HRs, there was Nady's wall scraper and after that not much long balls.Here's my take, many on here were worried about CF, Desi, Espi, Werth and LaRoche and 3 of the 5 are coming through. Zim and Ramos will improve greatly. Morse will return.CF will be what it is until the trade deadline or a promotion from AAA

  125. Anonymous - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Werth more so, because he was admittedly overpaid to make a statement about DC baseball. Yes, he makes as much as Kemp and all. We knew that a year before, no point in repeating that. Unless our OF prospects pan out, I refuse to see him as a burden.THEY ARE beginning to "pan out". And even still I don't see Werth as "burden" except in the sense of making the owners skittish about spending on a position player in the FA again. He is a good player and his offensive numbers do have a positive affect. Just not enough to warrant a starting position over Bryce Harper who looks most comfortable in right field right now. Again, his numbers are more aligned with a good bench player. Then there's Tyler Moore, Chris Marerro, Corey Brown, Eury Perez, Destin Hood … but we'll have to wait and see how that all plays out.

  126. natsfan1a - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    PSA: I can't go but tomorrow is the first $2 ticket Tuesday:

  127. erocks33 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Werth is having a good start to the season. His power numbers aren't there yet, but then practically no one on the Nats has been crushing the ball (except maybe LaRoche).Also, please try and remember that Werth got paid for what he accomplished in PHI, not on what he was projected to do in DC. It would be nice if he could put those same types of numbers up on a continuous, yearly basis for the Nats, but that really is unlikely.Remember, he was brought to this team to satisfy a couple of points:1) that the Nats weren't going to be afraid to pay (or overpay) for FA's anymore2) that the Nats needed a consummate veteran professional in the clubhouse to help bring most of the new young players in line on how to play the game the right way, on and off the field.So, in that regard, I think the Nats are 2 for 2. Also try and recall that Werth's numbers in PHI were not inflated due to the other players hitting in their lineup. For most of his last three seasons in PHI, Werth mostly batted 5th or 6th in their lineup. Which means these were the hitters that typically followed him night after night:Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Ben Francisco, Brian Schneider, Wilson Valdez, Paul Bako, Eric Bruntlett and Chris Coste.Not exactly murderers row there …

  128. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    They are saying that in 2013 that for STH the Red Carpet Rewards card will literally be our ticket to the ballpark, i.e. we can get into games with just our card and not need a physical ticket. (Although I hope they continue to provide the paper tickets, since that's how I keep track of what games I have tickets for, what time, etc.) If that's the case, the cards must be more than just a piece of plastic, like Metro SmartTrip cards for instance. Perhaps that's why they take a while to make. Information unique to each holder needs to be embedded in the card. Wait, I just saw this. STHs are going to have to treat this like a credit card. I sense the possibilities for some massive problems. Don't get me wrong, I'm as big a fan of electromagnetism and binaries as the next guy, but if I lose a paper ticket, I'm out one ticket. I lose this thing and my identity is at risk. Or it would be, if I weren't anonymous.

  129. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Remember, he was brought to this team to satisfy a couple of points:1) that the Nats weren't going to be afraid to pay (or overpay) for FA's anymore2) that the Nats needed a consummate veteran professional in the clubhouse to help bring most of the new young players in line on how to play the game the right way, on and off the field.Maybe we could have a QR code on the side of the blog that carries this, and we could just refer to it when needed.

  130. Bowdenball - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Anon 3:55-Plate appearances don't mean squat for his OBP, where he's 4th in the NL. We get it. You're worried about his power so far. But if you're going to extrapolate his current power numbers after ten games for the whole season, then you HAVE to do the same for his current OBP. And if you do that, he's a superstar even if he doesn't hit a single home run. You can't just assume that some numbers will continue but others will not. Unless you're not interested in rational discussion, and prefer hopeless pessimism or unfairly trashing Nats players. That's not what you're aiming for, is it?

  131. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Waddu eye no– I posted on the other thread. I'm game on the NI Singers, if we can find a time to rehearse. Sunday afternoon/evening is best for me. Perhaps after the Marlins game?

  132. NatsLady - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Also, four part harmony would be nice, though I don't care since I'm a soprano and sopranos don't do harmony (unless you want a descant). You know how prima donnas are.

  133. A DC Wonk - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    Bowdenball, way to sum it up well.In fact, let me take _your_ comments and extrapolate some of the neganon arguments here:- Bad numbers on guys we like to hate will continue (e.g., Werth, 0 HR's)- Good numbers on guys we like to hate will not continue (e.g., Werth, .354 BA)- Bad numbers on our heroes will not continue (e.g., R Zimmerman, .179 BA)- Good numbers on our heroes will continue (e.g., Stras, 0.69 ERA)Got it?But, I get confused sometimes. For example, MPHRod has ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.92. Now, I don't know if we're supposed to hate him (in which case he can't possibly be this good), or if he's on the good-guy list (in which this is is obviously an indication he has matured into a great relief pitcher).

  134. A DC Wonk - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    NI Singers? Y'all need some guitar to go with that? ;-)

  135. dabassguy1 - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Or bass guitar?

  136. Section 3, My PFB Sofa - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I'm normally a baritone, but I'm working on my on-bass percentage.badabing!I'm here all week!

  137. waddu eye no - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    sec 3 – PFB – b for bad :-)nats lady – let me see if i ever hear back from the music guy and i'll keep everyone posted. no promises, but good to know there's interest. stay tuned

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