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Once again, Strasburg all business

May 20, 2012, 11:38 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
A crowd of 41,918 got Stephen Strasburg to take a curtain call after homering.

Perhaps one of these days — when he throws a no-hitter or throws the final pitch of a pennant-clinching victory for the Nationals — Stephen Strasburg will offer up the kind of display of emotion few have ever seen from him.

For now, there's very little that can happen on the field to break through the stone-faced visage of a 23-year-old right-hander who expects the very best from himself and isn't about to publicly celebrate his accomplishments.

Strike out seven of 10 batters over a four-inning stretch? Nothing. Club the first home run of your career and be summoned by an overflow crowd of 41,918 for a curtain call? Just give a quick tip of the cap. Find out your manager revealed you were were dealing with some kind of arm trouble? The exterior expression still doesn't change.

"I just think that's his thing," teammate Danny Espinosa said. "He doesn't show emotion, and that's good. If things are going good or bad, there's no emotion shown, which to me is an even-keeled guy."Read more ยป

  1. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 20, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    Stras is going to be a cornerstone of the franchise for a while (we have rooms for lots of cornerstones).

  2. JamesFan - May 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Love this tough, no nonsense, get it done attitude.

  3. baseballswami - May 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    JamesFan – don't you mean Natitude? He has it in spades. I heard somewhere that he is a good golfer and that swing looked a little like a golf swing. Sounds like a lot of players golf – any correlation with the swings? It's just interesting.

  4. Doc - May 21, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Let the history of BB players and golf show, baseballswami, that pitchers make the better golfers. Notable exceptions are Mike Schmidt, who seems to have as much skill in golf as he did between the white lines.Why pitchers?? My own pet theory is that they are more unilateral dominant(demonstrating straight preference with, eyes, hands and feet) on one side of the body. If this theory is correct then right-handed pitchers 'should' make better golfers than lefties. Lefties tend to be more mixed dominant–hence the possible reason for them to traditionally take longer to develop as pitchers.Hitters tend to be mixed dominant, which allows them to track moving balls better, but seems to lessen their skill with hitting a golf ball.

  5. baseballswami - May 21, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Well, Doc – that was quite a comprehensive answer. After some of the posts I have read today that were, shall we say, a little aggressive? – this was a breath of fresh air. Made sense too! SS strikes me as the type of guy who has to beat everyone no matter what the game is.

  6. peric - May 21, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    I think Davey Johnson ( he who enjoyed crushing Earl Weaver in golf) might take exception to your theory Doc.

  7. MicheleS - May 21, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    What a nice win! I wonder if Stras gave Harper a little bit of grief about that outfield error. I am sure that the other guys did.

  8. peric - May 21, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Hopefully, the 2, 3, 4, 5 of Harper, Zimmerman, LaRoche, and Morse will wake up and find they are good and go on a hot streak together. Looks like Desi is destined for #6 or #7 depending on who hits better, he or Espinosa.T'would be nice if Espinosa learned what Corey Brown seems to have learned: this year in AAA: how to walk a lot, strike out a lot less, and still hit homers and extra base hits that drive in runs.

  9. peric - May 21, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    What a nice win! I wonder if Stras gave Harper a little bit of grief about that outfield error. I am sure that the other guys did.A lot of that is likely Harper's belief that Tyler Moore couldn't handle it. Bryce needs to learn he can't be everywhere on the field I guess. And Morse needs to get back so that they can send Tyler Moore back to Syracuse to get full-time play in both the outfield and first base.

  10. whatsanattau - May 21, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    I am such an over the top fan of Michael Morse, that I can hardly contain myself until he gets back. I hope he sticks with Take on Me for the walk up music for nostalgia, but whatever, I just want to see him go into Beast Mode. And on a completely separate note, Strasburg may be the best hitting pitcher on the team, but Wang can run the bases better than SS and GG.

  11. Section 222 - May 21, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Not to reignite an old dispute, but if NatsFanJim is still reading, the infamous Morse doubleswitched after hitting two home runs games was on July 23, 2010. The Nats lost 7-5 to the Brewers after being up 5-1 after 4 innings following the second of Morse's two home runs. Riggleman doubleswitched Morse out in the 6th for Willie Harris. I remember screaming at the TV when it happened.

  12. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    (Sec222 — nice find! I was looking in 2011 and couldn't find it!)peric wrote, regarding Harper's error:A lot of that is likely Harper's belief that Tyler Moore couldn't handle it.Nahh, I don't think that was it. I think he thought it was right in the gap, and a combination of the wind and that it was slicing away from him, caused it to keep drifting over further than he anticipated. Since Bryce had already called for it, it would have been awkward/difficult to then say, "no, you have it." (since, generally speaking, once the CF calls for it, the LF/RF is supposed to step away).

  13. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    RZ back?He's still not totally on track — but:Since he came back from the DL (May 8-May 20) he's batting .294/.390/.392Why is Davey playing Espi so much?In Espi's last 12 games: .279/.326/.565

  14. whatsanattau - May 21, 2012 at 3:34 AM

    Espinosa is a talented guy with a lot of potential but strikes out 33% of the time. It's too many unproductive outs. Maybe Davey can get him going, but As a left handed batter he is still struggling too much. OTOH, Citizens Bank Park could be the remedy he has been looking for …

  15. whatsanattau - May 21, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    Kendrick, Haladay, Hamels…

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Thanks to Doc and his Theory of Unilateral Dominant. I had actually thought that was the reason we were in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I can now see I was wrong.Next time I'm sitting next to some greasy Philthy fan, I'm going to run this Theory of Unilateral Dominant by him to get his feedback too.Won the last five times at CBP. Let's make it six straight, Mr. Gio.

  17. NatsLady - May 21, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Mr. Detwiler, pay close attention."It was almost like deja vu, especially after what happened the previous game," [Srasburg] said. "I wanted to go out there and do a better job of not letting that affect how I attack hitters. It was nice to be able to go out there and adjust from it and keep the team in the ballgame long enough for us to put some runs on the board."

  18. MicheleS - May 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Section 222…. thank you for the research! I have a feeling that discussion will probably resurface when we play the O's again.

  19. natsfan1a - May 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. natsfan1a - May 21, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. natsfan1a - May 21, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    In reading through the game thread after the fact, the "debate" struck me as trollesque. The commenter would say things like "I just want to watch the game," only to bring up the former skipper again later. Add in the name calling, and you just might have someone looking to yank a few chains. Just my opinion. I fed in managerial stats Saturday afternoon, but I'm done with that now.

  22. Joe Seamhead - May 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I started to jump into the fray yesterday and decided that it wasn't worth my energy. I really try not to continue trashing our former manager. The one thing that I will say on the subject is that I get the impression that virtuallly every ballplayer in our locker room would take a bullet for our current manager. Let's just say that wasn't always the case. I find the decision to move Espinosa to leadoff to be rather curious, but it worked okay for one game, after sitting him for one. Like I've said before, Danny needs to sit for a bit, but he will be a very positve offensive force before all is said and done this season.He's already a positive force with the glove, of course.Also, more then a couple have said that the Nats aren't quite ready to be serious playoff contenders until next year. I am not ready to concede any such thing yet. If we can get through June, and stay close, we have a great chance of playing a 90+ win season. Much will ride on Morse and Storen's return,and also who gets called up. Additionally, Harper's progress is important. He has a lot to learn about playing the OF, but he has all of the tools to be great. Add Jayson Werth's return in August, along with a call up of Corey Brown, and we will have a logjam in the OF. The future is looking bright, very bright indeed.

  23. NatsLady - May 21, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    "Trollesque" — I like it! For me, it was "scrollesque," plus another scroll-by handle for my collection.

  24. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    >I find the decision to move Espinosa to leadoff to be rather curiousIndeed. I read somewhere that it was just to give him more at bats as he works out of his slump.FWIW

  25. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 21, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    My two cents on the Espi thing: it was a chance to get him in the game against a soft-tossing, mid-level (at best) lefty. Right-handed, Espi has been just bad, not the atrocious batter he is left-handed. Grandpa Davey's goal at the outset was for Lombo to get 300 at-bats. I think that's still the case. Espi would be arguably worth continued play because of his stellar defense (not that Lombo is bad). But I think they prefer to spot Espi against lefties as he is less embarrassing at the plate right-handed.

  26. NatsLady - May 21, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Wonk, read the same about Desi, so maybe that's a clue to Davey's thinking on slumps.

  27. natsfan1a - May 21, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. natsfan1a - May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    On another note, perhaps somebody who comments over on WaPo (which I no longer do because of their interface), might wish to point out on the Bog that SS was announced over the PA system as the player of the game, and that he seemed to have handily won that vote. When I was submitting my ballpark text vote, he was at 85 percent on the scoreboard. (I've never submitted a player of the game vote via a number posted on the televised broadcast – do they even do that on Nats MASN broadcasts?) May 21, 2012 9:12 AM

  29. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I get a chuckle out of the slash line for this Nat:.375/.412/.750I'm sure most of you can probably figure out who it is. For the few who can't . . . enjoy the puzzle. ;-)

  30. hiramhover - May 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Sunshine – agreed.Also, it's worth remembering that altho Lombo is a switch hitter, he's weaker from the right side than the left. A few years ago, while he was still in the minors, baseballprospectus suggested he was a "SHINO"–switch hitter in name only. That's too harsh–his splits improved substantially last year at Harrisburg and Syracuse, and he got a hit off a leftie yesterday. But in limited chances so far in the major's, Lombo's splits are: as LH vs RH: .326/.389/.384as RH vs LH: .118/.167/.176So it probably seemed like as good as any to get Espi some ABs.

  31. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Another great stat of the day:Number of games that the Nats have scored 0 or 1 run: 6Number of games that the Yankees have scored 0 or 1 run: 9(and the Yanks get the benefit of playing with an extra hitter — the dastardly DH)just sayin'

  32. Gonat - May 21, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Did it really work with Espi? Struck out on 3 pitches to leadoff the game. 2nd at-bat after following Stephen Strasburg who got a hit, Espi makes contact and finds open area down the line after he failed to get the bunt down. Espi was in a 1-2 count when he grounded down the line on a 72mph curveball.Just because it worked in the end, it was another case that Espi was supposed to bunt and couldn't get the bunt down. The end result was better but I'm not going to agree that 39 starts that Espi has had to work out his problems plus all the Spring Training games has been fair to the team or his teammates or the fanbase or to Steve Lombardozzi.I was one of those who laughed when people were penciling in during ST Espi at SS and Lombo at 2nd. I guess they were 1/2 right.Danny has now had 7 productive games out of the 40 he has appeared in. I'm not a big WAR fan but many of you are. His BBRef WAR is a negative at -0.6 and -0.2 on FanGraphs.If you use Philly rookie Freddy Galvis as the median, he's at 0.7. My guess is that Espi vs. Lombo has cost the Nats 2 wins this year.

  33. NatsLady - May 21, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    I get a chuckle out of the slash line for this Nat: .375/.412/.750Time for Rizzo to consider putting this Nat into the outfield so his bat can be there every day? Oh, I guess not, because of this statOpponents are hitting .214/.274/.292 off him.

  34. A DC Wonk - May 21, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Well, done, NatsLady! (I found that stat on a site _you_ recommended a few weeks back, and which I try to look at briefly every morning ;-)

  35. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Since moving the 2B to lead off the team is averaging 7 runs a game. I know a small sample size, but a good start. When Morse comes backLombo/Espi (vs righties/lefties)HarperZimLaROcheMorseDesmondFlores BernadonaPitcher.Ankiel can me on in after Morse bats in 8th inning as a defense replacement if we are winning.

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