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Rattled by the Rockies

Jun 26, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg came undone in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Nationals' 4-2 loss to the Rockies last night was disappointing/frustrating/maddening/pick another adjective for a number of reasons, but let's focus on the two most significant ones…

1. Stephen Strasburg came undone during what proved to be the decisive bottom of the sixth inning.

How often does Strasburg take the mound with a lead in hand, give it back and wind up taking the loss? Well, in 31 career starts prior to last night, he had never done it.

But in that fateful bottom of the sixth at Coors Field, Strasburg (who one inning earlier had staked himself to a 2-1 lead thanks to an RBI double) imploded in a manner we had never seen before.

It began with a Dexter Fowler leadoff triple down the right-field line, then turned scary when Strasburg drilled Marco Scutaro in the headRead more ยป

222 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    With respect to streaks, I took a quick look at the 1975 Cincinnati Reds who are almost certainly the best National League team of all time to get some perspective. They only had a losing record against one team, the Dodgers, whom they beat by 20 games over all. They split with the Pirates, whom they beat 3-0 in the Divisional Series. So that is pretty top-notch. Maybe the biggest surprise is that they only went 11-7 against the dreadful San Diego Padres.On the other hand, the Reds lost four in a row, three times that year and lost six in a row once. Over all they went 108-54 and counting the play-offs, they went 115-57.The 1969 Mets are maybe a better comparison in terms of pitching and hitting with the Nationals. They had one losting streak of 5 games and several losing streaks of 4, but ended up 100-62 in the regular season and 107-63 overall. Losing streaks are part of baseball.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    Where did I back track? It was addressed to those who constantly bash Eck followed by the typical Davey loyalty clause.Go back and reread it.

  3. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Agree it will be difficult to improve the offense of this team much given the current makeup. Agree that some incremental improvements can/will be made:1. play Tyler Moore in LF/1B more.2. Move Zimm down in lineup.3. Bring up Corey Brown, let go of Nady4. Expect Morse to swing a better bat by mid July. 5. Hope Tracy, Werth to continue swinging where they left off.This, along with an amazing pitching staff, should be enough to keep us in the running and provide meaningful, entertaining games through the end of the year.Then make your moves to improve the lineup in the offseason: let go of ALR, pick up a Bourne for leadoff hitter.

  4. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    DeRosa is activated as a backup to Zimmerman in case he goes down. Davey implied that a few days ago.

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    NatsJack, I was thinking out loud on the DeRosa callup. I'm stumped. I thought it was to play infield if Zim was DL'd.

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    And I see Jeff just wrote that.

  7. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    To stay the course or shake things up? That is the question. I am dealing with that very same question in my life right now so fire away with the sage comments. Only thing is – my life does not involved millions of dollars or thousand of people watching my every move and blogging about it. Since I am frequently a pathetic person, I was looking at some pitching stats. It's kind of weird how STrassi and Gio are similar in so many areas and EJax and JZim are similar in so many areas. STras and Gio have the gaudy strike out totals, but also the walks and wild pitches. EJax and JZim have the high innings pitched and batters faced, but have given up more hits and have more ground ball outs. If our number five can do anywhere close to what those four have done, it will be awesome. By the way – their era's go in order of their spot in the pitching order. Yes – I think it's entertaining to read stats. Wanna make something of it?

  8. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I would like to see this lineup L/REspi/Lombo, Desi, Harper, Morse, ALR, Moore, Zimm, Floresbut leadoff could be a problem ?

  9. Henry Upton - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    I think the reports of Morse's demise are greatly exaggerated. He's started hitting some balls the other way with authority and the sample size is just too small to discount him yet. LaRoche is a second half hitter. History suggests He will hit another 12-15 HRs and be an asset. He sits at wRC+116 even after his awful past 40 games. The Zim situation is the most troubling. Gotta see power soon of the DL is imminent. The Nats need to get a plus hitting outfielder. Harper/Morse/?… Lombardozzi spot starts in the infield and Moore gets some ABs against lefties filling in at 1B and OF. Would the Padres part with Carlos Quentin? His stock is sky high and the Nats might not have the pieces to acquire him, but the middle of lineup would certainly look better.Go get a big OF bat Rizzo. Somehow..

  10. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Re. the 16-game season mentality, and losing to a bad team: in mid-June of 2006, a certain team (A), on a road trip, lost 2 of 3 to another team (B). After the series ended, Team A was at 38-29, and Team B was at 19-46. Despite this series loss to a bad team, Tam A evidently did not crumple like a discarded popcorn box. Its final record was 97-65, and it went on to win its division. It also played in the ALCS, which it lost. HA-HA! (Oops, sorry. I'm not all that fond of Team A, which is from a certain town, in a certain state, whose initials are both NY.) But I love Team B like crazy, and I suppose I always will (even if they did go 71-91 that year). :-)

  11. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    but I see Davey has spoken first on the lineup…Meet the new lineup same as the old lineup.

  12. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Speaking of which, is it almost show time?Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa said… Bob Fosse would have made an excellent hitting coach. June 26, 2012 4:07 PM

  13. jeffwx - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    No changes tonight for #Nats lineup that has averaged 2.5 runs with .558 OPS over last 10 games: http://t.co/K7HqS5MN 11 minutes ago

  14. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Terrible off-season. The Nats only added Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. The real worry now is the signing of Zimmerman, which I completely approved of at the time. In retrospect, and looking at Zimm's non-fielding statistics during his career, one can see why the team was a bit hesitant. Zimmerman is at the make or break point of his career and it is not clear whether he is going to turn out to be Gilbert Arenas or Barry Larkin at this point. Looking at Zimmerman's full seasons, his stats resemble another excellent fielding National very much: Adam LaRoche. Both of them are very decent guys and better than average players, but neither is a super star; I am not sure either even qualifies as a star. At least at the plate, Nick Johnson had a better year in 2006 than any that Ryan has achieved. Zimmerman has been in one All Star game. It is time to get healthy and show what he can do. Otherwise, that signing will be what truly went wrong with this off-season.

  15. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:17 PM

    I love Nick, but he's probably not the best comparison as he couldn't stay healthy.

  16. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    So today's decision is to stay the course. Seems like something dramatic always happens in Denver. Remember last year when Desi's line drive hit the pitcher and he broke his neck? Last night Strassie's loses it and beans a guy. They are not going to be happy when we arrive. Although, they did win and so there is that consolation. There was also Desi legging out a triple against his brother in law. IT on mlb just had a big discussion about team hitting slumps. They weren't actually talking about the nats, but the fish. The consensus – it happens, it's contagious , eventually it stops.

  17. Depot Master - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    If the Washington Nationals had the 16th best average runs per game (4.25) – that's just below mid range of all teams – and they had scored at least 4.25 in each game they had played, they would be 58 and 13. Enough with the 1 and 2 run outing. Strasburg had to drive in a run. Eckstein, whatever approach you are using is NOT working.

  18. Depot Master - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    If the Washington Nationals had the 16th best average runs per game (4.25) – that's just below mid range of all teams – and they had scored at least 4.25 in each game they had played, they would be 58 and 13. Enough with the 1 and 2 run outing. Strasburg had to drive in a run. Eckstein, whatever approach you are using is NOT working.

  19. William O. Douglas Loeffler - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    Yeah, but Ryan hasn't stayed healthy either, although he has avoided the horrible injuries that Johnson had. I truly loved Johnson's game.One thing that does bug me is this notion that somehow guys are going to start hitting in the second half "because they are slow to warm up" or "because they are hot weather players." The announcers keep harping on this.The problem is that there is not a lot of meaning behind such statements. What is true, is regression to the mean. So, if someone is not injured, and not old, he is likely to hit closer to his career average during the second half than to a lower average obtained early in the season. I doubt that this has anything to do with the weather or the time of the season. If it does, then I would question that player's training habits. Regression to the mean also does not cancel out poor early season performances; it simply means a rise towards more typical performance. Zimmerman and Morse are going to have to start hitting like the dickens to get anywhere close to what was expected for this year. Morse has one home run in a month or so. Adjusting for injury, he needs 19 or so more in the second half to match last year. Zimmerman has three. If was hurt last year, so let's set the target for the year before where he hit 25 If these two can match those totals then the Nats should indeed be okay. But I don't think anyone thinks such a thing is possible and the announcers should probably abandon this tiresome banter. If the two of them can hit 20 home runs between them the rest of the season, it would surely be a huge improvement over four!

  20. baseballswami - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Rockies pitching coach left today. Hmmmmm. He asked to be re-assigned. Interesting. So , who is their cy young clone tonight?

  21. natsfan1a - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    True that.Yeah, but Ryan hasn't stayed healthy either, although he has avoided the horrible injuries that Johnson had. I truly loved Johnson's game.

  22. Soul Possession, My Hitterish Sofa - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    and they had scored at least 4.25 in each game they had played,That's not fair. Nobody scores the same number of runs every game, and nobody scores at least 4 every game. To score at least 4 every game would mean your average (WAG) was about 7.5 runs (/wag).

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