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An ace still learning on the job

Jul 15, 2012, 10:53 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg improved to 10-4 with six scoreless innings.

MIAMI — It’s easy to watch Stephen Strasburg mow through opposing lineups and forget how young and inexperienced he still is.

Sunday’s start in Miami was only the 35th of Strasburg’s big-league career, the equivalent of one full season. He’s been through so much and has so much talent, you tend to think he’s as polished as they get.

But there is still much for Strasburg to learn, another level for him to reach.

“What is he, 23 years old?,” Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty said. “He’s got six weeks in the minor leagues. This is an awful tough level to learn at. He’s got tremendous ability, and he’s still putting up some pretty good numbers. But he’s going to have his moments and his games where we might see things that he doesn’t necessarily see. That’s why I always say it’s a learning process. He’s got to see it himself.”
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  1. MicheleS - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    It is going to be so much fun watching him pitch over the next decade.

  2. NCNatsie - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Anybody know where he stands all-time or among active pitchers after 35 starts as far as strikeouts, strikeout to walk ratio, ERA?

  3. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    MicheleS said… NCNatsie, it's probably the Nats, they never show controversial plays on the Big Board at the game. July 15, 2012 5:14 PM _____________________________It is definitely a MLB policy of not showing controversial plays as they don't want to agitate the fans.The Red Sox actually got an in-game complaint and MLB called the team about showing a controversial replay on the big screen.http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/08/mlb-yelled-at-the-red-sox-for-replaying-a-close-play-on-the-fenway-scoreboard/

  4. Gonat - Jul 15, 2012 at 11:23 PM

    NatsNut said… speaking of Chad Cordero, isn't he throwing out the first pitch on Friday? July 15, 2012 4:27 PM _____________________________I have that as the date on my calendar. Is there any Nationals press release on it? Should be a big day to get there early! CHIEF

  5. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Can you even imagine how good he will be when he learns how to fully use his talents? I hope Clip isn't honoring the chief with his closer theatrics ; )

  7. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    Hope there's a chance for H. Rodriguez to pitch tomorrow. Maybe he could bean Guillen in the dugout. Not that he could hit anything he aimed at, but there's a chance one of his 99 mph grenades could end up in there.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Ok, there were posts on today's game thread that basically said he was tired,and a little less then he was before his TJ surgery. I tend to agree but, 23 years old and six weeks in the minors along with TJ? I say what a good day to be me as a fan of the Washington Nationals!

  9. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Ok, there were posts on today's game thread that basically said he was tired,and a little less then he was before his TJ surgery. It wouldn't be such a big deal were it not for the criteria associated with the innings limit. These kind of starts could indeed lead a mid to late August shutdown for Stras. Then you have a problem because 75% of Stras is worth 250% or more of any pitcher in rotations of the recent past (excluding Zimmermann last year) starting with John Lannan.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:21 AM

    I agree with you,peric, as I agreed with other posters. Fact is, Stras is a National treasure that I am thoroughly enjoying watching pitch. Having been around many a baseball coach that abused one pitcher after another, from Babe Ruth League to college ball, I am skeptical of every coach. Most would run over their own grandmother to win a game. Somehow, in spite of my experiences, I trust these Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson guys.

  11. mick - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    joe seamhead, kudos to you my friend… as a former pitcher and a coach myself, I can tell you that you are spot on about this. Davey is a class act and both Rizzo and him get it.Believe it or not there are some very good coaches who fortunately have saved the arms of many young pitchers, notably, legendary DC Coach Buddy Burkhead. Coach Buddy has been coaching in the DC metro (Police Boys Club Eight and St Alban School)since the 1950's. I bet some of you in here may know him or have even played for Coach. His one rule with pitchers that goes back to the 1950's is that if you don't tell him your arm is sore or if you try to pitch and he thinks your faking it, you never pitch again for him that season. baseball needs more Coach Buddy's and Davey Johnson's

  12. Joe Seamhead - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. Doc - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    Until SS fully recovers from TJ, the fastball with be the easiest to control–it's also one of the greatest pitches in MLB. He was amazing to watch today.He only walked one today, so it was more of a case of being wild in the zone.I accept Rizzo and Davey's intentions to limit SS's innings this year; but it would be even more to the point, and kind of neat, if we could get an orthopedic specialist to give NI a qualified opinion on the matter. It wouldn't have to be specific to SS (patient confidentiality issues, etc.), but TJ recovery in general.Watching The Kid track down and hold on to that foul ball, after running over Lombo, was fun baseball too! As long as these guys stay healthy, Nats' fans have a lot of great baseball to watch over the next few years.

  14. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    Lots of guys on the DL, others banged up, rookies filling in, one of them is 19, 3 starting pitchers who have never pitched a full season. This is just insane. It 's fun, but really crazy. I am trying to enjoy the ride, but I am listing myself as day to day.

  15. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:07 AM

    I trust these Mike Rizzo and Davey Johnson guys.Its brain-damged simple: Davey is OLD. He doesn't care about what owners, GM's Selig, fans, etc. think about him at all … exponentially less than years before I'd hazard. He genuinely enjoys bringing these particular prospects up and turning them into major leaguers. He started watching them three years ago and he struck up a good rapport with Mike Rizzo while watching them grow. Rizzo and the ownership are on the same page. From a business perspective it hurts them over the long-term to abuse pitchers the way the Pirates did Tom Gorzelanny under Jim Tracey. It costs money and in the end you really don't win any more games … as someone put it getting to the WS is a crap shoot. The Cardinals did it with mediocre to pretty bad pitching … SF did it with great pitching. Its about building a system and a process for producing major leaguers; graduating minor league prospects. Strasburg is far too valuable to baseball to waste his arm on a single year as Riggleman did with Kerry Wood, even though to this day Wood will tell you that was what he wanted. Did the Cubs make it that year? No. But they might have put something together in the following years … and with Hoyer and Epstein they MOST definitely will. I bet this is exactly how the Cubs will play it from here on out. They are going to give long suffering Cubbie fans something for their money … finally. It behooves the Nats to ensure they stay the course and stay in there close to the top of the heap because you never know what might happen when the heap breaks up during the playoffs and every team attempts to get to the WS.

  16. peric - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Lots of guys on the DL, others banged up, rookies filling in, one of them is 19, 3 starting pitchers who have never pitched a full season. This is just insane. It 's fun, but really crazy. I am trying to enjoy the ride, but I am listing myself as day to day.Hopefully, with more on the way to follow those three. We can now add Lucas Giolito and his 100mph to that list.

  17. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    I swear everyone they draft is photogenic, charismatic and a high quality person. How do they do it?

  18. baseballswami - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Oh, and pretty darned good at baseball!

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    While this might make some posters to this site heads explode, with John Lannan scheduled to pitch tonite for Syracuse, that sets him up to start in one of the DH games next Saturday against the Braves in DC.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    It would have to be the Braves, right, Jack? I actually wouldn't be shocked to see him give us a quality start if that happens.

  21. Feel Wood - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Lannan will be motivated on Saturday. I expect good things out of him. Perhaps they should have him start both games.

  22. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Which reminds me, what *is* Matt Chico doing these days? Last I heard he was in an independent league in New Jersey.

  23. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Here you go, sec3 (credit ask.com for the assist).

  24. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Story on the signing here. It also mentions another former Nat (someone whose sinker induced the vapors in a former WaPo beat writer).

  25. natsfan1a - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    OT item from the bio of the piece's author:"During one of my first shifts at a newspaper, my editor stood up and cursed out his computer for what seemed like five minutes. It took a few more weeks to realize this type of behavior isn't all that unusual at newspapers."Oh, so professional deportment is similar to that in the indexing field, then. :-)

  26. Tcostant - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    We're back to the "read more" links to CSN site. I thought we were past this, I guess not…

  27. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Mick,Thanks for the Buddy Burkhead shout-out. I'm also one of his former players, and I still see him almost everyday. He's one of the people who kept baseball alive in DC during its 33 year hiatus – a great coaching presence in this area who impacted many who went on to coach themselves. As you may know, the field at Guy Mason was named for him a couple of years ago.I thought Solano showed again yesterday that his receiving skills are sub-par. The guy I'm most concerned about right now is Morse. I know he got two hits yesterday, but he does not look right to me. There's an indecisiveness to his ABs that's troubling. I can't tell if it's mental or physical but he's not staying behind the ball and driving it like he can. I hope it's just a confidence thing, and he'll snap out of it. My concern is that it's lingering lat/oblique issues.

  28. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    My take on the Ozzie/Bryce thing… Ozzie overreacted completely, but Harper does have the habit when he gets into the box of pointing his bat across the plate, raising it up, and then staring at the barrel intently. I could see how Ozzie, sitting in the 3rd base dugout and probably not having focused on this ritual before, interpreted it as Harper trying to show him up. It was a misunderstanding fueled by Ozzie's short fuse. I doubt anything will happen tonight.

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    #4……Morse has no problem driving the ball in bp. I watched him Friday and Saturday pummel that hideous structure in left center and land balls in the weeds that serve as a batters eye in cf over the 18' wall above the 418' sign.He gets to thinking way too much but yesterday showed some indicatoons that he's coming out of it.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    indications

  31. TimDz - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I agree with NatsJack…Morse's issues appear to be between his ears…(Mark…hopefully the spam issues have been resolved..if this post stays put after I refresh the page…I think I'm good)

  32. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    That's good to hear, NatsJack. I agree with you that he thinks too much. You can see the wheels turning every AB. "Quit thinking. You're hurting the ball club" comes to mind.On a side note, have you attended any of the Florida Collegiate League games at Alfond? If so, how's the quality of the league? Somehow I got on their email list – maybe as a Rollins baseball alum – and the league seems intriguing. They didn't have anything like it when I played.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    #4…… The league is about 5 years old now. Two seasons ago, Davey managed the Sanford River Rats and my buddy Gator John and I went to most of their home games as beer was sold by Hooter's girls for $3.00 each. Crowds get to about 200 – 300 and the quality of baseball is about like short season A ball.I haven't been to Alfond this year because I'm too enthralled with the Nats and refuse to miss a telecast.

  34. Sec.3, My Sofa - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    1a, thanks for the Chico link, and the York story. Nice little park, that one. Sorry to see he's doing so poorly, though–getting clobbered in what amounts to a semi-pro league is pretty far from The Show.

  35. #4 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    NatsJack – Thanks for the report. I'm envious of the current college players. So many of these leagues have popped up for them. I'm sure it's a great experience. Somehow Hooter's manages to find their way into all things sports and Florida.

  36. Feel Wood - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Somehow Hooter's manages to find their way into all things sports and Florida.You're complaining why?

  37. mick - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    #4 god bless ya, lol

  38. mick - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    feel wood… hooters was the only reason I would go to Camden Yards before DC baseball came back, lol

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