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Delayed dominance

Aug 22, 2012, 5:08 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Stephen Strasburg improved to 15-5 with six innings of one-run ball.

As an out-of-nowhere cloudburst doused Nationals Park and a crowd of 33,388 during a 51-minute delay in the top of the third inning Tuesday night, Stephen Strasburg did whatever he could to stay loose and ready to retake the mound should the skies part and this showdown with the Braves resume.

On the advice of pitching coach Steve McCatty, Strasburg went to the batting tunnel below the Nationals’ dugout and threw about 15 pitches. Then he retreated to the clubhouse for a break. Then he returned to the tunnel for another 15 throws. Then back to the clubhouse for another break before finally both teams were summoned to the field for the resumption of play.

“It’s my first time really dealing with the rain delay or anything,” he said. “Cat kind of coached me through it.”

The way he responded to the interruption, perhaps Strasburg should try to incorporate that new routine into all of his starts. He actually got better as the night went on, tossing six dominant innings to lead the Nationals to a 4-1 victory and a 7-game lead over its lone remaining challenger for the NL East crown.
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  1. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:33 AM

    Hello from SF,Great to see Nats add another W to their record. Probably catch up on highlights tomorrow.

  2. sm13 - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    It was good to see Stras perform well under adverse conditions. I began to worry when the rain began but Stras could not be distracted last night. 7 games up! Wow!Go Nats! Sweeeeep!

  3. SonnyG10 - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    I vote he keeps pitching and watches the golf channel :)

  4. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Here is my morning question– Suzuki just got here so he doesn't count– have all our position players , plus three pitchers, hit home runs? I can't think of anyone who is not a pitcher or Suzuki who has not hit one out. Am I correct? Is that usual? I really don't think it is. I was just doing some pondering about how any single person on this team can hurt you offensively. EJax and Det need to step it up.

  5. Steady Eddie - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Swami — EJax has gotten 8 hits and scored 5 runs at .195,tho no ribbies. It's Det who needs to get on the stick with only 2 singles at .065 and no runs, tho he did have that key 2out walk in the 11th vs the Mets back in June.

  6. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Swami – it would be bigger news if someone that played regularly did not have a home run by now.I am not going to go through each team but I would bet there might not be a team. Even Suzuki has 3, just none with us, and he has averaged 10+ in his career.What is unusual is that almost all of our position players have 10+ homeruns and if you look at Desi and Espinosa, their power for middle infielders is excellent (especially with the time off for Ian). For HRs, I did a quick check over at espn and we are 10th in MLB, 3rd in the NL and way over the NL ave of 116 with 134. Not sure if they included last night. Was amazed that the Yankees have 192 which is pretty powerful.Go Nats!

  7. MicheleS - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    JoeS/Candide/NatsLady?Anyone know the rules for the Parking enforcement by the cement Plant? I parked in a marked spot last night, but still got a $20 ticket. OY! (but only $2 more expensive than the regular parking)

  8. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    This is how much time I have. Just for Swami, I went to the HR totals at espn. Looks like the Giants are the worst with 77. Went to their roster and one of their subs, Ryan Theirot has 0 HR's. He has only played in 87 games though and basically backs up the Panda at 3rd and also plays some 2nd.Went to the Dodgers who are 2nd lowest with 79 and every one of their position players has at least one. That's my research for the day.Go Nats!!

  9. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Thanks for the HR info, guys. That was fast! Just seems to me that almost every team has at least one light-hitting guy on the roster. Our middle infielders are beasts. I also know that most of the time you would not expect Lombo to homer, or three of your pitchers. Also did not know that Suzuki hit three this year. He looks like a pretty weak hitter. If he just gets in sync with our pitchers then I don't care.

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    3 W's to matching the 80 wins of 2011.

  11. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I vote for watching the golf channel. Hope you have a great time in the city by the Bay, Faraz. Maybe you could bring home a loaf of real sourdough bread for me. And maybe some See's Candy. Nah, that's okay. I'll get 'em next time. :-)

  12. alm - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    That was FUN – except for the 51 minute rain delay.Stras mentioned that the game reminded him of his debut – and I agree. He got the applause as he walked from the bull pen before the start – though not as much as the debut. The stadium was not a sell-out but 33+K is a lot better than the 21K on Monday. The crowd was into every pitch and every strike.Stras mentioned after the game that the last time Jesus homered, he went back-to-back, but that they got him with 2 sliders. I was looking for the HR from him in that at bat. Love those knee-buckling curves to righteys.It was interesting to see Rizzo out on the field hussling the field crew, other team and umpires to get the game going at the end of the delay. 7 up on Larry and his Braves.and 7-3 in games attended this year (stinkin' Yankees).Go Nats – Lets sweep.

  13. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Ghost – I was just chatting Nats with my son yesterday and we were commenting that ordinarily we would be on "winning season watch" at this point. I have to admit that was my goal for the team this year – winning season, finishing no worse than third, hopefully second.I thought it might be behind the Braves and Phils. Did not see this coming. It's so nice to have imaginary friends who are so quick on the stats to test out theories!

  14. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Alm, my hubby and I are 6-2 for Nats games attended. otoh, with three different baseball buddies I'm 0-2 with another game postponed due to rain. I think my husband needs to go to more games with me. :-)

  15. MicheleS - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    normally, I would post a link to a story, but here is the sports section of the AJC. Read it and read some of the comments. I think the Legion of Doom has moved over to the Braves.AJC Website

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Baseballswami, it is fun li ing this together. When the Nats signed Gio and EJax it added + WAR. If you started counting from that 80 wins and added improved starters I think you get to 85 to 88. Additional wins would have to come from what I talked about was the added offense to get those add-on wins.Add in the intangibles of positive mental attitude, cohesive clubhouse, and making your own luck and that leads to the ultimate success.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    baseballswami, living this together.

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    We are now to the Braves what the Marlins once were to us. We live in their heads. Two down, one to go.Stras likes the cooler weather. He is murder on the Marlins because they provide him with an air-conditioned climate-controlled pseudo San Diego to pitch in. It was cool with low humidity last night. If the Nats enclosed Nats Park in a dome SS would go undefeated at home.Now that Danny has slowed down, Desi has heated up. Now that Morse has cooled off, Werth and ALR have picked it up. And Ryan continues to blister oppo pitchers to the tune of .350, with power, since that magical cortisone shot.If the Nats can make it to 40 games over .500, they will finish 101-61. They could do it.

  19. natsfan1a - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Some Davey love from Reid at the WaPo.

  20. alm - Aug 22, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Thanks MicheleS for the AJC link.Reading the Brave’s fans comments is like a flash back to 08/09, a BAD flash back.Here are some of the better quotes:The only leader on the team can’t even get on the field in the biggest game of the year… Somebody get the number for Smoltz’s shrink…He’s a terrible baseball player (Uglaa)… 2 years isn’t a slump it’s a lifestyle… Maybe if Uggla and Freeman would lay off the cheap booze and even cheaper women… Could never beat the Phils when we had to in years past. Can’t beat the Nats. Same old, same old… The Braves just got leap frogged by the Nats after Philly got old… Stick a fork in the Braves! They are done! The September slide is on.And my all-time favorite: “The team (NATS) that owns us like a paid-off Ford”

  21. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    A shout out to the Nats relievers, who are now currently on a streak of twelve consecutive shutout innings (last eleven of them against the Braves). And that's with using every pitcher in the bullpen! The Nats have a T-E-A-M!I mentioned yesterday, I'll mention again, since folks are talking about the power of our middle infielders — the NY Mets radio announcers on Sunday were marvelling that the Nats had two middle infielders who were both potential 20-20 men (20 HR/20 SB).

  22. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Imagine if 5 years ago, a soothsayer said to all of us on NI, "In August of 2012 there is a 50/50 chance the Nats will win 100 games and finish with the best overall record in MLB"

  23. Robert Duckham - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    MicheleS the city has parking restrictions in the area around the stadium. All parking spaces around the stadium are closed. If you want to park a car in a DC parking space you have to park on the senate side of the capital and walk.

  24. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    mick, I have believed it although I thought 2013 was the year. All you had to do was look at Tampa Bays system and actually spend some money and you could get there.It really is the blueprint StanK set out except people weren't believing.Rebuilding from near zero to this has been amazing.

  25. 95southNatsFan - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Quick comment about Flores (Mark's prior post mentioned his frustrations at the plate). I think he's been stellar this year. He caught for almost a month straight in 100 degree heat. His hitting stats during that time are irrelevant. He's not a power guy like Ramos, but he's quicker behind the plate.Without Desi's dazzling year, I would lean toward Flores as a team MVP. Not based on stats, just based on heart and competence.

  26. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    well said Gonat, well said!

  27. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Wonk, good shout out!

  28. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Wonk… I second what Gonat said about your shout out…. a very under rated point as well, what the bull pen is doing is unprecedented!

  29. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    95southNatsFan said… Quick comment about Flores (Mark's prior post mentioned his frustrations at the plate). I think he's been stellar this year. He caught for almost a month straight in 100 degree heat. His hitting stats during that time are irrelevant. He's not a power guy like Ramos, but he's quicker behind the plate.Without Desi's dazzling year, I would lean toward Flores as a team MVP. Not based on stats, just based on heart and competence. August 22, 2012 9:13 AM ___________________________________You shouldn't be reactive and use 1 great game to say he has had a stellar year. He has had a resilient year in which he gutted it out for the team and shown a lot of heart.Flores is what you see when he is playing rested. Better than most backups but once you make him the starter, he can't keep up with the daily rigors of what it takes.

  30. Swift Eagle - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    Haha…Michele the Atl Legion of Doom even wants them to dump McCann!..I'd take that…Of course, our local Legion has already fired Davey and Rizzo a few times, moved Zimmerman to 1st, DFA'd Desmond and Espi, and I'm pretty sure they wanted Werth put in jail for larceny…

  31. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I think the pen knew that Atlanta was widely considered the best in the Majors and the Natties came into this series with a chip on their shoulders.Impressive!

  32. Swift Eagle - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Right on the money about Flores Gonat…Davey knows exactly how to use him properly, and 6 days a week ain't it…

  33. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Swift Eagle said… Right on the money about Flores Gonat…Davey knows exactly how to use him properly, and 6 days a week ain't it… August 22, 2012 9:23 AM ______________________________Yah, its hard to accept players like Flores and Bernadina and Stammen who are better as backups and thriving in those roles.

  34. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    By the way, last night was the most runs Maholm has given up since June 23rd.Time for the Nats to give Medlen a rude welcome to DC also.

  35. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Swift Eagle said… Haha…Michele the Atl Legion of Doom even wants them to dump McCann!..I'd take that…Of course, our local Legion has already fired Davey and Rizzo a few times, moved Zimmerman to 1st, DFA'd Desmond and Espi, and I'm pretty sure they wanted Werth put in jail for larceny… August 22, 2012 9:22 AM _________________________________To read back through old posts, both positive and negative, is sometimes foretelling, sometimes enlightening, and sometimes disturbing.Read through especially after the Nats didn't get Prince Fielder.

  36. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Once again with the Nats – it's the team. You cannot expect any one or two players to carry a team throughout an entire season. Or any pitcher for that matter. They go through natural ups and downs in a very long grind of a season. When you have a balanced team, then those ups and downs are not as pronounced as the baton can be passed back and forth. Morse is icey cold right now after his hit streak. Desi is heating up.Teams that try to rely on only one or two people are in big trouble when they go cold or get injured. And now for my daily Lombo shout out — just love that rookie!

  37. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    So, why didn't they walk Flores, who even before tonight had gone 3-for-6 with two home runs in his career against Maholm?It was not that Strasburg, who followed, was a good hitting pitcher.It was that there was only one out, and Fredi Gonzalez said that he was concerned about the next guy — Werth, who also hit Maholm well in the past, and has been on a hot streak of late.I agree with him. I'd rather pitch to Flores with a base open than Werth with two outs and bases loaded any day of the year.As I wrote last week (when Werth got called an overpaid bench-player singles-hitter), and I still agree: there is nobody I want up, with bases loaded and two outs, than Werth.With less than two outs I might take Morse or RZimm . . . but with two outs, I want a guy who has an eagle eye and can take a walk. I want a guy who has an OBP of over .400, and there's only one of them on the Nats: Werth.

  38. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Oh – forgot this — even though this will poke a sharp stick in some of your eyes. Did you see the mlbtv story about Billy Hamilton breaking the stolen base record? I saw the kid play earlier this year and he is not only fast, he has great timing,instincts and an explosive first step. His manager is — Jim Riggleman. If you saw the clip, there he was congratulating his guy.

  39. The Fox - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Not on topic but the A'a pulled off an around the horn 5-4-3 triple play last night. The last one was 10 years ago so if you want to take a look here's the link.http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8291493A win tonight would really put the Braves behind the 8 ball so to speak ;-)

  40. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    A DC Wonk said… As I wrote last week (when Werth got called an overpaid bench-player singles-hitter), and I still agree: there is nobody I want up, with bases loaded and two outs, than Werth.August 22, 2012 9:39 AM _____________________________________I go by the stats and Desmond is best in the Majors with 2 outs and a man on 3rd. Next I would take Werth or LaRoche. Wish I could say Bryce Harper but hoping he finds himself.

  41. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    The Fox said… A win tonight would really put the Braves behind the 8 ball so to speak ;-) August 22, 2012 9:43 AM _______________________________I like that!

  42. Joe Seamhead - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    MicheleS said… JoeS/Candide/NatsLady? Anyone know the rules for the Parking enforcement by the cement Plant? I parked in a marked spot last night, but still got a $20 ticket. OY! (but only $2 more expensive than the regular parking) August 22, 2012 7:44 A.m.————————————Michele, I was talking to the guy selling bottled water over there last night and he said the other day the DC Parking Enforcement wrote tickets for everybody parking on the street where the parking lot is and across from the Heliport. There is no signage that says that you can't and I have parked there with no issues for 3 years. Now all of a sudden there's a problem. He said you beat the ticket if you take it to court, but for $20 I'm wouldn't bother. I parked against the barricade about a dozen times over the last couple of years and got a ticket earlier this year. I also parked on the street Sunday with no ticket. Last night I parked around the corner with no problem. It is getting harder to find free spots. I talked to a cop down there and they aren't the ones writing the tickets, it's the parking commission.

  43. Gonat - Aug 22, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Joe – That heliport by the way is mostly used for the Secret Service to take dignitaries down South Capitol St. to the Capitol building.

  44. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    MicheleS — re: parking — if you can walks a few blocks: our family's custom is to park in Lot HH for only $5. ($10 for premium games). Works for us. (Or, even when we had an 82-yo mother-in-law: we dropped folks off at the entrance, then went to park there).

  45. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    "I go by the stats and Desmond is best in the Majors with 2 outs and a man on 3rd."That's different from two outs and bases loaded. That's sort of my point. With a guy on third, if there is an empty base anywhere, a walk doesn't do much. But it's a different story if bases loaded.I'm guessing that sample size is too small for that specific situation, however . . . .

  46. MicheleS - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    So apparantly some Nats Fans are getting a bit sensitive. Rosenthal wrote a snarky column on SS and is getting hit for it on twitter. I highly recommend reading it, tongue is firmly in cheek!SS ColumnI tweeted to him that Nats fans are a wee bit sensitive because some talking heads are telling us we shouldn't be fans of the team with the shutdown coming. His tweet back to me:Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_Rosenthal@AshburnNatsFan ignore the noise and enjoy the seasonSage advice, so lets ignore the noise and enjoy the season!

  47. Steady Eddie - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    To amplify DC Wonk's well-deserved call out of the bullpen, I'd like to focus it on two guys who have really stepped it up — Michael Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny.That's not in any way to disregard or disrespect the stalwarts — Clip, Stammen, Burnett (who I especially love for saving his own career by his move to the side of the rubber last July), Mattheus, and Storen's return to form. They're the heart of the pen, even more so by doing what we know they're capable of doing under the tremendous pressure of a pennant race.But Gorzy has previously been the innings eater who invariably gives up an add-on run or two, and MGonz was the decent pickup who was a little too inconsistent and — as a third BP lefty — was a luxury who was going to be gone when Storen or Tracy or Werth came off the DL. In the past month, both of them have come through when we needed them to and I think the rest of the BP squad has really supported them and helped them reach another level. Don't have time to do the stats but I suspect a comparison of their last 3-4 weeks to the previous 4-6 would show a significant bump up in performance.Anyway — just another appreciation of all the ingredients that have gone into making this the phenomenal TEAM (yeah you right swami) they've become.Boy, is this fun! (Being baseball, I know there will still be downs before the end of the season's story. I'm just relishing the moment.)

  48. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Swami – it was fun looking that homerun stuff up so no need for thanks, but I appreciate itWonk – we are so together on the Werth comments. I believe they also wanted to use him as the 3rd catcher while sitting on the bench.Swift Eagle – DO NOT go over and tame the Atl. legion of doom – let them stew and rant and waste all that energy. You will have enough work with our own legion – I am guessing we will have a small slide at sometime in the next 30 games but with this staff, I can't see it lasting long. What might be troublesome is if we lose two or three in a row immediately after SS is shut down.I need help from NI friends. Guy at the gym is constantly putting down our lads. Last couple of comments include "they will fade soon" "can't see them finishing ahead of the Braves" "Zimmermann is hurt worse than you think" – he is a Boston fan so I let most of it go and just talk positively about what we have done so far. He had a comment yesterday & I have not heard this before. He claims he has knowledge that the Lerners will overrule Rizzo and demand SS pitch into the playoffs for the money it will generate. I honestly did not know how to answer that. Any thoughts. Thanks in advanceGo Nats!!

  49. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Steady – those are terrific comments and made me think even more about Gonzalez – what a great story to go from the closer on one team to almost being out of baseball to where he is now! Its just one story but each guy in that bullpen has had adversity. Clipp & Stammen were failed starters. You already mentioned Burnett saving his career. Storen is coming back from surgery. Gorzo has had multiple roles. Maybe the only one who has not really looked at failure in the eye and bounced back is Matheus and he is just a baby. We might not have the best bullpen in the majors but I sure would not trade the entire pen for another teams. In the past, when we would fall behind I would pretty much give up hope but with the pen and our offense I still think anything is possible no matter what inning.Go Nats!

  50. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    He claims he has knowledge that the Lerners will overrule Rizzo and demand SS pitch into the playoffs for the money it will generate. I honestly did not know how to answer that. Any thoughts. Thanks in advanceMy two responses — depending on the audience:1. Do you think that the Lerners, after being this patient, and seeing that "trust in Rizzo" is working out so well, will suddenly overrule Rizzo, and the doctors, on this — destroying their own credibility, Rizzo's credibility, the team's credibility, and possibly messing up a potential Hall-of-Fame pitcher? Yes, the Lerner's are into money — but they come from a field (property) where they understand investment and top. They didn't get to where they got today by looking for short-term quick bucks.or — if it's a guy who is illogical:2. Wanna bet? ;-)

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    September 1st can't get here soon enough to get some extra arms for Davey in the bullpen.Wang just not getting it done in AA.If the Nats don't reacquire Izturis, that leaves one 40 man spot. I'm wondering if we see both Christian Garcia and Zach Duke as Davey could use competent arms to relieve the current relievers in terms of over-use.

  52. MicheleS - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    SJM.. he is a boston fan. Ask him the following:How is the beer and chicken diet going?Thank god the Nats have Davey and not Bobby V.Wow who knew that Carl Crawford's contract would be worse than Jayson's?Nats owners are WAY better than Boston's owners.Aren't you paying for John Lackey? Wait, didn't Boston fade last year?At least the Nats have a # to win the divsion, not one to be eliminated.Everyone else, feel free to add to this.

  53. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    We all need to enjoy the moment more! I was reading the discussion of who we would want up with 2 outs, etc. I have a sneaky suspicion that the Nats in general are pretty good with 2 outs. I remember many a game where there were 2 outs and then the offensive would explode before the third out. Might be just an impression, but seems to me they are good with 2 outs. Guy on THE FAN going nuts again about feeling "robbed" ( sob) by stras shutdown. Bandwagon folks who are only now paying attention are whining the most.

  54. pRAA with the ISO - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    He had a comment yesterday & I have not heard this before. He claims he has knowledge that the Lerners will overrule Rizzo and demand SS pitch into the playoffs for the money it will generate. I honestly did not know how to answer that. Any thoughts.Just say "Have you always been anti-Semitic, or is this something new for you?"

  55. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M.good point on arms in BP I am bummed about Wang. What makes it sad is that Wang is a nice young man and this would have been another great story to the already great story being written this season.I wonder if this is the end of the line for him?

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    MicheleS… read Rosenthal's column and tweeted him that I loved it and that we, as Nats fans understand the turmoil but accept the Nats approach totally. He tweeted back "fair enough and thanks."

  57. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Steady — nice comments. (And, btw, belated congrats on your daughter!).Let me amplify:1. Mike Gonzo pitched three days in a row. He's allowed one run only twice in his last 11 appearances (dating back to end of July).2. Gorzo has allowed a run only one in his last nine appearances (dating back to middle July), and that includes two scoreless appearances of 2.1 and 3.0 innings.(Note: I only looked at runs charged, I didn't look at inherited runners scored).

  58. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    The pen – Stammen was trying to be a starter for years – actually had quite a few starts for us in the past. He buckled down on his training, improved his sinker and has found a home in long relief. I still think he could make a start if we needed him to. And – yet another high-character, do anything you need, nice kid. They seem like a pretty tight unit out there.

  59. Steady Eddie - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    mick — agree on Wang, I had very high hopes for him based on his positive arc last year. Seems like the DL stint threw everything off. I suspect this is the end of the line for him with the Nats, as we can't afford to and have no reason to have to experiment for our rotation at this point or next year. With the ragged state of many other teams' rotations, I suspect he'll get a chance as a FA with someone else in the offseason at a low base salary heavily loaded with incentives. Can't see him getting anything else, but I hope for his sake he can revive his career somewhere in the American League.

  60. Water23 - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Just an fyi on Nats season tickets "Red Carpet" Rewards, they won't give you any tickets for the rest of the season but if you want to park under the I-395 under you can. Nice!

  61. Swift Eagle - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Top 5 Reasons the Nats won't fade:1. Davey Johnson2. Deep and versatile line-up3. Reliable bullpen with 3 lefties4. Best infield defense in MLB5. NATTITUDE…

  62. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    This Strass issue is officially old and absurd.To all MLB pundits, especially the two idiots who called the Yanks game on Sunday who are talking foolishly about Strass pitching beyond the 160 innings… I thought you had to be qualified to discuss baseball on the air waves? I guess not? Last night, Ray Knight made I feel made a very valid defense of the decision to shut down Strass… he showed the graph of the 3pitchers who had TJ surgery who went beyond the limit the following seasons and pointed out the problems they had with there elbow and shoulders in the futureand on another point… he mentioned how Jordan Zim's fast ball is actually faster as a result of following the TJ protocol!Do the caveman who want Strass to pitch beyond the limit practice the same junk science and medicine as the moron down in Missouri running for US Senate? lol

  63. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Ghost… Duke and Garcia would require 40 man roster moves. If Izturis is gone then Wang would probably need to go as well.Not sure the Nats need an 86 mph fastball out of the bullpen.

  64. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Saw some highlights. Would like to watch the whole game at some point but not sure will have time.Anyways going to OAK vs MIN in a bit at Coliseum.Don't take Medlen. Not sure what he has been eating but that guy has been tremendous as a starter so far. Hope we sweep.Give some props to Chip' last game in DC for me.

  65. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    we lucked out… Chip should have batted in 9th

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Gonat… yes. Last nite is the most runs Malholm has given up since becoming a Brave. And ALL his runs given up have come via the home run.

  67. Steady Eddie - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Wonk — thanks for the congrats and the stats — bore out what I suspected. I do recall with MGonz that he gave up that double against the Braves in the meltdown game where two runs scored which were charged to Stras (he had walked at least one of them). Wasn't bad pitching by MGonz — runs scored on a hard smash that Zim should have been able to keep in front of him to limit it to one run at least. IIRC that was a game where Zim made a couple of costly non-plays that weren't bad enough to be errors.As many here hoped after that July weekend was over, that game may end up as the turning point of the season. As the Zim nonplays suggest, a loss like that takes many things by many people to go wrong, and so — especially with a team that Rizzo has put together and Davey has taught how to learn from everything — I think just about everyone on the team realized how many seemingly small things go into the difference between winning and losing, in a single game and multiplied into a season.They sure seem to have taken that to heart since then.

  68. Steady Eddie - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Eagle — looking at your good list, I think what I described in my 10:45 contributes to Natitude!

  69. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Totally OT:Ump Jim Joyce saves MLB employee with CPRhttp://network.yardbarker.com/mlb/article_external/backyard/umpire_saves_life_after_administrating_cpr_to_dbacks_employee/11513941

  70. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Eddie… 1st pivotal point of season in my view was Lannan pitching verse Braves the 1st time back.team was fragile after 9-0 comeback by Braves2nd pivotal point was Werth returnteam was mentally and emotionally tired, Werth re energized the team

  71. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Eagle — you need to find a place in your list for "best starting pitching in baseball" !

  72. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    mick – as usual, spot on! Now I really need to minimize and get some actual work done!!! At least I look busy.

  73. mick - Aug 22, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    swami… get to work my friend, I guess I need to get going to, lol

  74. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    he showed the graph of the 3pitchers who had TJ surgery who went beyond the limit the following seasons and pointed out the problems they had with there elbow and shoulders in the futuremick — I saw that, too. Very interesting.Now — who remembers who the pitchers are? (I want to email my brother-in-law who also thought the Nats were making a mistaske). One of them was Chris Carpenter. Anyone remember the other two?(BTW, while I strongly agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure C Carpenter is a valid example. His TJ surgery caused him to miss 2003 (age 28), and he pitched 180 in 2004, then 240-ish in 2005 and 2006, then problems caused him to (almost completely) miss 2007 and 2008, but in 2009 he was 17-4, 2.24 (and threw 200+ in '09, '10', and his last year, 2011, at age 36).

  75. Swift Eagle - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Eagle — you need to find a place in your list for "best starting pitching in baseball" ! August 22, 2012 10:51 AM ___________________________________Lol. You are so right Wonk..I was just afraid it would start another Shutdown-Gate conversation

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Josh Johnson was one and I can't remember the third.

  77. Swift Eagle - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Gio going to be on MLB radio "in the next hour"

  78. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Leave it to the New York Times and Tyler Kepner to provide some sanity on this idiotic Strasburg shutdown debate, of which sensible people (like Rizzo and most of us) have none.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/sports/baseball/stephen-strasburg-is-a-long-term-commodity-for-nationals.html

  79. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Swift Eagle said… Top 5 Reasons the Nats won't fade: 1. Davey Johnson 2. Deep and versatile line-up 3. Reliable bullpen with 3 lefties 4. Best infield defense in MLB 5. NATTITUDE…You are so right, especially about No. 3. How many teams are backed into a corner with just one lefty in the pen. Having three with various strengths and lengths (Loogy, medium and long for Gonzo, Burnett and Gorzy) is pure genius, and pure Davey. Which, of course, is your No. 1 reason why they won't fade.In Davey We Trust.

  80. Candide - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    MicheleS – Are you referring to the head-in parking along R Street between First and Second, as well as First and Second between R and S? I've never been able to score a spot there.We recently started parking at the metered spots along S Street and along First Street (Cunegonde had some training at Fort McNair several months ago and figured out how to get into that area…). Don't know of any restrictions there, other than having to feed the meters (50 cents an hour, and free after 6:00 or 6:30, I think). There are also a bunch of meters on Water Street at the Homeland Security building. I don't mind paying two or three bucks for 4-6 hours of parking in the area. If all else fails, we head to HH on South Cap under the Southeast Freeway – only five bucks, and the two of us aren't so crippled (yet) that we can't walk the 1/2 mile to the park from there.BTW, if I find out that anyone has shared this semi-secret parking info outside of this blog – well, let me just say that my cousin Paulie ("The Weasel") Spumoni has been pestering me for some contract work recently…

  81. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    DCWonk — Wood and Prior – and it was shoulder issues within 2 years.

  82. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  83. A DC Wonk - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Thanks! Great NYT article on Stras' shutdown.Best line in the article:The way to win a title is to reach the playoffs as often as you can and hope everything breaks right one time. That is the Nationals’ master plan.Because the playoffs are a crapshoot.It occurs to me: the "old school" way of "you never know when you might be back for postseason" was a lot more valid when there were many fewer teams in the playoffs.So (message to all the critics who are not on this blog): given the Nats' talent, given their youth (players are in their prime years during ages 27-32, how much of the core of the Nats is age 27 or younger!), given Stras pitching full seasons starting in 2013, given how much of their talent is under team control for years — is there any rational fan on the planet who thinks that the odds are good that the Nats do _not_ make the playoffs, ever, in the next couple of years? That in none of the next few years they can't manage to be in the top 5 of 15 teams?Case closed, as far as I am concerned.(Although it was closed for me already a year ago vis-a-vis JZ, and I didn't even know about the so-called Verducci effect back then)

  84. baseballswami - Aug 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    It's not only Stras. This first place thing was not part of the plan for 2012 – it has come out of nowhere. Stras is not the only pitcher with concerns. They are having to be careful with JZ this year, too. He would have been fine with a regular season. He is older than Stras but doesn't have a lot of innings in the books. Detweiler is also young and I am not sure how many innings he has ever pitched in a season. This year being in the pen eased the way for him to go long. We have really gotten here before 3 of the pitchers are actually ready. Think about that. I am scratching my head yet again.

  85. sjm308 - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    New post but thanks to all!! Can't wait to get to the gym. If I could stop reading comments I would already be there!!

  86. Candide - Aug 22, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    baseballswami said…We have really gotten here before 3 of the pitchers are actually ready. Think about that. I am scratching my head yet again.Among the regular starters, Jackson is the grizzled veteran, at 28. All the rest are 26, except for Strasburg, the baby, who's only 23.In other words, this pitching staff has not yet matured, and they're already the best in baseball. As great as this season has been, think of the possibilities next year holds, if Strasburg makes the same kind of 2nd-year-after-TJ leap that Znn has, and Detwiler gets his first year as a full-time starter.Gotta wipe the drool off my keyboard…

  87. Tony Rossell - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    I have got to say that it is really sad how the Braves fans are ripping apart their team on their blogs. The team has the third best record in the NL.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.5
Through Tuesday's games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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