Skip to content

Out of focus

Sep 8, 2012, 5:13 AM EST

Photo by Bob Youngentob /
Stephen Strasburg was knocked out after allowing five runs in three innings.

The Nationals have insisted for more than five months they can win without Stephen Strasburg, and over the course of 3 hours and 44 minutes Friday night, they tried their darndest to prove that in the most tangible way possible.

After watching their young ace get torched by the Marlins for five runs in three innings and exit his final home start of the season earlier than anyone could have anticipated, the Nationals came storming back to send this game into extra innings and nearly pulled off one final, improbable rally in the bottom of the 10th.

In the end, they couldn’t quite complete that rally, stranding the tying run on second base and the winning run on first base when Roger Bernadina and Jayson Werth struck out in succession against Miami closer Steve Cishek.

So the biggest takeaway from a wild, 9-7 loss proved to be the manner in which Strasburg’s 2012 D.C. finale played out and the manner in which the right-hander, his manager and others tried to explain what exactly happened.
Read more

  1. rabbit34 - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    To me, Strasburg's body language looked like he had the game lost in the first inning. Shoulders sagged, head hanging, and he just seemed to drag around the pitcher's mound. Yes, I think he needs a good rest and attitude adjustment. Next year he'll be refreshed and ready to go.

  2. NatsLady - Sep 8, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    If I were Strasburg, I'd be more shaken by Brandon McCarthy than the shutdown. You know Gio and Suzuki are watching the news minute by minute. That has to be in every pitcher's mind when he goes to the mound.

  3. mick - Sep 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I really think the shut down is a win win more than ever. Not just from the physical aspect, but from a mental and maturity aspect for young Strass. On another note, I think Strass has handled this as well as anyone could expect… he has had to deal with all the yahoos out there not only questioning his coaches but him as well

  4. natscan reduxit - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    … you know, if my bosses made decisions about me almost before I even started work, and then didn't bother to let me in on the secret; if my work performance, and whether I'd get laid off soon, was the subject of national daily news reports, I expect I'd have trouble sleeping, and concentrating on my job too.Go Strazzzzz! Go Nats!!

  5. Positively Half St. - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Thanks to the Dodgers for losing and at least dropping the Wild Card magic number to 13.Do you all think that Teddy will win his first race when the Nats clinch a playoff berth, or when they clinch the NL East? It has to be one of them.+1/2St.

  6. NatsLady - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    rabbit, I wasn't at the game, was listening to the first few innings on the radio, so I didn't see Stras' body language. But JZ had the same type of body language in his first couple of innings, and he settled into a rhythm. So, yes, I would say there is a lot to that "get 'em in the first inning or two," and it doesn't just apply to Stras. There is a lot going on that we don't know. I do wish (and not for the first time) that Davey wouldn't talk so much. I wish he'd said what Stras did, "He didn't have it tonight and he's focused on his next start." Davey just stirs up the blogosphere with commenting on how "Stras can't sleep" etc. Sometimes cliches are better.

  7. hiramhover - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. hiramhover - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    you know, if my bosses made decisions about me almost before I even started work, and then didn't bother to let me in on the secret…Unless you're self-employed (and don't have multiple personalities), everybody's boss does this, no?I'm sorry Stras won't be pitching at home again this season–I'm disregarding Davey's "it might"–but I hope he mows down the Mets next week.

  9. MicheleS - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    1/2 st.Sadly, I really don't think Teddy will ever win. It's a marketing schtick

  10. Secret wasian man - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Rizzo cut SS testicles off. Nobody would like that

  11. Candide - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    MicheleS said…Sadly, I really don't think Teddy will ever win. It's a marketing schtickI have it on good authority that he's going to win the second Tuesday of next week.

  12. Steady Eddie - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Nats Lady, I'm with you about Davey sometimes talking too much. What is there to be gained by giving the slavering hordes of national sports pundits an actual basis that they didn't pull out of their butts for why the Strasdown is wrong? He can't ignore the fact that it's going to be used that way.And he clearly and entirely factually, has the alternative Mark laid out, of saying, "this is the post-TJ pattern, even with a terrific pitcher like Stras. It's what we saw after the ASG last year with JZimm, same pattern of a lights-out start followed by one with command issues from the get-go. Confirms our decision to proceed with Stras the same way we did with JZimm."And then that would have been in effect confirmed by Stras saying "some days you just don't have it.". All entirely true.I don't think this is Davey not being with the program, just his tendency sometimes to take things public that should be left in the clubhouse. Which he seems to have a particular tendency to do with Stras. THAT may be intentional with him but I'm not sure why.

  13. MicheleS - Sep 8, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Candide.. what has Cunegonde heard about Teddy?

  14. hiramhover - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    MicheleSI think what Candide is saying is that Teddy will win in the 3d game of a doubleheader.

  15. MicheleS - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Oh, i got that. Just in figured Cunegonde might have inside information

  16. NatsLady - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    HH, I used to work for a big chemical company. I was making extraordinary progress up the chain especiallly being both female and not a chemical engineer. I laid out a proposal–an entirely reasonable and cost effective proposal–for a local data center at the plant. If that had worked out, I would have been the center's director and had a clear shot at CIO or plant manager from there.Well, the VP of Finance (not my direct boss, who was the plant manager, nor the CIO to whom I reported indirectly) came down to the plant to tell me in person that my proposal had been nixed. I was devastated, and I shed tears–which you don't do in that tough environment, believe me.Two months later they announced the plant would be shut down. Nixing my proposal had NOTHING to do with my work or the quality of the proposal. The VP knew the decision to shutdow n the plant had already been made. A lot of people lost their jobs. I slinked back to corporate headquarters… Lesson learned.

  17. NatsLady - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    And, because they didn't want any suspicion of the plant shut down to "leak," they let my proposal go all the way to preliminary funding, blueprints, etc. So, yeah, they strung me along pretty good. It happens.

  18. SonnyG10 - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Stras is getting banged around because he can't locate his pitches, especially his fastball. This is because of the TJ surgery, imo. Stras had much better command when he came up and before his injury. I'm glad he's being shutdown, not only to protect his arm, but also his confidence. I think mick said it very well in his post above!

  19. natsfan1a - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Coming on the grid to comment briefly, after seeing the box score and reading Mark's story here (but not the gamer or instant analysis). It wasn't a secret, as it's been talked about since last season. IMHO, it's not comparable to being laid off, either. He still has a job with the franchise, and income as well, I would think.I'm still on board with the shutdown, although I also agree that it would have been better for Davey to address the TJ recovery aspect and not Stephen's sleeping habits in the media. Why give them any opening for more controversy? Speaking of which, I saw in the paper that Samardzjia (I think that's off on spelling but I can't easily browse to check it without losing my post on this computer) is being shut down after his next start (currently at 163 and some change for innings). I assume that there was major media controversy over that? :-)Anyhoo, off grid again for me. Later, folks. Oh, and Go, NATS for know, if my bosses made decisions about me almost before I even started work, and then didn't bother to let me in on the secret…Unless you're self-employed (and don't have multiple personalities), everybody's boss does this, no?I'm sorry Stras won't be pitching at home again this season–I'm disregarding Davey's "it might"–but I hope he mows down the Mets next week.

  20. natsfan1a - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Yeah, I can't cut and paste on this stupid computer, either. Those last three paras. were quoted from someone else's comments. Anyway, later.

  21. baseballswami - Sep 8, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    SS has a huge talent but is still very young and inexperienced as a pitcher and as a person. He will have a bright future, thanks to the Nats. For now, he is mortal.Way too much hype and over-sized expectations. He never should have been portrayed as the savior of the team. They don't need one – they are a team. He needs a full five months of recovery time – something no one talks about. Mentally and physically. Can you even imagine them trying to push him possibly into November? He would then only have 3 months recovery time before doing the whole shebang again. Nutty. I am personally boycotting most of the baseball media this week as I am tired of it. Can't wait for it to be over. Lannan and Wang can both start and probably wouldn't do worse than SS in his last 2. He is toast.

  22. ehay2k - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Out of focus? That might be fixable in the near term. Out of gas? That can only be fixed by pulling over, stopping the engine, and refueling. Hence, the shutdown. Even if SS mows down the Mets, he's done. Inconsistent is the same as unreliable.

  23. Steady Eddie - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Uh, swami, while I'm with you on that comment in general, you forgot Stras' great and dominant start against the great-hitting Cards on last Sunday: 6IP, 2h, 0 R, 1BB, 9K. Doesn't mean they shouldn't continue with Strasdown, but he could well pitch great in his next start. His erratic 2d half has been classic post-TJ performance.

  24. baseballswami - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Steady Eddie – agree completely that he can still put together one heckuva a start. His next and last one could be just that way. Pretty inconsistent at this point. I think he should start, but have someone else ready to warm up early. He is a tough kid but not immune to pressure. Last night there was a lot of it.

  25. baseballswami - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Wow – just on twitter that they have shut him down right now.

  26. baseballswami - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Guessing Mark will have a new post in 10,9,8,7…..

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 8, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Yep…shut down now. I'm not at all happy about Davey's explanation.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter