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Strasburg: ‘I think our lineup’s better’

Apr 14, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT

Photo by USA Today

The Nationals and Braves have already produced great baseball theater in 2013. Through just two games, it’s clear this rivalry could be among the most exciting in the game this season. Both teams are good and lined with superstars, a dream matchup for baseball fans.
The season is still in its infancy, but so far the Braves have had the better start. They are now 10-1 after taking the second game of their series with the Nats while Washington is 7-4. Each team has 151 more games to play and when it’s all said and done, the Nationals still believe they will end up on top.
“They’re good, I don’t think they’re better than us,” Danny Espinosa said. “They’re a good ballclub, they have talent. They’re hot right now, they only lost one game, but they’re hot. It all evens out.”
  1. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    The Nats have not played up to their ability, and the Braves are clicking. The Nats pen is not the worst in baseball, but it has the worst overall performance record of all the bull pens in major league baseball. That will not last.The Nats IF defense has been porous, and it has committed several very costly mental errors, in addition. That will not continue. That defense is just too good. Ryan's shoulder has not fully recovered from surgery just 6 months ago. He will improve his throwing accuracy as his shoulder gets stronger – his hitting, too.The Nats are built around pitching and defense. The starting pitching, with the exception of Haren's 2 starts, has been stellar. Based on his history and the velocity he has shown in his last start, Haren's performance will improve, too. It has been the bull pen where the Nats have failed to perform up to expectations.Yet they are 7 -4. Everyone has started to hit, except for Ryan and Espinoza. Ryan will come around. The guy is playing ML baseball with a shoulder weakened by surgery. He will get his strength back, in time. The Nats don't really need Espinoza to hit. Anything from him on offense is icing on the cake. From 1 thru 6, that lineup is awesome. Davey will make sure that temporary set-backs do not become festering problems in the club house. Team leaders like Zim, Werth and La Roche will lead the younger guys by their professional example.I am not worried about this team. They will put it together.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Just finished scrolling through yesterdays comments and am proud to say I was no part of any of it.Gonat, Joe….In the words of Swift Eagle a couple of weeks ago when I asked him why he hasn't posted for quite a while, "you lose baseball intelligence reading that stuff".I agree.Mark and Chase do a terrific job providing their reports and allowing people to share this site. And I appreciate the knowledgeable posters that bring solid insight as well as their particular experiences to share with everyone.I'll leave my comments to the off days and occaisional pregame threads but no more in game or post game analysis articles as that's where the primary abusers tend to troll. As for the bullpen problems, J.C Romero will be the next call up becoming this seasons Mike Gonzalez.

  3. fast eddie - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Many of you believe Zim will be moved to first due to throwing problems, with Rendon taking over at 3B. Since ALR has a two-year contract, are you saying he'll be traded before then??

  4. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I agree with Strasburg BUTThe Nats have made too many mistakes and some don't show up as errors like Denard Span getting doubled off of 2nd base in the 1st inning yesterday when there were no outs.Then you have poor approaches at the plate like in Friday's game where batter #7 could have possibly knocked Teheran out of the game in the 1st inning when you consider the Nats were up 2-0 and had 2 men on who had both singled and Espinosa put a weak swing on the ball.Nats relievers have not pitched well overall as a group all season.Then there is Ryan Zimmerman's throws. Even with the great LaRoche at 1st base isn't enough for how inaccurate and wild Ryan's throws can get.Did yesterday's game call for some timely small ball to chip away at a 2-0 lead? The Nats kept swinging for the fences and they came away with a whole lot of air.

  5. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    fast eddie said… Many of you believe Zim will be moved to first due to throwing problems, with Rendon taking over at 3B. Since ALR has a two-year contract, are you saying he'll be traded before then?? April 14, 2013 8:09 AM _________________________________Many? Nah, that's been Peric's ongoing battle cry for a long long time. The Nats have signed LaRoche for 2 years + the option. I guess RZ could be the 1st baseman in 2015.

  6. original Nats Fan - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    I checked out the game thread yesterday to see what everyone was talking about. Boy, was I sorry. I surely won't make that mistake again.The Braves look really good, but it is early yet.The Gio bobblehead isn't smiling cause he's all business on the mound. Go, Gio

  7. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    ICYMI, Wainwright pitched 3 more pitches than Strasburg yesterday but Wainwright's was towards a complete game shutout.Strasburg's control wasn't there much of the day but the results were suprisingly good on his final stat line except for his pitches per inning. Even the HR that was hit was on a high fastball that most batters swing through or popup.

  9. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

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  10. Joe Seamhead - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Wow, three very good posts to start the morning! Laddie Blah Blah, I share your optimism on every point you made. Jack, of course you, and Swift Eagle are correct that the posts have been brain rotting to read, much less to respond to. That said, Mark has provided a great blog for us. I don't easily concede it to the trolls. I really enjoy the vast majority of bloggers on the sight, and love to banter with most of you. Mark Zuckerman and Chase Hughes put a lot of energy into this venue and I appreciate it. I hate to it getting despoiled.Eddie, the ALR question is one that the Move Zimm to 1st Crowd hasn't really addressed with a viable answer.Meanwhile, down on the farm… AJ Cole pitched a decent game last night, going six, giving up two runs, only one earned. Encouraging. Jack, Werth used the Game of Thrones twice for his walk up Friday night, after hitting a 1st pitch homer with Werewolves on Tuesday. I didn't go yesterday, and couldn't hear on the Fox broadcast. Speaking of the Fox broadcast, I am actually appreciating MASN after yesterday.

  11. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Okay, that didn't come out right. Game face. :-|

  12. Joe Seamhead - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I hate to see it getting spoiled. Can we get some coffee here?

  13. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Sure, I'm pouring. Hope that the good Gio bobble will prevail today and that there will be a curly W in the book after all is said and done.

  14. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Looks like Jhonathan Solano will be in Washington today and Wilson Ramos to the 15 Day DL.

  16. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    "AJ Cole pitched a decent game last night, going six, giving up two runs, only one earned. Encouraging."Karns had a good night, as well:http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_04_13_haraax_altaax_1&t=g_box&did=milbAs you can see, they also had Rendon back at 2nd base in that game.

  17. waddu eye no - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    laddie – fear noti hear that the lerners are going to make everyone from rizzo down start reading the in game stuff so they can learn the game from us.

  18. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Oops, I mentioned bobbleheads. Well, since I'm talking about them anyway, I've figured out what the problem was the past few games. The baseball gods were angry, my friends, because Gio should have started on his bobblehead day. However, today he'll start, probably in a very fetching uni. With any luck, he'll have a nice 'do as well (after all, the guy gets his hair cut every other day), and all will be right with the world. Yay.On another note, forgot to mention that the ballgirl along the third base line made a couple of very nice plays yesterday, and got some well deserved applause from the crowd. Atta way.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Gonat….the entire starting sraff pitch inefficiently. What happened to the power sinker that induces ground balls? They"re not getting K's AND they're not getting ground balls. You look up and it's 1 out in th 4th inning and they are already at 75 pitches.Add that to Clippard and Storen's 20 pitch innings and you've got a recipe for disaster.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    staff is pitching inefficiently. (keyboard sticks)

  21. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Laddie or anyone else watching closely, is Rizzo sticking to the plan of Rendon playing 2nd base twice a week and once a week at SS and the rest at 3rd?

  22. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Don't drink all the coffee, Joe. I need another cup.Also, I kinda sorta called the Espi dinger. When he came up, I posed this rhetorical question to Hudson (although he probably didn't hear me) "Could we please have our one hit per inning now? Thank you. Actually, it's more like every other inning but I digress." Next thing you know – Espi dinger. You're welcome.Oh, and I won't be there today, so somebody else needs to pick up the slack. Thank you.

  24. Candide - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Cunegonde and I each got a bobblehead*. The head doesn't bobble. Oh, you can move it around all right, but when you push it down, it just pops back to its original position without bouncing around at all. Is there someone I can sue for a couple of million bucks?Regarding the comments from Espi and Stras: Isn't there some unwritten rule that you nevernevernever say anything about the opposing team that they can put on paper and hang up in their clubhouse as motivation/inspiration before a game? "We're better than they are…" Yeah, okay; as Jack Palance said in Shane (just before shooting a guy dead), "Prove it."*Faraz, are you paying attention? I don't see your name in the Who's Going page in NIDO for Davey Johnson bobblehead day…)

  25. Candide - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Gonat….the entire starting sraff pitch inefficiently. What happened to the power sinker that induces ground balls? They"re not getting K's AND they're not getting ground balls. Cunegonde kept score for the entire game yesterday (with ample help from yours truly). We noticed there were a hell of a lot of F8s thrown by Nats pitchers. Span had a busy day.

  26. Another_Sam - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    NatsJack, Laddie, and others — thank you for your posts this morning. I too am taking a bit of a hiatus from the game threads — not that my drivel will be missed. I've no misconceptions about that.IMHO there's nothing on the game threads that a few laugher blowouts in the right direction and a winning streak wouldn't fix, though.Laddie, I'm with you on there's nothing get fired up about here. This is baseball, not football, American or European. In either football, they convince you that the long term fate of your players and teams ride on each match. Nonsense, IMHO. This is baseball; there's another game today. And the next day, and . . . you get the picture.

  27. natscan reduxit - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    … let's talk faces. When was the last time you saw a National smile? Let's start with the 'face' of the franchise. Zim will smile sometimes, if pressed. But that pasted-on thing hardly qualifies as a window on the soul. Moving across the infield, I challenge any of you to recall in your mind's eye, any image of Desi or Danny wearing a smirk or a grin, let alone a bona fide smile. Adam LaR has one – I've caught a glimpse of it – but on most days, it's safely packed away in his glove bag. Jayson Werth, and his Tony Bennett impression, left his in Philadelphia life Tony's heart in SanFran. Denny Span wore his one day, before he got the memo. Since then, he's kept it under his cap. Wilson Ramos' smile is more a grimace, cause most likely by the bright lights of his media attention of a year ago, or possibly the whole sordid event itself. … the mound inhabitants don't dare wear a smile if they have one because that would give opposing hitters undue advantage, and no one wants that. I wouldn't want a pitcher, starting or otherwise, to be caught smiling for fear some fan or other get the notion the guy doesn't care.… you can't count Davey J in all this. You couldn't wipe his smile off his face because he knows this is his last year and he's going back to retirement and playing with numbers again. So that leaves only Kurt and the Kid. Now there we have a couple of upturned umbrellas if we ever need them. And folks, we need them. What's worse that a bunch of ball players playing poorly all at the same time, is a bunch of ball players playing poorly all at the same time and looking hopeless about it.… so c'mon guys. Take a page from the Kurt and Bryce songbook; let a smile be your umbrella, and remember there's a reason they say to 'play' the game. Baseball is not work. I know, I've worked, and it ain't no American pastime.Go Nats!! :)

  28. Whynat - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    I read everyday, rarely post. I enjoy reading all the regular posters, and have learned a lot about baseball and being a good fan from them (strategy, advanced metrics, short term and long term roster management, it's a marathon not a sprint, etc). Mark has created an excellent site and I'm sure the number of participants is growing along with the popularity of the Nats. The only cure for trolls is to scroll past, ignore and do not respond in any way. Being an adult sometimes means not taking your turn.

  29. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    NatsJack, Gio pitched inefficiently most of last season averaging over 16 pitches per inning and that just seems to be him.JZ however has so far knocked 2 pitches per inning off of his average as he is now 13.7 pitches per inning vs. 15.7 last year. Detwiler has been the most efficient pitcher at 13.25 pitches per inning so far.Strasburg in his 1st start was very efficient but has lacked his pinpoint accuracy his last 2 starts.I also think the pitchers as a whole have been adversely affected by fielding errors. Zim's error yesterday cost Strasburg an additional 8 pitches he had to throw on top of the fact he just threw too many non-purpose pitches way out of the strike zone yesterday.

  30. Laddie Blah Blah - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    "Laddie or anyone else watching closely, is Rizzo sticking to the plan of Rendon playing 2nd base twice a week and once a week at SS and the rest at 3rd?"I don't check in every day, but I can tell you Rendon has played 2nd base twice this week, for certain. I also know of one game at 3rd, and another at SS. They are definitely moving him around, apparently in line with Rizzo's plan, if not in exact conformance to it.

  31. Bob Saget Nats Fan 101 - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Good morning everyone. I happened to see the game & analysis threads yesterday. It was troll heaven. I am sorry for those who where insulted by those trolls. Anyways, I am a fan of the game. I am no means an expert on baseball. I trust Davey and rizzo. I trust this team. They have earned our trust. Like you all said, they need to smile and have fun.

  32. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Have you also noticed how poor Espinosa has been on trying to turn doubleplays?When Espi has fielded balls that can possibly be doubleplays he has thrown his relays very inaccurately to Desmond. Yesterday he threw one at Espi's feet and in Haren's last start he threw one above Desi's head and he did the same in Gio's start on Tuesday.A lot of people question whether Mattheus should have purposely dropped the bunt popped to him, maybe, maybe not, but when Mattheus induced the grounder to turn the doubleplay Espi botched the relay throw to Desi.It's the intracacies of the game and the little things that sometimes add up to the differences between W's and L's.

  33. Unknown - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    I'm liking the tone this morning – The Nationals look like they are carrying the weight of pre-season expectations and last year's playoff loss on their backs. It's too heavy a burden to carry and win against good teams that are playing loose.No one ever won a championship on paper or in April. The Nats just need to chill out, relax, get back to enjoying the game, and trusting their excellent talent. This is all part of the learning process for a young team that promises to be good for a long time, but still has much to learn.For context, last July 31, the Giants were 56-47 and clinging to first place by 1 game. The Cardinals were 55-48 and in 3rd place, 4 games behind Pittsburgh. Yet, those 2 teams played in the NLCS and the Giants won it all.It's a funny game. It's a long season. Everything changes everything.Relax. Enjoy the great game of baseball. Just a blink of an eye ago, DC didn't even have a team.GYFNG!!!

  34. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    "The only cure for trolls is to scroll past, ignore and do not respond in any way."Amen. This has been Internet truth since the beginning. I get where the "protect this house" sentiment is coming from, but you are just throwing gas on the fire by responding.

  35. Gonat - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Laddie, thanks for that. I think at this point Rendon needs to concentrate on 2nd and 3rd which are the 2 weak spots in the lineup right now.We are 2 weeks from that new CBA date established last year that teams can call up a player and create a Super 2 which the Nats did with Harper last year.I wouldn't be surprised if Rendon is a starter on April 28th in DC.

  36. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    If you look at the 2 games, game one , the Nats should have won, yesterday, Braves earned it. If Nats win today, in my mind and theirs, one could make a case Nats are equal or better

  37. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    assumption is we beat teams we are suppose to and Braves come down to Earth

  38. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    got an idea for the bullpen, hire the ex Rutgers basketball coach as a consultant, lol I am joking

  39. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Natsjack… what about Danny Rosenbaum, any thoughts?

  40. 3on2out - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Laddie, NatsJack, Joe, Sec. 3, nats1a and the rest of the sanity bridgade:Welcome back. The combination of the Barves and these Legion of Dooms yahoos that hijacked our site the last two days has left a sour taste in my mouth. I did not post during the takeover…I think it's best to ignore them. Scroll past the trolls. Love it!Love you guys!Go Gio. I want this one.

  41. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    A couple of thoughts: Are we cursed? Like the Red Sox of old, did we curse ourselves? Did Teddy winning that race late last season curse the Nationals? (especially since we know the fix was in on that race)?? hahaAnd on comments that "We have a better lineup," that may just be so, but what concerns me is that they're debating lineups that doesn't include Freeman nor McCann. When they return, the braves will be all the more strong.

  42. Section 222 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Dumb comment by Stras. And yes, stroll (and scroll) past Steve J and his ilk. It's not worth the blood pressure rise.Now I need to get something off my chest.Zim's arm has now cost us two games in a row. Sure there were other factors, but if makes those plays we win, it's as simple as that. And even the forceout he did make yesterday on a similar grounder to the one he botched on Friday night was dicey. A healthy 3B guns that one across the diamond and gets the runner at first by a step or more. But Zim can't make that throw, or doesn't think he can, so he has to try for a bang bang forceout. Lots can go wrong on that play — the 2B doesn't get there in time, the throw can be off line, or the runner, who is taking a lead and running at the crack of the bat, beats the throw. Very unsettling.Remember when we were told, including by people who saw him at spring training, that all was well? I could say I told you so, but I'll just refer to comments here, here, and, especially, here. The question is what's next. No, he's not moving to 1B. Maybe in 2015, but not while ALR is under contract. The first step, I think, is admitting there's a problem. Not to the public (if he's more comfortable saying "errors happen, no one's perfect," fine, whatever.) But he needs to get some help, whether it's mental or physical or mechanical. Because right now, notwithstanding his amazing glove, he's a liability. Oh, and starting to tear the cover off the ball at the plate would help too.

  43. mick - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    sec 222, all good points, but I think Strass is just trying to get his team to keep their heads up. i forgot about McGann anf Freeman, yikes!you are spot on about Zim

  44. UnkyD - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Regarding game threads and trolls: as NatsJack and Ghost have so often and sagaciously counseled us… Don't Feed The trolls. Any interaction validates them, so don't. I didn't see what Mark had to delete yesterday, but if they are utterly ignored, that kind of escalation is unlikely. Our lady friends, here are wel able to take care if them selves, and tend to ignore the clown, anyway. I'm damned if I'm let it make me avoid game threads! My kid sister never really got that, if she stopped reacting to my teasing, I'd get bored and leave her alone. Seriously, as well intentioned as your rejoinders are, they only feed the fire… This clown does not want any witty give and take, only to get a rise, and escalate…. Don't give it to it…

  45. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Lets talk baseball and get off this Troll thing — just obsessing about one person ?? or are there more — just makes it worse. If one person can dominate threads that are supposed to be about Stras' comments, then this forum is a room full of cowardly ninnies. Just ignore and move on — but let quit perseverating on one Troll. thank you. Now, back to baseball!!!!

  46. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Another comment — about our lineup. We are obsessing about Zim's throw or lack thereof — I'm guilty of the obsession as well — but when do we start discussing Espinosa and his lack of production at the plate? Didn't he admit he has a torn muscle in his shoulder that needed surgery in the offseason — but he decided just to rehab it? He isn't hitting his weight, that much I know. Meanwhile, we have a very productive and healthy Lombo sitting the pines. If all was well with Zim, would we be obsessing about Espi?

  47. Section 222 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    but when do we start discussing Espinosa and his lack of production at the plate?In my view, not for another month. It's just too early to get worried about a single player's hitting. Or pitching for that matter. Going off the deep end over one blown save or a two week long slump just doesn't make sense. That's why I'm obsessing about Zim.

  48. snopes1 - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah -The Nats are 7-4, which is a .636 win percentage. That translates to 103 wins over a 162 game season. I'd say they're definitely playing up to their ability and already have it together.It's just that Atlanta is playing above their ability at the moment. Their .909 win percentage translates to 147 wins, which is essentially impossible.So it would be more accurate to say the Nats are starting the season with a record that we should hope reflects their true level of ability and the Braves are in a hot streak.

  49. NatsFanSinceStart - Apr 14, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Looking at records now and projecting them out to the finale, doesn't really work. Teams ebb and flow all year. The first evaluation point of a teams projected over success is usually around Memorial Day — with a larger sample. Second evaluation point is around the All Star Break — after that, it's a long sprint to the finish. We'll know a lot more on or around memorial Day — at least that's when I'll take win and loss records seriously. Even so, every game counts. and games won and lost in April are included in the aggregate — . On this forum we obsess about the Micro, when its the Macro that counts.

  50. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    I was keeping score as well, and my husband kept asking me "How many 8's is that now"?Candide said… NatsJack in Florida said… Gonat….the entire starting sraff pitch inefficiently. What happened to the power sinker that induces ground balls? They"re not getting K's AND they're not getting ground balls. Cunegonde kept score for the entire game yesterday (with ample help from yours truly). We noticed there were a hell of a lot of F8s thrown by Nats pitchers. Span had a busy day. April 14, 2013 9:03 AM

  51. natsfan1a - Apr 14, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    All good points on trolling and scrolling. Hope that today, the Nats will get rolling. Have fun in the game thread, those of you that go there. With any luck, the game should be far more interesting than the sock puppet theater.

  52. Sec. 3, My Untucked Sofa - Apr 15, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 59 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.0
MIAMI 67 70 11.0
NEW YORK 65 74 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 14.5
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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