Skip to content

Figuring out Strasburg’s 1st inning woes

Apr 25, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Stephen Strasburg gave up three first-inning runs yesterday.

Somewhat lost yesterday amid the angst of another woeful offensive performance from the Nationals was Stephen Strasburg's outing, one that began with a thud but ended with a bang.

Strasburg was roughed up by the Cardinals in the top of the first inning, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk, and looking very much like he'd be in for a long afternoon on the mound. But the right-hander immediately righted his ship and wound up recording a quality start, not surrendering another run before he departed after seven strong innings.

The difference in Strasburg's results from the first inning vs. the rest of his start could be boiled down to one key stat: first-pitch strikes. He got ahead 0-1 to only three of the seven batters he faced in the top of the first; after that, he got ahead to 13 of theRead more »

  1. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    It started with the bloop hit and ball drop by Espi. Shouldve been 1 out and bases empty. Then add a few more dinks and doinks. Lots of bad luck.

  2. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I was thinking maybe he should come out firing and strike out the first 3 guys, even if might cost him in pitchcount. Then he can dial it back and go for "contact."

  3. Steady Eddie - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Theirs tea should be "stay within yourself and what you know how to do regularly." The team is playing like a bunch of actors who are monitoring and reviewing their performances onstage, losing their investment in who they need to be in the moment. They're envisioning themselves in their larger roles — "game winning home run hitter", "lights-out unhittable pitcher", rather than "what specific role do I need to be in on this pitch (thatI'm throwing or facing)?" Trying to do it all to win the whole game in every moment, rather than the needed, incremental contribution to the TEAM effort in THIS moment, is what got them where they are.And like Eric wrote last night, the age of how they needed to play was facing them across the field the past three days.

  4. sjm308 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Just finished reading all the comments from the last post. I,like others, had great expectations and it is no fun to have your team slumping. NatsLady put a lot in perspective with her stats from last year compared to this year. This is a game of cycles and I have to hope we do not come back to this cycle again this season.Will not be long winded here, I just want to thank Eric for some well thought out posts and his addition of music (he is not the lone ranger on the music comments) makes me happy. I am missing Richie Havens right now but so glad I got to see him live at the Birchmere a few years ago.Go Nats!!

  5. Cwj - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Could you point me to NatsLady's post?

  6. bowdenball - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I don't know about previous outings, but Strasburg's issues in the first inning yesterday were clearly mechanical. Take a look at the plot of his first inning pitch locations:http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?s_type=3&sp_type=1&batterX=0&inning1=y&inning4=y&month=04&day=24&game=gid_2013_04_24_slnmlb_wasmlb_1%2F&year=2013&pitchSel=544931&prevGame=gid_2013_04_24_slnmlb_wasmlb_1%2FIt's the graph labeled "strikezone plot with pitch #". Everything was missing high and to the right from the mound perspective. That's a mechanical error and should be an easy fix. Everyone, even the best aces in the game, loses their timing once in a while. That's what happened to Strasburg in the first.

  7. JD - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    NatsLady, I couldn't agree with you more. In the 1st inning Stras was throwing an assortment of 2 seamers, 4 seamers, curve balls and changeups and BTW his fast ball (4 seamer) topped at around 94 – 95. I prefer the Matt Harvey approach (the old Stras) wher he comes out firing 97 – 98 MPH and getting 5 stike outs in the 1st couple of innings. (BTW the pitch count hasn't gone down because now there are usually runners on base). I think you introduce your secondary pitches little by little the 2nd and 3rd time through the lineup.

  8. Tcostant - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I will go see a game almost anywhere. One time I was on business in CA and drop down to San Diego for a Pardes game. I was scoring the game and Keven Brown gave up 3 runs in the first inning. In the eight he was still pitching and I realize but looking at my scorecard that he retired ever batter from the second inning all the way to the eight. He won 5-3 that day and it was amazing turn around.My point is this stuff happen, it is key for the hitters to pick the pitch up in situations like this. HoFer Tom Seaver had this issue as well as many other. Deal with it.

  9. JD - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Bowdenball, Isn't that a function of trying to throw too many different pitches with different grips? Isn't it easier to get the proper slot if you limit yourself to a couple of pitches? If you are Jaime Garcia you have no choice. You have to throw all of your junk or you will get tattooed but when you have Stra's stuff you don't have to get cute.

  10. Eric - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    @sjm – glad to hear my comments resonated with you! Baseball sure sets me to thinking, and so does music :)And, yeah, RIP Richie Havens :(

  11. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I still think you don't understand who Stephen Strasburg is.That 1st inning started with a mistake. A doink into LF and a laser throw to 2nd that Espi dropped.Strasburg is immediately rattled out of the gate. There was 1 hard hit ball that inning. That was it.I thought Stras had near no-hit stuff yesterday. Like all no-hitters you have to rely on lucky BABIP.Somehow Strasburg got back on track and finished up a really nice outing.Strasburg is about perfection from himself and those that play in front of him and behind him. I thought Solano took a page out of the Ramos book and had Strasburg moving at a faster pace which Stras likes.Again, the end results weren't pretty but that's the way it's been lately.

  12. D'Gourds - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Stras actually didn't pitch that poorly in the first inning yesterday. Carpenter's double was a bloop dunker that should have been an out if Espinosa had held on to the perfect throw from the lone bright spot on this team, Mr. Harper. Yadi's 2 run single was also a mishit bloop single. The only hard hit ball was Holliday's line drive single. Then, of course there was Rendon's bone head throw to second on the slow chopper to third with one out and runners on the corners. There was no chance for a double play and he clearly had a play at home. Instead he throws it into center field giving up another run. I'm a bit shocked at his low baseball IQ on that one. I thought Rice was a good school! Anyhoo, there was A LOT of bad luck for Stras in that inning that easily could have been scoreless or at least a non-crooked number. I really thought he pitched great yesterday. The Nats defense betrayed him–a recurring theme for this team. Just awful to watch. What has happened to our Nats of 2012?

  13. m - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    I agree Stras should come out firing in the 1st inning, however, in his defense yesterday, he might not have had the problems if Espinosa hangs onto to the ball and Rendon makes the proper throw to home. Also Molina's hit was just pain unlucky – A bloop single to right The same can be said for Storen's outing. The hit where Espinosa had vacated and the hit off the home plate were just plain unlucky. Also I think there was another mistake the team made behind Storen which impacted him. Not sure what that was.What annoys me most are the bonehead plays we make when we are at bat. I think the pitching is improving. Maybe if they can all stop trying be heroes and play like St. Louis we might be alright – Memo to Werth, ALR, Espinosa, Desmond, Span, Suzuki

  14. D'Gourds - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    Also, for whast it's worth, I watched Stras' bullpen before the game. It wasn't great location-wise. I remember hearing Jim Palmer saying that if you don't have command of a certain pitch in the bullpen, then throw more until you make the adjustment and figure it out. Sometimes it seems that modern pitching philosophy is so pitch count driven that there is no room for wiggle room. McCatty is out there with his pitch counter precisely counting how many warm up pitches he makes. Some days you just need more than others. I like McCatty, though. Don't get me wrong.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    D'Gourds, I'm glad we agree. Another point with Strasburg is that he doesn't have to have his best stuff to put up a nice boxscore. Just look at that start against Atlanta. He was rolling with Zeros until RZim had that throwing error, then bam, a 2 run HR.For Stras, JZim and Detwiler and even Haren in his last start, they have deserved better than their L's they received.Gio on the other hand has been his own worst enemy. Too many walks leading to too many runs leading to innings that are too long and out of the game early leading to over-use of the bullpen.

  16. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    m said… I agree Stras should come out firing in the 1st inning, however, in his defense yesterday, he might not have had the problems if Espinosa hangs onto to the ball and Rendon makes the proper throw to home. Also Molina's hit was just pain unlucky – A bloop single to rightRendon never has to make that play if Espi holds on to the tag.It's the cause and effect of the one play. Again, no rewind buttons. Hard to believe though that the first play of the game changed the course.After the 1st inning. Nats 2 Cardinals 1

  17. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    cwj, here is my post, repeated. This is basically the same team we had last spring, except instead of Henry and Brad Lidge blowing games, the D is muffing them. If you have no offense, you can't afford the smallest mistake or bit of bad luck. ———————————————————-Nats went 14-8 last spring. Their batting average? .226. Their runs scored? 74.This year, after 21 games (10-11). Batting average? .235 Runs scored? 762012 April. Ryan Zimmerman was hurt, Michael Morse was hurt.2013 April. Ryan Zimmerman is hurt, Adam LaRoche is hurt/slumping.Difference? Obscenely good pitching, worse opponents, and a little bit o’ luck.

  18. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Stras had the same rotten luck against the Reds in the first inning of that game, too. He allowed three runs in that first inning on three hits — but two of those hits were grounders that went 70 feet. But he also allowed a walk, then a hard hit double (which scored two) and a ground-out-rbi (which also went about 70 feet).

  19. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    NatsLady, what changes would you make if you have 2 moves by Davey?

  20. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    This is basically the same team we had last spring, except instead of Henry and Brad Lidge blowing games, the D is muffing them.Whoa — big correction there. Henry wasn't blowing games at this time last season. He had nine saves by early May!

  21. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    The day of the Hot Stuff, in the first inning, three fielders, Ankiel, Desi and I forget who the third was, let a bloop drop between them for a double. Stras immediately loaded the bases, it started to rain, and Stras got mad because the umps didn't call for a delay. Finally, they did (an 8 minute delay). Stras came back, with the count 3-2, and promptly gave up a single. End of game. Stras vs. Padreshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-vs-padres-a-bad-day-for-stephen-strasburg-as-washington-falls-6-1/2012/05/15/gIQAlWBuRU_story.html

  22. bowdenball - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    JD said…"Bowdenball,"Isn't that a function of trying to throw too many different pitches with different grips?Isn't it easier to get the proper slot if you limit yourself to a couple of pitches?"Well Strasburg's a starter, so he can't limit himself too much when it comes to his arsenal. Beyond that, I don't know exactly what exactly was causing it. If I did I'd be a major league pitching coach instead of a desk jockey. But IIRC most if not all of those misses high and to his right were fastballs. I may be wrong though, too lazy to check each pitch.

  23. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Wonk, well, I was thinking of that game in LA. Henry was out of control, the game got tied in the 9th and Gorzy gave up the winning run in the 10th.

  24. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Ghost, honestly, I'm not sure I would make any immediate moves except to let Solano catch at least 1 game in 3 or 4, because Suzuki is wearing down. You brought Rendon up, you have to live with him and see if he improves. (I'm not sure I would have done that, but it's done, and it will be a good lesson for him. I have a feeling he thought he wasn't moving up the system fast enough.)Do not bring RZ back too soon. The lesson from last year is that when a key player comes back healthy it's a jolt as if you made a big trade.Find out if ALR is injured. If his back his hurting his play, SIT him or platoon him. Again, it's a long season, there will be plenty of chances for him to contribute.Start looking around to see if there is a market for Bernadina. If he can't hit off the bench you might as well have Eury Perez sitting there.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I'll say it again about the defense that they are making too many errors that go beyond what the official scorer can call an error -and- they are not making many spectacular plays of the Web Gem variety.1) Clearly too many infield E-5 and E-6 and LaRoche hasn't helped in applying some tags and making some stretches2) Poor relays on tailor made doubleplay balls. Those don't get assessed as errors.3) Yesterday's drop by Espi is not an error technically. Should've been a single and putout at 2nd.4) Span not making plays against the wall5) Mental mistakes of which base to throw to or who's covering a base 6) Positioning of defenders against certain batters and certain situations. I still contend that in the Braves game that once bases were loaded the corner infielders needed to be playing the line to defend against the double instead of staying off the line.

  26. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    peric said… And yeah I do criticize Davey for his handling of Rendon. I strongly criticize his handling of Rendon. He brags about being the world's foremost expert at bringing along, mentoring and refining top prospects.How has he handled him wrong? You were the one screaming that Rendon needed to be called up. You were the one screaming that Rendon should play 3rd in place of Zim.Well, you got your wish.Davey put Rendon in the 6-hole, which is a decent lower-pressure part in the order.What in the world are you blaming Davey for?

  27. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Ghost, I wasn't able to watch the game yesterday, but I was listening for most of it. Charlie and Dave kept saying how well the Cards were positioned/shaded to get prevent Nats' hits. Whose responsibility is that? Is there lack of scouting or coaching?

  28. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Wonk, well, I was thinking of that game in LA. Henry was out of control, the game got tied in the 9th and Gorzy gave up the winning run in the 10th. But that game was the end of April, and it was only the second time in ten appearances that he had allowed a hit or a run!

  29. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    I think it was premature to bring Rendon up, and if Davey wanted Rendon, you can criticize him and Rizzo for that. But once he is here, what is Davey supposed to do? He can't crawl into his brain and shout, THROW HOME, THROW HOME–although maybe Desi could. Again, I wasn't watching–were the infielders helping Rendon to make the right decision or did it go too fast?

  30. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Wonk, that was exactly my point. When you have no offense, even a few mistakes (like Henry's) become losses.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, honestly, I'm not sure I would make any immediate moves except to let Solano catch at least 1 game in 3 or 4, because Suzuki is wearing down. You brought Rendon up, you have to live with him and see if he improves. (I'm not sure I would have done that, but it's done, and it will be a good lesson for him. I have a feeling he thought he wasn't moving up the system fast enough.)Do not bring RZ back too soon. The lesson from last year is that when a key player comes back healthy it's a jolt as if you made a big trade.Find out if ALR is injured. If his back his hurting his play, SIT him or platoon him. Again, it's a long season, there will be plenty of chances for him to contribute.Start looking around to see if there is a market for Bernadina. If he can't hit off the bench you might as well have Eury Perez sitting there. April 25, 2013 10:20 AM All great points and glad you went there. 1) LaRoche is not right. Get him on the DL and bring in Micah Owings. TyMo is the new starting 1st baseman. Owings will give you some pop off of the bench and more than what Tracy is giving.2) Rendon continues to play everyday even though its a slow and painful process. Let RZim take his time getting back3) Ramos is back next week. Make sure Stras and Ramos stay as battery mates.4) Lombo is the starter at 2nd5) Bernadina if he isn't right get him on the DL with a hangnail and get him right on a rehab assignment

  32. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Ghost, I wasn't able to watch the game yesterday, but I was listening for most of it. Charlie and Dave kept sayingI was listening also.I was amazed at how much Charlie and Dave were complaining about two things:a) bad strike/ball calls from the ump. (In particular, they were livid when Storen was pitching — that succesful hit and run on 3-2 against him was two pitches after what should have been a called strike three)b) the incredible rotten BABIP luck. They kept noting how many hits and runs the Cards got on "dinks and dying quails", and noted the number of hard-hit balls by the Nats that went either straight to the gloves of the Cards (including one well hit ball up the middle that the pitcher snared between his legs), or were stopped by fielding web-gems.I know that many will gripe often about such things, but I don't recall Charlie and Dave making such gripes (especially so many times in a single game).Any thoughts on that? As I didn't _see_ the game, I can only take their word for it. Was it really like that, or are Charlie and Dave getting biased?

  33. Tcostant - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Storen also has a problem, the first inning he pitches. He he he

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, I wasn't able to watch the game yesterday, but I was listening for most of it. Charlie and Dave kept saying how well the Cards were positioned/shaded to get prevent Nats' hits. Whose responsibility is that? Is there lack of scouting or coaching?Its scouting and then implementation by the coaches and glad Charlie and Dave brought that up. Tarrasco is solely responsible for where Bryce plays and he is often moving him around but it seems he isn't doing the same with Span who clearly is playing too shallow most of the time. All players have tendencies. The Phillies fell asleep in their series with the Reds and didn't respect the Reds pitchers ability to bat and they got burned. You can't look at a position in the batting order and play someone like a chump in the outfield.I would play Span back almost as a matter of rule 5 steps which should allow the corner outfielders to play a step or 2 closer. It would have made all the difference in this series against the Cardinals.

  35. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Ghost, if Bernadina goes on the DL, you have to bring up another speedy outfielder type, which Micah Owings is not. Now, if ALR goes on the DL, I'm with you on Owings.

  36. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Ghost, that may be true about Span, but as a vet he and Werth can/should fix that themselves. Span is just learning the league, the park (and the wind), I expect he'll be fine.

  37. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Also, I think Span allows himself to play shallow because he has both corner outfielders to back him–which they do, quite energetically. No slacking in that outfield.

  38. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    NatsLady said… I think it was premature to bring Rendon up,The game moves so quick at this level and we were spoiled by Bryce.I think Rendon just needs more time to adjust. If he can go 3 for 4 he will have a nice looking stat line.

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    NatsLady said… Ghost, if Bernadina goes on the DL, you have to bring up another speedy outfielder type, which Micah Owings is not. Now, if ALR goes on the DL, I'm with you on Owings.Agreed. Owings for ALR and Bernadina stays for a while as Eury is on the DL with that wrist.

  40. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Very true, Ghost. I was not particularly worried about Rendon's hitting. He was brought up to plug the hole in the D at third, and there are just more situations at the "hot corner" than he is yet prepared for–a matter of experience. Tracy would have thrown home, but Tracy would get a hammy running the bases, so there you go.

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    When they picked up Span I expected the Red Porch to the visitors bullpen would no longer be that Bermuda triangle and unfortunately it's still doubles alley as Span isn't getting to his spots.The only way to get Span back to the wall quicker is to play him closer to the wall. It's more important to catch potential XBH than singles that he can't reach.I haven't been overly impressed with his range in comparison to Bryce last year, but yes, it's still early.

  42. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Is he back on the DL? I thought he came off and had a bunch of hits. Well, he did on Tuesday. http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_04_23_rocaaa_syraaa_1&t=g_box&sid=t552Yesterday's game was suspended, But he is in the box score with two hits.http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?gid=2013_04_24_rocaaa_syraaa_1&t=g_box&sid=t552

  43. 3dd01d8a-adb8-11e2-9c43-000bcdcb8a73 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    What is clear here is that until we prove otherwise is that St. Louis is our Daddy.

  44. 3dd01d8a-adb8-11e2-9c43-000bcdcb8a73 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    What is clear here is that until we prove otherwise is that St. Louis is our Daddy.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Great news on Eury then. Didn't realize that! Let's see if Bernadina gets that hangnail.

  46. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    Stras ended up pitching well after the first. The issue is not Stras, the issue is the pathetic at bats from players that are letting this club down and errors that will put this team with the 62 Mets if it keeps up. I just want to know what the hell these guys did during Spring Training besides NOT work on fielding and hitting? The good news is that the pitching core (Exception Haren who is terrible) is coming around,

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2013/04/25/is-there-hope-for-the-nationals-offense/I read this and I don't see the offense as the main culprit. It's timely hitting and a smart approach. It's Lombo standing up like a statue on 3-0 and Werth swinging away on 3-0. It's ALR going down on 3 straight pitches and the Nats not showing enough fight up there. It can't all be waiting for Bryce Harper to do something.Getting back to basics, is pitching, defense, and fundamentals with timely hitting. The Nats win 2 games this week if they could muster together 3 runs on offense. That's not asking for much.

  48. JD - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    Ghost, I beg to differ on a couple of points: 1) I disagree with the line of thinking that you DL a every slumping player; almost everyone on our team would be on the DL using that logic. 2) Bernie's history shows that if he ever got an opportunity to play 2 – 3 weeks in a row his game would come around and he would be valuable off the bench. I am not sure he will have this opportunity her which may make him a bad fit for us. 3) This idea that Rendon can come up and rake immediately is not realistic; there is a reason you development levels. Rendon has played like 50 games a AA; why the rush? Using Harper as an example of someone who can develop at the big league level isn't completely reasonable either. Harper is a generational level talent. It even took Trout 2 tries to make it in the bigs. 3) look at the hot shot prospects who have struggled when they came up and are still struggling: Smoak, Ackley, Hosmer, Alvarez. Rendon will be a great player; just give him time. 4) I agree about your mental mistake points but I still think that Mc.Catty et al have taken away Stras's aggressiveness and I think it's a mistake.

  49. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    to put in persective of how bad Haren has done, the 1971 Denny McClain who ended up going 10-22 witha far less talented team started off 5-4 with 3 complete games

  50. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Roger the shark has been awful and why he gets more pinch hits than Lombo is just mind boggling

  51. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    3dd01d8a-adb8-11e2-9c43-000bcdcb8a73 said…What is clear here is that until we prove otherwise is that St. Louis is our Daddy.they may not be the only team, Nats may have a lot of Daddies if they don't turn this around

  52. peric - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Zimmerman is not going to first base in the near future. No matter how many times someoner says it, it isn't going to happen this year, or next year, whether Davey is the manager, or not.Yeah Seamhead? AND WHO SAID RENDON wouldn't be up early? YOU. And who said he would? AND WHO WAS RIGHT?I don't care how much coaching you've done I've been following and watching baseball for a very long time and although I can be very DC centric and my memory isn't always the best I do seem to have a better handle on what's going on than you do. That's for damned sure.Seambrain you'd think you'd have learned to shut up by now? Now, when Zim hits first base as he should I'll be ALL OVER YOU so you'll be frightened to come near this blog … Zim is NOW on his fourth of year of an injury filled season and he is only 28. People want to trade him. I want his bat. I think the organization knows the same thing. He has the best bat on the club when he is healthy. What do you do with top hitters when they can't manage their original position anymore? Where did they send Pujols? Johnny Bench? Etc.? Etc? Joe Seamhead I would NOT want you as a baseball coach.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Mick, Haren's not my man although I got to hang with him in LA a few times. Very nice guy. Very knowledgeable.I suggest Lohse from the day he declared himself for Free Agency.Haren should've been far down on the list but now that he's here let's support the guy because he's pitched better than his record. He's also been let down by the defense and especially the umpires. Sure, his 1st start was awful and his 2nd start wasn't much better but his last start was darn good. Catch the ball Denard and Haren has a W.

  54. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    PericIt seems logical to move RZim to 1b eventually, but where would T Moore fit in? Let us assume Werth, Haper and Span are the OF the next 3 years. If T Moore is the future does he platoon with both RZim at 1b and Werth in OF?I think it makes sense once Rendon gets more experinece. It would add years to Zim's career as well

  55. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    Ghost… all good points and yes you were talking about Loshe back in the winter. I wish we had gotten him.my issue with Haren is from the standpoint that he is a veteran and he simply does not look like player who prepared in the off season and it shows and it really bothers me. I would love to be wrong.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    JD, you use the DL to your advantage. All teams try it with players with no options.I don't think you want to DFA Roger but he needs to get a do-over and the only way I see it is to get him a reprieve on the DL.My point on Rendon is that he is here. Make the best of it. No reason to sit him. With any luck he gets hot.

  57. peric - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    to put in persective of how bad Haren has done, the 1971 Denny McClain who ended up going 10-22 witha far less talented team started off 5-4 with 3 complete gamesMcClain was still the same pitcher Mick. He just wasn't ready for a 162 game season with a losing team. Its why the great Curt Flood bailed on us I guess. This was back in the day when there was no offseason conditioning. And McClain probably spent the year off with that suspension drinking and carousing. He wasn't ready. He probably injured himself as well. BUT McClain and Bosman weren't enough of a pitching staff. And the fielding in the infield was extremely sub par compared to the previous season as it was in the outfield as well once Flood left. Don Wert? Tommy McCraw? Harrah really wasn't ready. Cullen was a joke. NO range, no bat. Putting Reichardt in the outfield with Stroud and Unser might have worked but Reichardt was horrific …. and they platooned the two lefties so when they were out they were often terrible out there. Ted ended up wearing down that bullpen.

  58. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Peric… very well stated on 1971 Senators, I forgot about how bad Reichardt was, lol.

  59. peric - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    It seems logical to move RZim to 1b eventually, but where would T Moore fit in? He's your Rick Reichardt Mick. That's why they've been putting him in left and right field all spring. He'll be about as good in left as he is at first base eventually. If his bat is huge it'll work out fine.

  60. peric - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    I forgot about how bad Reichardt was, lol.His bat was good though … very good. Would've made a great DH.

  61. D'Gourds - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Wonk, I was at the game but listening to the radio. Dave and Charlie were complaing more than usual about the balls/strikes of Jim Joyce. While I didn' have a great view of the strike zone, I did notice the body language of Storen to his calls. Storen has to grow up. Part of being a successful major league pitcher is shaking off bad calls. He lets bad calls get to him and makes bad subsequent pitches as a result. I think Dave and Charlie were feeding off Storen's reactions. It reminded me of game 5. He's becoming a head case out there. You would never see Maddox let calls get to him. Get over itand execute the next pitch.

  62. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    pericwell said.

  63. bowdenball - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    There are a LOT of things that you can complain about this year when it comes to the Nats' defense, but Span's positioning/range and the middle infield's ability to turn double plays are not among them. In fact, I'd say those are the only two bright spots of the defense so far this year. It's weird that with so many legitimate options for criticism of the defense people would focus on those two bright spots.The Nats are tied for 4th in baseball in DPs at 23, only one team has more than 24. And I think maybe people don't realize how many difficult plays Span makes look easy because of his instincts and range. All the advanced fielding stats reflect it, even with the small sample since he arrived in DC.

  64. Rabbit34 - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I have the PERFECT solution for Strasburg's "first inning woes". It is such a simple solution. Start the game off with a reliever and have Strasburg come in, in the second inning! And you thought I just ate carrots all day.!#

  65. peric - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Sure, his 1st start was awful and his 2nd start wasn't much better but his last start was darn good. Catch the ball Denard and Haren has a W.In the grand scheme Harren is not that important. If he can't deal they send for Rosenbaum or Karns. Prolly the former if they are smart. He's on the decline Ghost. He may have a few more good games left in him but I don't seem him getting past five innings very often … and he knows it. He's pretty honest and straight up about it and I admire that.

  66. Ghost Of Steve M. - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    Bowdenball leading in doubleplays is a stat of circumstance where you have runners on base too often. When presented with the situation are you making the plays, yes, most if them.Span makes most of the plays. This week he hasn't been great going back on the ball.What have you done for me lately.

  67. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    bowdenball, agreed. For every muttonheaded play there has been a doubleplay that got a pitcher out of an inning. Span is fine. I like him a lot and hope he keeps up his initial approach of seeing a lot of pitches and walking. We have plenty of aggressive hitters on this team.

  68. DJB - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    As with most of the great pitchers, you get to them early before they settle in. The last start was good. It's the offense that let him down. Would still like to see him move the ball around the zone more and rely less on his stuff. He needs to take lessons from Wainright. Change sight lines in and around the zone. So he got out-pitched by Harvey. The league has not yet adjusted to him. They will, just as they have adjusted to Stras. After the league adjusts is when you become a "pitcher" and not a "thrower." The same goes with hitting. Harper has already adjusted to the curves in the zone and outside junk. The league has now decided that the best course of action is to pitch around him. Davey is doing the right thing by adjusting the lineup. Ultimately, you pick up a better slugger to put behind him. Now Harper has to take the walks and learn how to hit lefties and heaters. By August, with lineup support,I assure you he will. The problems with this team don't lie with Stras, but with the veterans and the front office.

  69. Lipty P - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Rizzo's poor OFFseason:Sign Haren for 13mil…awfulSign LaRoche for 2yrs/26mil…awfulTrade Morse for no major league help…awfulKeeping Zim at 3B…awfulDoesn't appear he gets any Executive awards but toilet bowl trophies this year!

  70. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    the issue is the pathetic at bats from players that are letting this club down and errors that will put this team with the 62 Mets if it keeps upSorry, Mick. The 1962 Mets were a friend of mine, and the present-day Nats are no 1962 Mets ;-)The 1962 Mets lost their first nine games. When they won the 10th game, putting them at 8 games under .500, it was their high-water mark.The 1962 Mets were so bad that they finished 10 games *under* their Pythag! Pythag predicted a 50-win season; they were 40-120.(Not picking on you Mick, just using your comment as a history lesson to review a really amazing season — they were so bad it was entertaining).

  71. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Charlie and Dave have a case. Joyce was definitely calling low strikes and outside strikes against RH hitters, and he favored the Cards more than the Nats by a slight margin. There is also one pitch he called a ball that is right, I mean RIGHT in the middle of the zone. Here are the maps. Look at the one at the bottom for LH batters.strike zone maps, 4-24-13http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?month=4&day=24&year=2013&game=gid_2013_04_24_slnmlb_wasmlb_1/

  72. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Sorry, I meant, RH batters. I am not sure how to check which pitchers suffered from the calls. Anyway, I'm trying to decide if it's warm enough to go to the game tonight….

  73. natsfan1a - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    waaaaaahh! waaaaahh! ;-)mick said… 3dd01d8a-adb8-11e2-9c43-000bcdcb8a73 said… What is clear here is that until we prove otherwise is that St. Louis is our Daddy. they may not be the only team, Nats may have a lot of Daddies if they don't turn this around April 25, 2013 11:10 AM I'm thinking it was Bernie but no time to check that right now.NatsLady said… The day of the Hot Stuff, in the first inning, three fielders, Ankiel, Desi and I forget who the third was, let a bloop drop between them for a double. Stras immediately loaded the bases, it started to rain, and Stras got mad because the umps didn't call for a delay. Finally, they did (an 8 minute delay). Stras came back, with the count 3-2, and promptly gave up a single. End of game. Stras vs. Padres http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/nationals-vs-padres-a-bad-day-for-stephen-strasburg-as-washington-falls-6-1/2012/05/15/gIQAlWBuRU_story.html April 25, 2013 10:13 AM

  74. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Lipty P said… Rizzo's poor OFFseason: Sign Haren for 13mil…awful Sign LaRoche for 2yrs/26mil…awful Trade Morse for no major league help…awful Keeping Zim at 3B…awfulAnd of course we can judge all those things after just three weeks, right?BTW, Morse is batting .231, and (according to B-R) *has a negative WPA!* of -0.3Seattle's probably thinking: why did we trade for a guy *in his walk year* who's performing worse than a replacement player, and we're in last place.(FWIW, LaRoche is also -0.3, but he's not in his walk year, which already makes him more valuable than Morse even at this stage of the season.)

  75. Joe Seamhead - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    bowdenball, I agree with you regarding Span. He has had a couple of baserunning guffaws, but overall he has played well.Well, peric, I wouldn't want you for a manager, or GM, of the Nats.Zimmerman may well move to 1st, but it won't be before 2015, in my opinion, which is worth about as much as yours is, neither of which is much in the grand scheme of things. As to Rendon coming up early,you made the call,but I said the only way it would happen would be in the case of injury, which is unfortunately what happened. I still believe Anthony needs the better part of a year in the minors. Not claiming it to be a fact, just my opinion. GYFNG!!!

  76. Janus - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    NatsLady,I was at that game, I believe Bernadina was the third fielder, in LF.

  77. DJB - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    I agree that the Haren signing was a miss, but it was a one-year deal. The LaRoche deal I was more ambivalent about. LaRoche has a clear hole in his swing that he has never fixed, which indicates at least a lack of flexibility. His open stance makes it difficult to reach pitches on the outside of the plate. It takes perfect timing to get those pitches to the opposite field, and that is one reason why he is always characterized as a slow starter. But his defense is superb. If the pitching is as good as last year, we should be able to overcome that. My biggest gripe is with the Zimm deal. He was signed through 2013 prior to the 2012 extension. He was injured the year before the extension. The Cards failed to give Pujols a long-term contract, but we gave Zimmerman a six year extension. This is proving to be the type of mistake that gets a GM fired. Though essential in the short term, Zimm is a long-term liability. He could have been traded for a younger player with more upside potential and a much better contact rate, which would have been perfect for Harper. But now he can't be moved, and he can't play consistently. He's turning out to be our ARod.

  78. Section 222 - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    I don't get why anyone would feel the need to attack and insult JoeS. He seems to be a nice guy and he's just expressing his opinions. They have as much value as those of any other commenter here. Here are my views on a few of these topics. (1) Rendon was called up because of an injury to Zim. That is a fact. If someone wants to congratulate themselves for predicting he would get called up, fine. But if you think you're smarter than someone who said, "barring injury, Rendon stays in the minors till September," you're not. (2) Rendon will return to the minors when Zim returns, unless another injury occurs. That is just a prediction, though I think it has a reasonable chance of coming true. Nothing Rendon has shown so far suggests he's going to force his way into the lineup, or even onto the 25-man roster, when Zim returns. (3) Zim will not move to first base this year. That is a prediction too, but with, in my view, a very high degree of certainty that it will come true. ALR is signed, and if he's healthy he's going to play first. If he's not, they're not going to make Zim learn the position on the job. (4) Zim will move to 1B at some point during his career. That is also a prediction, with a decent likelihood of coming true. For Zim to remain at 3B throughout his career (a) his ability to throw has to return and (b) Rendon has to be traded or learn a new position. Good chance at least one of these things doesn't happen. Oh, and I'll make one other prediction. Unless the Nats have serious injury issues, neither Karns nor Rosenbaum will start a game for the them before September. Same with Kobernus. We'll see how it turns out.

  79. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    DJB, the thing was with the Zim extension, a lot of that is on the fans (including probably me, as I was lukewarm to positive about it). RIzzo, IMO, bowed to civic and fan pressure. Maybe he shouldn't have, he probably shouldn't have, but he had other controversies on his hands without alienating the RZ-lovers. I think he probably knew that in the long run RZ would be a liability, just didn't expect him to be QUITE this fragile at his age.

  80. NatsLady - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    222, well said. The "I told you so's" are not fun. Practically every person who posts here regularly has looked foolish. I remember when Ankiel was going well last spring I thought he was the solution to our CF problem–and then he went back to hitting .220 and he wasn't. I had more hope for Chien-Ming Wang than anyone except Mike Rizzo. OTOH, I predicted in the face of all doubters that Bryce would be up as soon as was possible without losing the year of free-agency. Best just to make your prediction/assessment, give your reasoning, and let it go at that. No one is keeping score.

  81. DWS - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Simple really. It's baseball. Never any guarantees. What ifs and there buts are what it is. That's why I love/hate it.

  82. mick - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    A DC Wonk I meant 62 Mets in terms of errors, not overall record

  83. DJB - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Also, not to pile on, but I don't think moving Zimm to first is going to solve his health problems. We may need to wait a couple of years when, if lucky, he is tradeable. We will need to rely heavily on pitching and may need to eat the contract. Unfortunately, we cannot improve our weak farm as we would otherwise be able to do if we could trade Zimm. I'm also not impressed with Rendon's hand speed, but am hoping for the best. Time to lay out the bucks for a good hitter in FA. We need Harper to stay around, and I don't think he will play for a losing franchise.

  84. Eric - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Agree with those praising Span…really like what he was doing before he was off with the stomach bug.Can't wait for this team slump to pass…

  85. A DC Wonk - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    A DC Wonk I meant 62 Mets in terms of errors, not overall record Nope — can't compete with the '62 Mets there, either. They made 210 errors in 161 games. They have *five* positional players finish in the top five for errors (and nobody on the team in top five in their position for fielding pct).(Nats have made 19 errors in 20 games — so, imagine it slightly worse, and then continuing that abysmal pace for the entire year!)No team can touch those amazing Mets!

  86. JD - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Sec222 and NatsLady, I must join you in the opinion that there are too many posters intent on proving that they are smarter, more connected and more intuitive than everyone else including the manager and the GM and it really is quite childish and irritating. You can have as many opinions as you want and they can be as outlandish as you wish as long you are not abusive or redundant. It's also not really necessary to underscore every post with 'As I said before' or to quote yourself in an effort to prove your brilliance. Let's just exchange opinions and move on.

  87. JD - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    As awful and gut wrenching as this current streak feels it's really not the end of the world. Many, many teams including last year's world champions have dug themselves out from much deeper holes and at much later points in the season. The 1st step in my opinion is to stop the bleeding and I do see some hopeful signs. The starters and the bullpen are slowly rounding into form, not dominating but much crisper. With all the analysis of LaRoche his performance this April is not that atypical for him. He generally ends up being reasonably productive when all is said and done. Desmond and Espinosa will hit better; that's their history and Zim with all his health issues is still a vital cog and I am sure will put up good numbers before all is said and done.

  88. natsfan1a - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I'll third that.JD said… Sec222 and NatsLady, I must join you in the opinion that there are too many posters intent on proving that they are smarter, more connected and more intuitive than everyone else including the manager and the GM and it really is quite childish and irritating. You can have as many opinions as you want and they can be as outlandish as you wish as long you are not abusive or redundant. It's also not really necessary to underscore every post with 'As I said before' or to quote yourself in an effort to prove your brilliance. Let's just exchange opinions and move on. April 25, 2013 1:23 PM

  89. natsfan1a - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  90. natsfan1a - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. Daylos - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    Can't wait until said poster arrives and responds. The Nats Insider board could get pretty spicy, really quickly……

  92. natsfan1a - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Not sure who said poster might be, as I scrolled through a lot of stuff here.

  93. Eric - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    "it really is quite childish and irritating."Not childish so much as Internetish, imo ;)

  94. sjm308 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Oh Eric, you have no idea. He has actually toned it way down. We used to have a steady stream of Bolded posts with immature negativity being spewed right and left. I have to give him credit for actually cleaning up his act (mostly) but on the other hand, his act never changes. Its always geared toward the younger players and when he is right just duck because the posts will come hot and heavy. god forbid you disagree though and don't every expect him to say he was wrong. I live with it because of the good stuff I can learn on here.Seamhead, you post whatever you wish and keep doing it with class.

  95. sjm308 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Mick: you know I love you but what does comparing a washed up pitcher in 1971 have to do with today? You can't compare stuff from 40 years ago. Haren is not pitching well, just say that. He has nothing in comparison with Denny. I honestly hope we will bounce back and start playing well and most of the "stuff" on here will disappear. Baseball is a great game to analyze and I love second guessing a certain play but when we are going bad it seems like people just pile on. Like others, I hope Zimm takes all the time he needs to get healthy and does not rush back. Same for Ramos. I don't expect to see any kind of position change for Zimm until LaRoche is finished here. Now, LaRoche may be finished earlier than we had planned but in my opinion, Zimm will play 3rd base this year. If for some reason Peric is correct and it happens earlier, I am wondering if Mark can start a 2nd blog just for Peric so he can write endless comments on his wisdom and how silly and dumb the rest of us our.

  96. sjm308 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    "rest of us are" (thought I was kidding about silly and dumb huh?)

  97. Eric - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    "Oh Eric, you have no idea."I'm not quite sure to whom you're referring, but what you describe just sounds like the Internet to me ;) .You ever frequent grateful dead, phish, or political message boards? People lose their damn minds on the Internet! I'm well acquainted and generally find it amusing…

  98. Joe Seamhead - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Sec222, thank you. As Todd Snyder says in a terrific song, "I think I'm an alright guy." I've spent a good deal of the past couple of weeks helping out an elderly neighbor who has a bunch of trees down on his property from storms.I've been attached to one end of a big Stihl chainsaw, on a wooded hill, expecting snakes under every log. The copperhead last Friday was literally the fourth snake in a week, though the first copperhead I've seen in years. I try to keep attacks from anonymous Internet posters in perspective.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 53 43 --
ATLANTA 54 44 --
NEW YORK 46 52 8.0
MIAMI 45 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 55 11.0
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter