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Beltway Baseball: Strasburg will be alright

May 10, 2013, 12:00 PM EST

In this episode of Beltway Baseball, Mark and I talked about Stephen Strasburg’s up-and-down first month, when Davey will pick a catcher, and how the Nats compare with the Braves right now.

Stay tuned later today for clips from The Baseball Show and our weekly MLB power rankings. Also, I talked to Ross Detwiler yesterday about the Capitals as they get set for Game 5, so look out for that.

  1. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Take 2Haren getting 20 wins, over the howls of what a bum he is, would be funny.

  3. SCNatsFan - May 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    There was alot of talk how these starters feed off each other and each wants to be the best. JZim is walking the walk – who else takes that next step with him this year.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - May 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    How bad are things in Toronto? Ramon Ortiz is their starter tonite.

  5. Theophilus T. S. - May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    "JZim is walking the walk – who else takes that next step with him this year." Gonzalez has taken a couple of steps backward; Detwiler and Strasburg are shuffling. Haren will prove out better than Jackson but overall the starters are a lot less dominating than last year.

  6. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 10, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    You think that's bad? The Cubs are a mess.

  7. blovy8 - May 10, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Mark makes an excellent point about fastball command for Strasburg, but at least he has a great change and curveball. The trick is trusting the curve when he's behind in the count, since in a particular inning that might be his best pitch.Haren seems to live and die by fastball command. It's pretty clear Jordan and Det have it in spades, but I don't know that Gio has every really had consistent command, so maybe he could be more aggressive with the curve. If he could snap that off for a first pitch strike more often I think, that might help get more swings on the fastballs out of the zone.

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - May 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I liked the video and the composure Mark/Chase referred to of Gio after giving a leadoff HR to Marte in the Pirates game but I don't agree with that he loaded the bases as the Nats 3rd baseman had another throwing error.For the starters, Stras needs to locate his fastball better earlier in games. Everything else seems to be working for him.Gio is one to watch. His weekend's start against the Pirates showed that Gio actually can throw a nice changeup. What will we see in a game when Gio is throwing a 4 seam, 2 seam, curve, and changeup and everything is working?JZim is nothing short of amazing. He's throwing with pinpoint precision and when he doesn't like an ump's call you know JZim threw a strike. Once he starts getting those calls on the black, he can twirl a no-hitter. He's already been close twice.Haren showed he can finesse his way through a start. It doesn't always look pretty. Even that 3 run 6th inning was a combo of a clean hit, a bunt single and a 3 run HR on a great pitch where you have to credit the batter for sitting on it and getting it.Detwiler started off great and has had a couple of tough starts. His reliance on throwing almost all fastballs has shown the league is adjusting to him. He needs to get back to keeping the batters honest with some other pitches from his arsenal.Overall the Nats team pitching ERA is only slightly worse than last year 3.47 vs. 3.33. That amounts to 23 runs over 162 games. Nats are now at a run production of 3.56 runs scored per game vs. 4.70 runs scored per game last year.Baserunning has been bad and blame can go all around including the base coaches.Outfield defense has been great and Span and Bernadina have done a great job. Span's UZR is +6.3 and the Nats outfield has saved a combined 8 runs so far. The Nats outfield has made the pitchers better but unfortunately the Nats infield has cost defensive runs and RZim's UZR is a -2.5 Maybe UZR is really something you can't count on since Chad Tracy has a +.9 UZR.

  9. EmDash - May 10, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    From what I understand, UZR in a sample size less than a full season of regular play can fluctuate wildly and be a bit unreliable. Defensive runs saved is somewhat better, but it seems like the stats community haven't fully solved how to quantify defensive play yet, unfortunately.Baserunning is definitely a big concern; with an offense as shaky as the Nats have been they can afford to give up their baserunners even less than the average team. I'm surprised the beat writers haven't written more about this.

  10. Harpo - May 10, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    "EmDash said… Baserunning is definitely a big concern; with an offense as shaky as the Nats have been they can afford to give up their baserunners even less than the average team. I'm surprised the beat writers haven't written more about this."The baserunning has gotten worse over last year. Part of what annonys me is this laziness of the pitchers running the bases. Run hard to first base and I don't think thats asking to much. When you get on first, please don't get picked off.

  11. Eric - May 10, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Agreed about the baserunning. It's very strange that RZimm and Rochey have notched the most impressive base running plays today.

  12. Dave - May 10, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Hey, that's a standup behind section 313!I heard an interesting comment by Tim Kurkjian on yesterday's ESPN Baseball Tonight podcast. He said, basically, that Strasburg seems to be stressing a little bit at the realization that he is currently not the dominant ace of this team, and that he's used to the notion that he should be among the top handful of pitchers in baseball. Not only is he not that, he's not even the best on the Nats. (Of course, it could be argued that top of the Nats would more or less equal top in baseball.)Stras hasn't seemed to settle in yet. I think Mark hit the nail on the head: Stras needs to emulate Jordan and take control, not fret and fuss with his body language on the mound.

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