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Observations from the Nats’ 3-1 loss to the Diamondbacks

May 14, 2014, 6:00 AM EST

AP AP

Some ballgames are loaded with twists and turns and enough key decisions to leave armchair managers second-guessing for days. And then there are ballgames like the one played last night at Chase Field, a 3-1 Diamondbacks win over the Nationals that was about as clear-cut as they get.

If you missed it, here’s the Cliff Notes game story: Stephen Strasburg pitched pretty well, but Bronson Arroyo pitched exceptionally well.

Given the way the two right-handers cruised through most of the evening, it felt like there weren’t many significant situations worth a second look. What few defining moments there were, though, were amplified. And so they deserve to be analyzed more in-depth, especially these three…

1. STRASBURG’S SACRIFICE BUNT IN THE TOP OF THE 5TH
The game was tied 1-1 when Tyler Moore sent a 1-out single to right, then advanced all the way to third on Kevin Frandsen’s well-placed bunt, with third baseman Martin Prado’s throw sailing wide for an error.

So that put runners on the corners with one out and the pitcher stepping to the plate. Not an ideal situation, by any stretch, but what happened next surely frustrated more than a few people: Strasburg dropped down a bunt, moving Frandsen up to second base but leaving Moore at third.

It was a waste of an out, one that at first glance appeared to be given up with no intention of trying to bring the lead runner home. As manager Matt Williams later explained to reporters in Phoenix, it was not a straight sacrifice bunt that he called, but rather a safety squeeze. Moore was free to try to score if he felt like he could make it. Problem was, Strasburg’s bunt was back to the mound, giving Moore no opportunity to come home.

Regardless, it still seemed like a wasted plate appearance, purposely giving up an out with only a slim chance of driving the lead runner in. Why not let Strasburg swing away? Obviously, the worst-case scenario would have been an inning-ending double play. But in his five big-league seasons, Strasburg has proven to be more-adept with the bat than the average pitcher. The odds of him getting a ball out of the infield and bringing the run home seemed greater than him perfectly placing a safety squeeze bunt.

Of course, the whole thing would’ve been moot had Denard Span followed with a 2-out, 2-run base hit. But Span struck out on three pitches, so the Nationals were left with nothing to show for the inning, a golden opportunity squandered.

2. GOLDSCHMIDT’S 2-RUN DOUBLE IN THE BOTTOM OF THE 5th
Strasburg didn’t make many mistakes during his 7-inning start, but one of his biggest mistakes proved his costliest. With two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth, he hung a 2-2 curveball to Paul Goldschmidt. And the Diamondbacks slugger did what you’re supposed to do with hanging curveballs: He crushed it to deep left-center.

By the time the Nationals got the ball back to the infield, two runs had scored and Goldschmidt had cruised into second base.

Little did anyone realize at the time that double would prove the difference in this game, but it certainly felt like a significant moment as it played out.

It was merely one mistake pitch by Strasburg, and every pitcher is entitled one mistake. But it came at a most-inopportune time, and it came against one of the league’s best hitters, who lived up to his reputation in that moment.

3. WERTH’S FLYOUT TO LEFT IN THE TOP OF THE 8TH
Speaking of mistake pitches, Arroyo’s 1-1 slider was his fattest pitch of the night. It spiraled up there, not breaking so much as it hung right over the heart of the plate to a guy who has crushed more than his fair share of mistake pitches over the years.

Jayson Werth, though, missed it this time. He got ever so slightly under the ball, lofting it to left field for a routine flyout that quashed the Nationals’ last-best hope of tying the game (or potentially taking the lead).

The Nats had two on and two out when Werth came up to bat, with the Diamondbacks forced to stick with the potentially fading Arroyo as their bullpen furiously scrambled to get somebody ready. This was their opportunity to produce yet another late-game rally and flip the script.

Werth didn’t miss it by much, but he knew he missed it. Upon making contact and watching the ball make its lazy path toward left field, he slammed his bat to the ground.

Good hitters know they may be lucky enough to get only one mistake pitch thrown their way on any given night. And when you get one, you can’t waste it. Werth came close to seizing the opportunity, but he just missed.

That felt like an appropriate description of this entire ballgame. With two pitchers in good form, each club was going to get only a couple of chances to deliver in key spots. The Diamondbacks did it. The Nationals did not.

  1. NatsLady - May 14, 2014 at 6:10 AM

    Stras was good, he just wasn’t great. He matched evenly with Arroyo, both teams had the same number of “chances.” But Stras shouldn’t match evenly with a guy like Arroyo, he should be better. He’s younger, has better stuff, better peripherals, etc.

    Yes, a veteran like Arroyo can be good and smart and tough. Yet here was Stras, on regular rest, on a fine evening weather-wise, presented with a last place team, with only one hitter averaging above .300 and that guy in a slump. This was a day when he needed to pitch eight or nine innings of shut out (or one-run) ball to compete. I know that’s asking a lot. Yes, I’m asking a lot..

    • BurnedOnce - May 14, 2014 at 7:14 AM

      It’s not asking a lot. It should have been a no brainer. Mental maturity is not there yet tho.

    • npb99 - May 14, 2014 at 7:34 AM

      “he should be better” – that’s the issue, we think he should be better. But he is what he is, a good pitcher, not a great one.

    • tcostant - May 14, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      I agree. I’m now starting to believe that Stras is a very good ML pitcher, but not elite and may never be elite. He is not a top 10 ML pitcher. He is very good, but based on what I think he will cost when he hits free agency, I think the Nationals need to sign JZimm to a long tem extention. I just don’t see Rizzo paying Stras $25M a year for this pitcher.

      • Hiram Hover - May 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM

        I’m frustrated, too, but what exactly is “elite” or “great” vs “very good”?

        Since 2012, here’s where SS ranks among qualified MLB starters:

        ERA – 13
        K/9 – 3
        K/BB – 15
        WHIP – 14
        FIP – 5
        xFIP – 2
        SIERA – 1

        Putting it all together, he’s been one of the best 10 or so starters in MLB over the period, and that’s for a guy still in his mid-20s. I don’t get how that is merely “good” or a “#2 starter,” as some posters are saying.

      • npb99 - May 14, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        That’s right. We should take him for what he is, not what he was projected to maybe be. His post-TJ ERA is in the low 3s, which is good, but not great. We should stop expecting him to become the next Pedro/BigUnit/Rocket/MadDog, or Kershaw for that matter.

      • natszee - May 14, 2014 at 10:33 AM

        I agree, he is very good and end it there. I do agree that when evaluating a ball player, especially a pitcher, many metrics should and must be considered. HH did a fine job in the 2012-2014 analysis of SS performance in several key stats. Having said that, if the objective is to secure a playoff spot and then go as deep as possible, I don’t think they count these statistics …. I think they count W & L.

        So, since 2012, Stephen Strasburg ranks 38th in wins … Just one win less than Dan Haren who is 37th. For the record, Gio ranks 6th in the MLB with 35 wins and Zimmermann ranks 12th with 33. Very good pitcher – YES. Ace? – I’ll leave that up to the individual to decide but in my book, in 2012 it was clearly Gio. In 2013, it was clearly JZ. 2014? Too early to tell … Unless you read the press clippings

      • 6ID20 - May 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM

        Two words that are way over-used to describe pitchers: elite and dominant. Kilgore is the worst offender. He treats them as if they are binary concepts when what they are is a continuum. Pregnancy is a binary concept. How good a pitcher is? No. Vocabularies need to be expanded here.

      • tcostant - May 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Hiram Hover, it mostly a feel. Durung that time (a little more this year) you noted he doesn’t go deep into games, basicly a 6 to 7 inning pitcher. His ERA is based on earner runs, he allows way to many unearned runs (which he can still control, sometimes you need to pick a teammate up an get an extra out). I said he is not a Top 10 pitcher, so here are the pitchers that are better right now (not talking about contracts or a trade, just that these guys are better right now):

        Adam Wainwright
        Zack Greinke
        Clayton Kershaw
        Jose Fernandez (injuried)
        Johnny Cueto
        Matt Harvey (injuried)
        Max Scherzer
        Justin Verlander
        Felix Hernandez
        Yu Darvish

        Others like Price & Tanaka I just trust more. Again, I’m not saying Stras is not good, just not a top 10 pitcher in baseball…

      • Hiram Hover - May 14, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        tconstant

        Well, we could debate some on that list (Matt Harvey was having an awesome 2013, but a pretty short track record to make definitive judgments).

        But even if we accept them all, SS by your reckoning still seems 11th or 12th or 13th–which, no, is technically not “top 10,” but close enough that it hardly seems worth arguing about.

        Those stats I was citing, by the way, included 2012 – my “since 2012″ was confusing.

    • adcwonk - May 14, 2014 at 10:15 AM

      Yes, a veteran like Arroyo can be good and smart and tough. Yet here was Stras, on regular rest, on a fine evening weather-wise, presented with a last place team, with only one hitter averaging above .300 and that guy in a slump.

      Umm, look at the Nats lineup. Also only one hitter above .300.

      Strasburg threw the right pitch — Goldschmidt had been killing Strasburg’s fastballs all night, and Stras had a wicked curve ball going.

      But Strasburg hung it, and Goldschmidt smashed it. It happens. Goldschmidt is a great hitter — finished 2d in MVP voting last year.

      Arroyo hung one to Werth, and Werth missed it. We had our chances.

      Those two pitches and those two swings were the difference in the game.

      (Well, that and also that K and DP to kill our own rally).

  2. Doc - May 14, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    I felt the same way about the SS atbat. Just plain wasted, and the mistake was on Williams, not Strasburg.

    We could also get into pitchers and squeeze bunting, I suppose.

    But in the end, It just wasn’t very smart baseball. It sort of reminded me of something that Riggleman would have done.

  3. pchuck69 - May 14, 2014 at 6:39 AM

    >> but Bronson Arroyo pitched exceptionally well.

    Arroyo didn’t pitch exceptionally well. He pitched the way he always pitches with precisely the same pitches he always throws. The Nationals hitters just didn’t make any adjustments to it. They were given no guidance from the manager or coaches and kept going to bat, over and over and over again, doing precisely what they did the previous time up, with similar results.

    At this stage of Bronson Arroyo’s career, it is an embarrassment to an offense for him to throw a complete game while giving up one run.

    • DaveB - May 14, 2014 at 6:54 AM

      In his previous 2 games, Arrroyo had given up only 5 hits & 3 hits and no Earned runs to the first place Brewers & the Padres ….I guess there are a bunch of embarrassed Major League players running around out there.

      • pchuck69 - May 14, 2014 at 7:46 AM

        Neither of these were complete games.

        When a manager sends his starter out for the 9th inning, he’s telling you that despite the fact that they’ve watched him pitch an entire game, had three or four at-bats against him, the manager still doesn’t think they can hit him. That’s Kirk Gibson putting his foot on the throat of the Nationals offense.

        And this isn’t a cross between Roger Clemons, Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson were talking about here. Bronson Arroyo is infinitely hittable and it doesn’t matter what he did in the last two games. Even at what would be considered his best at this point in his career, he shouldn’t be able to do what the Nationals allowed him to do last night.

    • rabbit433 - May 14, 2014 at 7:38 AM

      You’re right. He didn’t pitch exceptionally well. But it’s so damn frustrating that when they come up against us, the result looks like an exceptionally well-pitched game. Ugh again.

    • tcostant - May 14, 2014 at 9:03 AM

      Your on to something. I heard Ray Knight on the post game and he talked about when you face a guy like Arroyo, you need to have a team approach and go to RF. He said that these Nats hitters, don’t have the hitter IQ to change their approach and just swing the same no matter who is pitching. I think he is right…

    • adcwonk - May 14, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Hello? In Arroyo’s last three games, only one team has scored an earned run off of him.

      That would be the Nats.

      Arroyo is inconsistent, but when he is “on”, he’s pretty good.

  4. 3on2out - May 14, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    This idea that a pitcher made only one mistake the whole game is a little gratuitous. He made one mistake on which the other team capitalized. I think generally speaking there are several mistakes through out a 90 pitch game. Most of them the pitcher gets away with.

  5. BurnedOnce - May 14, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    Since when does a squeeze play involve the runner going if he feels like it? MW may have call it a squeeze play but what he described is a sac bunt.

    • scmargenau - May 14, 2014 at 7:34 AM

      Always. That’s why it a squeeze.

    • Eric - May 14, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      My understanding is:
      Safety Squeeze = non-force situation, go on contact if you think you can make it
      Suicide Squeeze = non-force situation, go when the pitcher starts

  6. 3on2out - May 14, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    It’s the difference between a suicide squeeze and a safety squeeze. Strasburg’s bunt was horrible and TyMo had to stay at 3rd.

  7. scmargenau - May 14, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    First off all, SS made several bad pitches that inning and gave up several hits, including the game winning double.

    On the squeeze, FP explained it perfectly. It’s a very good play, if the bunt is bunted to third. Moore trails the third baseman and runs home if he throws to first. What #failed was SS bunt. It was pathetic.

    • nats128 - May 14, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      Ray Knight in the postgame had some nice video to show how poor Strasburg was on missing his target. It usually doesnt hurt a good pitcher against poor hitters as they still have to hit his cheese however Goldschmidt isnt a poor hitter and he took advantage.

  8. rabbit433 - May 14, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    The Nationals cannot waste opportunities. They need a lot of them because they take advantage of so few. I could see after Arroyo’s second hit that we shot our load in the second inning. Could just feel it. So, click; off with the TV. Sure enough, 3-1 loss. Anyway, a typical Nats game. Ugh. Disgusting.

    • Section 222 - May 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Just curious. Did you give up on Monday night too? :-)

  9. Natsfool - May 14, 2014 at 7:36 AM

    Disagree with the analysis. Stras pitched well enough to win, but the loss was on plate approach. Ramos adjusted, but the rest of the team did not. Desi got the kind of pitch he could hit, a slow fastball in the second, but Arroyo decided to throw junk after that. His command was still off, though. A better hitting team would have hit him hard. And I don’t think our injuries affected the outcome here.

  10. numbskull111 - May 14, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Games like this just prove what we have here….a mediocre team that got all the preseason hype.

    Good teams go into Arizona and sweep the lowly Diamondbacks….average teams “hope” to win the series…and bad teams lose the series.

    Also, somebody needs to take Matty Williams off his meds. I remember him as a pretty fiery player and coach for the Diamondbacks. He seems like he is in a coma here. Wake up Matt, show some emotion…you and your team both seem to be just going through the motions.

    • adcwonk - May 14, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      Good point! Because we all know that if he just yelled more, RZ and ALR and Harper would finally start hitting, right?

      • snerdblurter - May 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        I’m with you in theory, wonk, but you’ve gotta play the hand you’re dealt and he’s yet to show a pulse. If he waits much longer, it will come as out-of-character and desperate.

      • adcwonk - May 14, 2014 at 11:20 AM

        Well, I’m a big believer that yelling rarely works in baseball, and, further, that we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

        Trying harder may work in basketball and football, but baseball is often a game of millimeters. Further, what’s the point at yelling at a bench player because his not hitting like a starter? There’s a reason he is a second-string player. Yet, unfortunately, we have a lot of bench players forced to make start after start.

      • snerdblurter - May 14, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        *come across

  11. dcwx61 - May 14, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    Can’t win em all but two out of three aint bad

  12. lplipty - May 14, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Stras is a good #2 pitcher, at best. He doesn’t have the mental fortitude to be an ace.

    Am I the only one who noticed his FB hovering at 92 all night?

    He needs to get back to being a rookie…going up there throwing 99 and trying to strike out everybody, ie Clemens and Nolan.

    • pchuck69 - May 14, 2014 at 7:50 AM

      His fastball averaged 95.4 mph last night according to Brooks Baseball.

      • adcwonk - May 14, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Aw, c’mon, you’re going to ruin a good theory with stuff like facts?

  13. natsjackinfl - May 14, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    I know Arroyo has the capability to be very good but I can’t help but believe the Nats have problems with command and soft tossing mixed bag specialists.

    That has to change.

    • Sonny G 10 - May 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      +1 Absolutely, natsjack. I was going to make this same point. Arroyo is not only a soft-tosser, but he changes arm angles using straight over-the-top, three-quarters and side-arm. His balls react differently with each arm angle. Out hitters need to learn to make adjustments when facing soft-tossers such as what Ray Knight spoke of in the post-game.

  14. philipd763 - May 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    Strasburg has never been as overpowering and dominant as he was before TJ surgery.

    • Sonny G 10 - May 14, 2014 at 1:44 PM

      I agree with this and I think the reason is that it takes time to regain command after TJ surgery, and then he had to have his elbow cleaned out, which also can affect command, ala Storen last year. If he can remain injury free, I expect him to regain the command he had before TJ.

      You could tell he was having command issues last night because he wasn’t consistently keeping his fast ball down in the zone.

  15. chaz11963 - May 14, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I think some of you are being awful harsh on the Nats and MW. That was simply a very good pitching performance by Arroyo. Stras pitched fine, completed 7 strong innings. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the safety squeeze play by a pitcher in the 5th inning. Stras didn’t execute it, and then Span couldn’t pick him up. I don’t like losing this way, but these games are going to happen. They can still take the series with a strong showing today. Hopefully Fister can bounce back today.

  16. Eric - May 14, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    IMO, Stras’ seemed rather unflustered all night last night. I don’t feel lack of maturity or “mental toughness” or whatever on his part had anything to do with the outcome of the game. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled through and kept the game definitively within reach.

    I also feel that people are downplaying the quality of Arroyo’s performance. He wasn’t perfect, but imo his catcher called a great game and he executed very well in more than a few situations.

  17. TimDz - May 14, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    This game was lost in the second inning, when they had one run in and a man on third with nobody out, and they couldn’t even plate that second run…..
    Against a soft tosser, they need to take a less aggressive approach and stop swinging out of their cleats…

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 14, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      Agreed in general terms (although it’s probably a bit much to say ‘the game was lost’ at this point). But with Ian Desmond on third and no outs, Danny Espinosa needed to bring him home and couldn’t/didn’t. Would a second run have changed the game? Impossible to say. But it wouldn’t have hurt.

  18. nats2005 - May 14, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Wednesday Morning Ramblings….

    Having 3 of your top 4 batters out of the lineup for an extended period is going to hurt any team’s chances of winning. Last in the majors in runs scored in May is very troubling. This pitching staff is not as good as it was at the beginning of 2012 when it could win 2 – 1 ballgames.

    It seems like this team is staying afloat, but they are not playing as well as they were in April and having ALR out is killing this team right now with Rendon and Espi coming back to earth.

    And I have a tendency to agree with Knight on his comment. Against soft tossers with a lot of breaking stuff, the Nats don’t fare well. Milone, Arroyo…similar styles, minimal velocity, pinpoint command and the Nats hitters swinging away full tilt with 2 strikes.

    Ramos had a great AB when he let the ball get deep and hit that liner to the 2nd baseman. For some reason, they just don’t take that mentality against pitchers who throw in the high 80’s and they seem to get the best of them.

    May was a good stretch to move up in the standings with some below .500 teams on the schedule.

    They are definitely not taking advantage of it and with Zim looking like he won’t be back until June, going with Espi for 3 – 4 more weeks is not going to help.

    • Eric - May 14, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      We’re two games into the stretch against mostly weak team, and we’re 1 – 1…a little early to say we’re not taking advantage, imo.

  19. Joe Seamhead - May 14, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    Ray Knight last night said something that is a given even in high school baseball that the Nats didn’t employ last night. When a pitcher is living on junk off speed stuff you move forward in the batter’s box to effectively reduce the effect of breaking balls. As best that IRay could see every Nats batter stood with his back foot all the way to the back of the box as if they were facing 97 mph fastballs. You would think that pro players would make that one simple adjustment. “Why not” is a good question to ask the hitting coach.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      +1

    • masterfishkeeper - May 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      Ray Knight had a career OPS+ of 99 (that’s slightly below average) and a managerial winning percentage of .477. I don’t think he’s got all the answers.

      If a player is used to hitting from the back of the box, it may be more effective to continue to employ that approach.

      • Sonny G 10 - May 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        But Ray was telling us that Pete Rose and some other good hitters used that approach, so don’t go by Knight’s numbers.

    • Hiram Hover - May 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      Is this the first gentle rumbling among natsinsiders of “fire the hitting coach”?

      It was only a matter of time….

    • Sonny G 10 - May 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      +1

  20. soonernat - May 14, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Wow! Such doom and gloom….and to think really good teams will lose 66 times during a season.

    First the mascots race last night had their Mascots running down our Presidents and taking them out (Mark Grace is their Teddy).

    Second Stras looked good in person. His speed was up all night and he never looked rattled….of course now some will criticize him for not being firery enough! How has his run support been this year?

    Second the comments about the Nats not adjusting against Arroyo during the game and swinging from their heels was not evident from the seats behind Nats dugout….anyone else notice Werth striking out trying to go to right. Games like this happen, it’s just not fun when they do.

  21. Theophilus T.S. - May 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    I wish I had heard Knight’s trenchant observations re: Strasburg’s location, Nats’ hitters “IQ,” etc. By the eighth inning I was sufficiently disgusted to turn to whatever they were doing on ESPN. FP opined that Strasburg can’t pitch from the stretch, can’t hold his head straight. What else about pitching hasn’t he learned in five years in the majors? It certainly explains why he gives up runs in bunches. The Nats have sold a lot of tickets to watch Strasburg pitch but haven’t gotten much more out of him. I don’t think I’m going to be overwrought when he turns down $150MM from the Lerners to go pitch in LA or SF.

    If I remember correctly, Arroyo befuddled the Nats last year (or was it 2012?) in Cincinnati. They’ve seen him before and the result was the same. Knight is absolutely correct: Arroyo throws porridge up to the plate, the hitter can wait until the pitch gets deep and go to the opposite field if so minded. Ramos may have had one good AB but I saw both him and Span (of all people) try to pull the ball and roll over into easy IF outs. (Wasn’t particularly paying attention to other hitters but I assume the outcomes were similar.) Desmond may have had seven TB in two games but continues to swing at everything with stitches.. Monday night he took two pitches that were called balls, then swung at a slider that was literally ten inches off the plate, took a strike and struck out swinging at a letter-high FB. Do they have a kangaroo court in the club house? He should have been fined $1,000.

    • bowdenball - May 14, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      You don’t think you’re gonna be unduly complicated or excited when Strasburg goes to LA or SF? I would hope not. That would be a weird reaction. I would think you’ll just be relentlessly negative, as you usually are.

      Why can’t people understand that sometimes in baseball it’s just not your night? There’s nothing to be mad at here. They got seven hits and a walk and they only struck out twice. Usually an offense that only strikes out twice is gonna put up some numbers. Last night they made a lot of solid contact and it just didn’t fall. There was nothing wrong with their approach.

      Oh, and you’re completely wrong when you say that “they’ve seen him before and the result was the same.” Last time the Nats faced him was April 25th of last year, they murdered him, scoring 6 runs and chasing him after 6 innings. Oh, and guess what? He only had two strikeouts and one walk in that game too. The Nats’ hits just happened to fall that day, that’s all.

      • Hiram Hover - May 14, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        The entire tone of this thread seems surprisingly negative.

        Ray Knight is the only person getting any kind of consistent praise, which is very, very weird.

      • Eric - May 14, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        lol, indeed, HH.

    • Eric - May 14, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Ramos’ first two at bats were solid, and he hit it hard, the second one was just hit on a line directly at the second basement.

      His third or maybe fourth at bat is the one where he tried to pull it.

  22. tcostant - May 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more:

    http://nypost.com/2014/05/14/duda-sandberg-blame-shake-shack-for-food-poisoning/

    Don’t we have a Shake Shake at Nats Park???

    • Section 222 - May 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      We do. Fortunately, the lines are too long to eat there. :-)

      • ArVAFan - May 14, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        Hmm. Two of my friends had gotten food poisoning from “our” Shake Shack last year. But obivously it doesn’t happen often enough for the health department (or the marketing department?) to take action.

      • Section 222 - May 14, 2014 at 4:47 PM

        Wait until it happens to a player or manager!

    • 6ID20 - May 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM

      Rookie manager mistake. You’re supposed to toss the postgame spread BEFORE you eat it.

    • natsfan1a - May 14, 2014 at 11:53 AM

      Ahhh, so *that’s* what happened when Z’nn couldn’t start the final game of the road opening series at Citi Field. Stay away from the Shake Shack, boys, both at home and on the road… ;-)

  23. Drew - May 14, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Strasburg always reminds me of the Hubble Telescope — an exquisite instrument that is highly susceptible to misfortune.

  24. Theophilus T.S. - May 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    Bowden —

    It appears the Arroyo start on which I commented was in 2012 — at Nationals Park; 7.1 scoreless innings of three-hit ball. So last night was pretty much deja vu all over again.

    • bowdenball - May 14, 2014 at 12:19 PM

      Except for the fact that it was a completely different lineup in 2012, you mean. And you ignore the fact that they shelled him twice after that, later in 2012 and in 2013. Taken together that shows pretty clearly that he doesn’t have their number or anything. It’s mostly luck with guys like Arroyo who let you put the ball in play and hope it stays in the yard and the defense gets the job done. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Has nothing to do with approach or discipline or any of the stuff you complained about.

  25. David Proctor - May 14, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    I’m amazed at how many people here treat Ray Knight as if he’s some baseball expert. Knight occasionally has good insight, but more times than not, he’s an idiot. He’s sort of like FP, but way, way worse.

    There was one inning where Strasburg’s velocity dipped noticeably. I saw him hit 91mph and he didn’t get above 93mph. That was the inning the 2 runs scored. The next inning his velocity was back up. Not sure what that’s all about, but I also noticed it.

    I’ll also repeat my comments from the game thread. What made last night so frustrating wasn’t that we lost, it was how. Their pitcher scored a run and we left a guy at third with no out stranded. If we get the run in and Strasburg doesn’t allow the hit to Arroyo, it’s 2-2 and I like our chances in a bullpen game. When the team is missing it’s big boppers, you can’t afford to beat yourself and I feel like we did that last night. But, today’s a new day. Win today, win the series, and go beat the Mets this weekend.

    • 6ID20 - May 14, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Say what you will about Ray and FP, but they both played the game at the highest level. Ray managed in the majors and FP in the minors. That may not qualify them as baseball experts, but it guarantees that they know more about the game than anyone posting here.

      • Nats Amore - May 14, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        +1 Spot on. Knight’s both played the game at the highest level and has a WS ring to boot.

    • tcostant - May 14, 2014 at 2:02 PM

      I was at a game when Ray Knight punched Jaun Samuel in the face when he slide into 3B. The guy is not an idiot.

  26. David Proctor - May 14, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    By the way, Arroyo has really bad L-R splits. Missing LaRoche and Harper hurt us badly last night. Instead, the only LHs in our lineup were Span and Espinosa.

  27. Section 222 - May 14, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    Hey folks — If you are thinking of going to Pittsburgh to see the Nats over Memorial Day weekend, the leader of the NATS NATS NATs cheer group in Section 313 has purchased a block of tix in a similar spot in PNC Park. They are reasonably priced — under $25 I think. He still has tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s games. So if you want to be heard on the radio broadcast, contact me and I’ll put you in touch. My email address is on the NIDO BBS.

    http://prettyfrickenbueno.wordpress.com/whos-going/his-her-ni-bbs/

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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.

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