Skip to content

Strasburg bounces back to dominate Rockies

Jul 2, 2014, 12:34 AM EDT

AP AP

In the wake of one of the worst performances of his career, Stephen Strasburg mentioned a mechanical glitch he needed to fix, a small tweak he felt would lead to fewer pitches left over the heart of the plate.

Just as important, though, may have been the mental adjustment Strasburg was able to make and use to his advantage during his dominant performance Tuesday night against the Rockies.

“I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “I think I just wanted to go out there and trust myself and just have a little bit finer focus on where I wanted to execute the pitch. And I felt like I was able to keep the ball down a little bit better.”

The results spoke for themselves: Strasburg carried a shutout into the eighth inning Tuesday before surrendering a garbage-time home run, the only blemish on his night and the only hiccup during the Nationals’ 7-1 thumping of Colorado.

Strasburg looked nothing like the guy who was torched for seven runs Wednesday in Milwaukee, matching a career high. Instead, he looked very much in control, having his way with the Rockies’ lineup en route to a convincing victory.

Batterymate Wilson Ramos agreed Strasburg’s renewed focus was more important than any physical alterations he made.

“To me, he doesn’t need to change too much,” the catcher said. “He just needs to go out there and do what he likes to do. Just focus and trust his pitches, and that’s it. That’s all he needs. He’s got good stuff. He doesn’t need anything more.”

Strasburg’s night did get off to a bit of a laborious start, with the top of Colorado’s lineup fouling off seven pitches in the top of the first, forcing the right-hander to throw 21 total pitches to the game’s first three batters. But he bounced back quickly from that, needing only 72 pitches to complete his next six innings.

“I think I just settled down a little bit more and was able to command the fastball a little better,” he said. “When they were fouling them off, I wouldn’t say they were necessarily great pitches. I think once I was able to execute the pitch a little better, I was able to have them put it in play with weak contact and they hit groundballs.”

On a hot, muggy night — the heat index was 97 at first pitch — Strasburg worked a bit slower than usual. But he also worked deeper into the game than usual. With the Nationals comfortably ahead, manager Matt Williams let his young hurler take the mound for the eighth inning for only the second time in 18 starts this season, only the seventh time in his career.

Strasburg wound up surrendering a towering home run to D.J. LeMahieu and then departed two batters later with his pitch count at 111, but the Nationals were pleased to have the opportunity to extend him more than they had in recent outings.

“Any time somebody’s got a shutout like that … try to push him through the eighth and preserve that,” Williams said. “LeMahieu got a curveball and took care of that in the last inning, but I thought he pitched really well.”

Strasburg still has a ways to go to get his entire season back on track — he’s now 7-6 with a 3.53 ERA, 1/2-run higher than his career mark entering 2014 — but bouncing back from a particularly poor outing six days earlier was an important first step.

“I don’t think it was something crazy,” he said. “Everybody has bad outings over the course of the year. You’ve just got to get back to where you want to be mentally and go out there and execute pitches.”

  1. waddueyeno - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:54 AM

    Nothing like waking up on the Amalfi coast to read NI. Especially the last two games!

    Ciao tutti,

    • mauimo22 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:38 AM

      Amalfi Coast? Life is good then? Ciao tutti. Enjoy.

    • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      La dolce niente! Enjoy.

    • Section 222 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      Jealous. Very, very jealous. Are you teaching over there again, or just sunning yourself?

      • waddueyeno - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:05 AM

        Teaching directing and sunning.
        And eating.
        Best to all the imaginary friends. And real ones

        Forza nationali!
        (Gyfng)

  2. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    I said yesterday morning that Stras needed to have a good outing and he indeed did that. Now, can he be consistent and do this on the road. 1-5 on the road has to change. FP mentioned the mound in other parks as a factor. That is BS, simply because other mounds do not effect other teams ace pitchers. The whole key for Stras is becoming consistent, can he do it?

    • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:15 AM

      Yes.

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      To Mick’s satisfaction, no.

      But that tells us more about Mick than about Stras.

      • micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        explain your response? that is a bit over the top my friend and baseless

      • micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        FP brought up opposing teams mounds as to why Stras stinks on the road, i simply called it out as a lame excuse for the simple FACT (not opinion) that so may other ace pitchers do not have that problem, a mature response is all that is needed not an attack on me because you disgaree

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        Mick

        Sorry if my response was unnecessarily confrontational, but I did have a serious point to make. I have read enough of your comments here to know that you are a serious and passionate fan. You also seem to be one of those fans–and there are a lot of them–who live and die with every game, and have exaggerated responses to losses and bad outings.

        Thing is: they’re going to lose some games. Stras is going to stumble occasionally. We have to accept that and factor it into our definition of “consistency,” and not blow up after every loss or poor performance. We have to judge him and the team over the long term.

        In other words – the expectations we set, and how we define consistency, says more about about us than about Stras. That’s what I meant.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:26 AM

        PS – In terms of the specifics of this case:

        As others have pointed out: MOST pitchers have better home than away #s (and I would ignore W-L in judging the individual performance).

        That’s especially the case with Stras this year, but I think that has more to do with a coupla bad outings in a small sample size than anything else.

    • bowdenball - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Apparently I have a habit of accidentally clicking “report comment” instead of “reply.” Please disregard, Mark or other moderator.

      On the “mound” thing: Strasburg’s home/road splits were similar in 2013 but in 2012 he was actually better on the road by a decent amount. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. When you only have 15 home starts and 15 road starts a year, all it takes is a couple stinkers to throw off the splits.

      As to the argument that “mounds do not affect other teams’ ace pitchers: remember that the mound thing was just FP’s silly theory, nothing more. Being on the road, however, does affect good pitchers on other teams too. Even Clayton Kershaw has a 0.78 WHIP, a .516 OPS against and a 1.80 ERA at home at home vs. a 1.11 WHIP, .611 OPS against and a 2.36 ERA on the road. Most athletes and teams perform better at home than on the road.

      • bowdenball - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        Another one:

        Yu Darvish at home: 0.97 WHIP, .502 OPS against, 1.83 ERA
        Darvish on the road: 1.46 WHIP, .749 OPS against, 3.18 ERA.

      • bowdenball - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        Let’s keep it going, shall we?

        Felix Hernandez at home: 0.84 WHIP, .479 OPS against, 2.16 ERA
        Hernandez on the road: 1.01 WHIP, .570 OPS against, 2.04 ERA

      • micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        good response, but I thought the 2014 graph had Stras at 1-5 on road? did not know that about Kershaw. I wish FP had not brought up the mound

      • bowdenball - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:02 AM

        micksback1 – Jul 2, 2014 at 8:57 AM

        “good response, but I thought the 2014 graph had Stras at 1-5 on road?”

        As others have pointed out, wins and losses are team statistics, not player statistics. Strasburg can’t control the offense or the defense or the bullpen.

      • Candide - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Most athletes and teams perform better at home than on the road.

        That should surprise nobody. Every GM builds his team to win in HIS ballpark. Got a bandbox? Look for pitchers who throw lots of ground balls. Right field has a jet stream that turns routine flyouts into doubles off the wall and doubles off the wall into homers? Make sure your everyday lineup has several lefty batters who can take advantage.

        Even teams’ grounds crews help the home team. A weak-armed catcher or third baseman can be helped by grass along third base that’s cut so as to make bunts tend to roll foul.

      • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        Yeah — and look at the Rockies:

        ERA 5.20 at home; 4.83 on the road!

        Oh, wait . . . .

        (yeah, yeah, I know, I’m just playin’ witcha . . . )

      • Section 222 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        Important points here, especially that the mound thing was just FP’s silly theory. I ignored it at the time, as I do many of FP’s lame rationalizations for poor performance by the Nats’ players, and Mick, you should too. Lots of factors on the road make players less effective. That’s why “home field advantage” is an actual thing.

      • Doc - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        Home is where the heart is—Anon

  3. Candide - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    What I thought was especially noteworthy was SS’s fielding. Quickly covering first to complete the 3-6-1 double play, and fielding that tricky swinging bunt. That speaks to me of a guy with his head in the game regardless of the situation – which hasn’t always been the case with Strasburg.

    I wonder how much (if any) influence Fister has had in that regard.

    • Eric - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      +1. The coverage on the 3-6-1 was excellent.

      • Sec 3 My Sofa - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        If the could just get him to run the bases like that!
        ; )

      • therealjohnc - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:28 AM

        I realize that the comment about Strasburg running the bases wasn’t meant seriously, but as far as I’m concerned all of the starting rotation guys are in the “Ramos” category of baserunning – i.e., easy does it. I’d much rather have Strasburg pull up at second with a safe double than pull up at third with a hustle triple … and a bad hamstring. I don’t have any problems with Stras not attempting to score on the wild pitch yesterday because (a) the marble base of the backstop often gives very quick bounces back to the catcher; and (b) more importantly, I do NOT want Strasburg, or any of the starting rotation, involved at a collision at the plate in a routine game in July.

        I appreciate Treinen, Hill, Detwiler and the rest of the team’s depth. But I’d love an extended run of Strasburg, Fister, Roark, Gio and JZim.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    I feel like the whole #’s ratings of pitchers is overblown by fans. Every starter on this team from Strasburg to Treinan is capable of not only pitching a gem on any given game, but also of going on a hot streak. Each is also capable of the doing opposite. Same as on any other good team.I said last night, and I’ll say it again, I’m glad that Strasburg is on our team. He not only pitched a good game last night, he played his position in a way that would make Doug Fister proud. And he got on base twice, and scored a run. He had a complete all around ballplayer’s game. And regardless as to how bad the Rox are playing, the team he beat was wearing ML uniforms. The fact is, I like every pitcher on this team right now, [even if I still have some reservations regarding Jerry Blevins].

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:54 AM

      Wow, Candide, I might owe you 2 drinks from one post!

      • Candide - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        Do you want to owe it to me or cheat me out of it? ;-)

    • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Every starter on this team from Strasburg to Treinan is capable of not only pitching a gem on any given game, but also of going on a hot streak. Each is also capable of the doing opposite. Same as on any other good team

      Does any other team have five pitchers who are more likely than not to pitch a gem?

      • therealjohnc - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:30 AM

        The Dodgers have Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Beckett and Haren. All of them have had brilliant games this year, including no-hitters by Kershaw and Beckett.

      • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:37 PM

        Good point.

        OK, how about: might the Nats be one of only two teams that . . .
        ;-)

  5. scnatsfan - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    SS pitched a great game last night. Maybe for one post we could get off his back and enjoy it.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Mick, Stras has pitched 9 games in which he gave up 2 or fewer earned runs.

    Wins and Losses are team stats. 3 games on the road Stras has gone 6 2/3 or more and have up 3 runs and took losses which certainly shows with good run support could’ve been Ws.

    If FP used the W and L stat to hang on Stras, shame on him. Stras has thrown 5 clunkers this season and 13 of 18 that were there for a solid chance for a team W. I will take all of those percentages FP.

  7. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Ghost

    great point, I think we all just want to see consistency from Stras, I know at least 1 loss on road was not on him. It just seems that after a good game, Stras follows it with a game where he he gets shelled in early innings. lats night the 1st inning or second where his pitch count was high, he recovered very well. My beef of Stras has been when he falls apart after getting hit early, that is what has to change, last night I hope was a good sign

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Mick, he had fastball control which he needs and can use his killer changeup off of that.

      I also want to see consistency and more than that have him work out of his own jams. He has to get Ks when he has a runner on 3rd. I’m not impressed by Ks with nobody on base if it takes you 7 pitches. Get me outs. Get me quick outs. Put the team in a position to win. Go deep in the game. That’s my definition of an Ace.

      Fister and JZim have been Aces. They’ve come up big in big games.

      • micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:21 AM

        well stated

      • natszee - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        + 10

  8. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    bowden, stats are funny, below are pitchers who do very well at on the road this season

    1. Madison Bumgarner (SF) 9 239 1.32 .205 .554 9.39 1.47
    2. Adam Wainwright (STL) 10 283 1.46 .195 .512 8.03 2.19
    3. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) 8 195 1.62 .210 .557 7.38 2.16
    4. Cole Hamels (PHI) 6 168 1.71 .227 .627 9.00 3.00
    5. Jason Vargas (KC) 7 185 1.75 .217 .601 6.80 3.11

  9. adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Most unique play ever?

    A 7-2-4 triple play that involved a double challenge (with one of them overturning the ump’s call)

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140702&content_id=82658954&vkey=news_cle&c_id=cle&partnerId=ed-8386600-720599263

    =========

    Also note: the left-fielder intentionally bounced it, because he wanted to keep the throw low (that’s what he said in the interview) to help prevent the other baserunner from tagging up.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      FromGhost of Steve M on yesterday’s blog at 2:18:

      Yesterday a poster said outfielders don’t want to throw strikes to catchers and want to bounce them which is complete fiction

      Later from the same post from Ghost of SteveM at 2:18:

      Please, for the sake of the people who read here for knowledge, let’s not make up stuff to make a player look better.
      ———————————————————————————-
      FYI, Ghost of SteveM, I wasn’t making anything up. I don’t know as much as you on some things, such as Fan Graphs and advanced metrics, but I do know a little about outfielding. Just saying.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:45 AM

        You know a lot but the point being they almost never want to bounce a ball but it’s almost the inevitable as very few outfielders can throw a 250+ rope to home so a bounce or 2 happens as gravity takes over.

      • 6ID20 - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Here’s all you need to know. Those who talk the most generally know the least. Ghost of Steve M sure does talk a lot around here, doesn’t he?

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

        Steve? We’re not going to agree on this, but every announcer commenting on the triple play referred to the throw as being either “perfect,” or as a perfect one bounce throw. The player said the bounce was his intention. I explained why it is done in last night’s game thread. Believe it, or not, is your choice. I don’t care. What bothers me much more than the difference of opinion is that you publicly ridicule my statement as being fiction and accuse me of making stuff up to support a player.I don’t expect you to admit that you might be wrong, but you need to know that neither you opinion, or mine, is worth not one iota more ,or less, than anyone else’s. I’ve said my piece will just move on.

    • Eric - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      That’s amazing!

  10. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    bowden

    I know about wins and losses and my emphasis is on era, of Stras’ 5 road losses, look up the era for each of those games

  11. Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Replay came into play on this very unusual triple play last night. [Please note the throw to the plate]:http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140702&content_id=82658954&vkey=news_cle&c_id=cle&partnerId=ed-8386600-720599263

    • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      Joe Seamhead – Jul 2, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      I think I’m going to appeal for *two* beers on that one, because you make two different points ;-)

      See adcwonk – Jul 2, 2014 at 9:06 AM

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        Bartender! Beer and shots for the house!

      • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        !!

        OK, now we need to hear the thoughts of those who were saying that throwing on a bounce is a poor choice. I”m not trying to needle anybody, just wondering what he/they think of the LF’s throw and comments on that play.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:19 AM

        adcwonk, from my perspective it was textbook as to what constitutes the correct throw to the plate.

  12. bowdenball - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    “bowden, stats are funny, below are pitchers who do very well at on the road this season

    1. Madison Bumgarner (SF) 9 239 1.32 .205 .554 9.39 1.47
    2. Adam Wainwright (STL) 10 283 1.46 .195 .512 8.03 2.19
    3. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) 8 195 1.62 .210 .557 7.38 2.16
    4. Cole Hamels (PHI) 6 168 1.71 .227 .627 9.00 3.00
    5. Jason Vargas (KC) 7 185 1.75 .217 .601 6.80 3.11″

    Yup. They’re quirky in small sample sizes, which was really my point.

  13. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    ok

  14. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    Hiram

    that is cool, no problem

  15. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM

    I am surprised there are no comments on Mike Wise article about Harper “21 going on 12″

    I notice something about the Post and in general the media in all areas of subjects, they (media culture) want it both ways, on one hand hey state they are not homers and are objective, but yet on the other hand, they have no problem spewing a negative spin on just about anything. I thought George Solomon had retired. I generally like Mike Wise, but do not get the Bryce bashing. this responds me of how they all ganged up on George Allen, Lefty and UMD when anyone ever stood their ground. I hope the Lerners tell the Post to go to hell.
    I am not giving Bryce a pass, but the op ed today was NOT neccessary, the Nats finally have things together and its as if the Post wants to stir crap up that does not exist

    • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      I agree. It’s tiresome.

      I think most of us are ready to move on. Hope the WaPo columnists catch up.

      • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        It sells papers (or gets more clicks?) so to speak.

        It happens in every city — the main star on a team says something controversial, and everybody goes wild with it.

        It’s the news business as usual.

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:49 AM

        Agreed.

        I just hope they have the self-awareness to realize what they’re doing, and the conscience to be at least a little ashamed–it’s a cheap and lazy way to practice their profession.

  16. micksback1 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    also, correct if i’m wrong, but Bryce was asked about the lineup from a reporter, go figure

  17. jd - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Mick,

    The problem is that Bryce through a team mate under the bus and on top of that he was wrong (Span is way better than Espinosa and it’s not even close).

    Bryce is a 21 year old and is a product of a generation which has no filters, on top of that he is a very extroverted man/child who has had a lot fame for someone his age which unfortunately leads to foot in mouth disease.

    There is no doubt that Harper is a supremely gifted ball player and also appears to be a good guy but he would be well advised to measure his responses because words can really hurt. If I’m Werth or Zim I take him aside and have a serious talk with him before he says something else that will boomerang on him.

    I don’t think it’s an accident that umpires are giving him a raw deal. Every wants to put him in his place, it’s his job not to help them.

    • Doc - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Harper’s selection of Espi over Span may be the result of poor math skills.

      Alternatively, Harper may have spent more time with Espi on the bench, during his convalescence, than actually playing time with Span.

      Span’s on the path for 50 2Bs this season; Espt’s on the path to oblivion.

      Shame on Bryce!

  18. scnatsfan - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    From MLBTraderumors.com article on Astros. I apologize for not linking as I’m not sure how but I gve them the credit.

    When Nationals GM Mike Rizzo called to express interest in middling Astros starting pitcher Lucas Harrell, who had a 5.17 ERA at the time and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, “[Luhnow] told him we would still need a headliner like [Lucas] Giolito because we still value Harrell highly. Rizzo did not respond immediately.”
    Harrell was designated for assignment, outrighted, and traded for a pittance nine months later, so the Astros might have overplayed their hand.

  19. Theophilus T.S. - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Harper is the creation of Scott Boras. As someone else pointed out, he has absolutely zero filters. Johnson made no visible effort to rein him in, Werth can’t reach him, Williams has attempted, with a bounce back effect, to show him he needs to expect to be treated like any other player. Boras from all appearances seems willing to just sit on the sidelines and let Harper attempt to inflate his own image. It’s not difficult to imagine, in five years when Harper has taken his 125 career HR and 390 RBI to NYY, for more money than any other, rational, owner would pay, Rizzo will look at Williams and say, “Well, that was an interesting adventure. I know this, I’m never going to use my top draft choice on a Boras client again.”

    I agree that the Washington baseball community should let this move on. The question is, will Harper shut his trap and tap into his talent, and let it happen.

    • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      I can’t even begin to count the ways that I think you are wrong on this.

      Johnson made no visible effort to rein him in… — so what, he didn’t do it in public

      Werth can’t reach him — how do you know?

      Boras from all appearances seems willing to just sit on the sidelines and let Harper attempt to inflate his own image — I doubt that. Boras is a very hands on agent, and, would rather have a client that doesn’t have publicity problems

      Rizzo will look at Williams and say, “Well, that was an interesting adventure. I know this, I’m never going to use my top draft choice on a Boras client again.” — Umm, you do realize that our starting pitcher last night was a top draft choice represented by Boras, right?

      • Hiram Hover - Jul 2, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        And the Nats’ top pick this year, Fedde, is a Boras “advisee.”

      • Theophilus T.S. - Jul 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        I do realize Strasburg is a Boras client. Although I have carped in the past about Strasburg’s inconsistency I think, given the heat and such, last night’s was an excellent effort I also think he has a much more modulated persona than Harper, although he has a tendency to lay off some of his farts, e.g., the Milwaukee stinko, on other un-named persons. Maybe that’s the new peridiem — the more hype surrounding your arrival the greater your freedom to occasionally speak indiscreetly.

        Your point that maybe Johnson attempted to rein in Harper out of the public view only reinforces my point of view. If you assume that such efforts were made, they were unsuccessful. And whose fault was that?

        My most fervent desire is that Harper for the remainder of the season reserves his comments for the box score.

      • adcwonk - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM

        If you assume that such efforts were made, they were unsuccessful. And whose fault was that?

        How do you know they were unsuccesful? How do you know how he would have acted otherwise last year?

        And, for that matter, I don’t recall (which might be a function of my own brain) Harper making comments like that in the second half of last year. So, indeed, it may have had an effect.

  20. NatsLady - Jul 2, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Adam Kilgore was on the radio this morning. He had nothing but praise for Span, said Span was the ultra-professional, and possibly the “best” person on the team this could happen to, as he is a genuinely good guy and team player. He attributed Bryce’s remarks to partly being oblivious to their effect and partly wanting to state his thoughts on what would be the best for the team–something which everyone agrees it’s not his place to state out loud, but which you can’t really ask him NOT to think about.

    I also listened to Jason Stark (sp?) on a podcast making a big thing about it, saying it bears watching, etc. etc., and Buster Olney saying star players on the Nats have more “influence” than on other teams–how on earth would he know??? Maybe they are more outspoken, but maybe that is also Rizzo’s policy, treat players like adults. I remember when Clip was upset about Storen being sent down and Rizzo said, “Clip’s entitled to have his say.” Then it went away, with no repercussions (that we know of, anyway).

    As has been mentioned, Zim made clear he wanted to play LF, Werth made clear he didn’t want to lead-off, and so forth. I can easily believe Harper spent his convalescence imagining what he would do if he were the manager and then spurted out his thoughts. I can also imagine he has some resentment towards Williams, who was a star player in his own right and won’t kow-tow to Bryce. Too bad. The clubhouse has to re-absorb a member who has been absent, but that will happen.

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