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Zimmermann returns to form in dominant start

Jul 29, 2014, 10:56 AM EST

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MIAMI — Lost among the furor over the fateful ninth inning of last night’s 7-6 loss to the Marlins was one particularly encouraging development for the Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann looked like Jordan Zimmermann for the first time in weeks.

The right-hander dominated Miami’s lineup, carrying a shutout into the seventh inning and ultimately departing having allowed just two runs on four hits, walking one while striking out six.

Thus allayed any fears that Zimmermann was still out of sorts after his bout with a strained biceps muscle earlier this month, an injury that forced him to skip the All-Star Game and left him rusty in his second-half debut at Colorado last week.

“I was on more normal rest,” said Zimmermann, who went 11 days between his previous starts. “I still had an extra day, but I didn’t have [10] days off like I did before. I felt good. Hopefully I have a lot more good starts.”

Asked specifically about his arm in the wake of the biceps strain, Zimmermann expressed more confidence.

“Everything was fine,” he said. “Didn’t have any issues. Seems like it’s good.”

Perhaps more than the results Monday night, Zimmermann and the Nationals were most encouraged by his improved fastball command. That had been his undoing July 11 in Philadelphia and then again last week in Colorado, where he gave up four runs and eight hits in only five innings.

Against the Marlins, Zimmermann’s 94-mph heater hit catcher Wilson Ramos’ target with precision.

“Really good tonight,” manager Matt Williams said. “He was down in the zone, great slider tonight. He pitched really well. Much better than his last one. I think his last one was just rust. Tonight, he proved that he’s back on it.”

Zimmermann was well in line to earn his seventh win of the season, his first since June 30, when he handed over the game to the Nationals’ bullpen. That, of course, didn’t exactly go as planned. The right-hander refused to blame Rafael Soriano and Co. for one blown lead.

“No one is perfect,” Zimmermann said. “These guys are going to have bad games. They’ve been picking me up all year. You’re going to have a bad game from time to time. Tonight was just one of them. Sori’s going to be alright. He’ll come back tomorrow and hopefully save the game.”

  1. Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:15 AM

    Actually Sori won’t pitch tonight. I think that’s pretty certain. And thanks to Mark, via tweet, for squashing that old tired meme that Sor “always” is an adventure. However, he’s been an adventure recently, and was a disaster last night. As a long time supporter, I have no trouble saying that. I also don’t think drastic measures are necessary, but MW has to be willing to replace him if he doesn’t have it on a given night. And when the opportunity presents itself, like it did last night, to not use him two days in a row. take it. No need to flirt with making his option vest either.

    On another topic, we constantly hear “I was too rested” as an excuse, ok fine, an “explanation” for poor pitching performances. Since it’s apparently so widely known that this affects certain pitchers, don’t those pitchers and their teams have a responsiblity to protect against that “too much rest syndrome” A different in between starts regimen, change the bullpen schedule, whatever. Do what needs to be done. I’m sick of hearing about it after the fact. It’s not like they don’t know when their next start is going to be.

    • 6ID20 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:28 AM

      The problem with pulling Soriano right away when he clearly doesn’t have it is that there’s never another reliever warming up when the closer comes in. Before you go complaining about the cult of the closer, realize that except for LaRussa-like matchup situations this is true whenever ANY reliever comes in. If a pitcher melts down as completely and quickly as Soriano did last night, there really is no remedy for that.

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:39 AM

        True. And in a WaPo about MW’s evolving management, it was said that the relieves complained about him getting them warmed up and not using them too often, and he’s back off from that. Bear in mind the Nats are now in a long stretch without an off-day, and that it could still rain in August and September to make the schedule even more challenging.

        Matty and Mike need to decide RIGHT NOW if Barrett is going to be part of the bullpen in August, and if Blevins is going to be anything more than a LOOGY. You can’t go into this stretch at less than full capacity.

      • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Glad you raised that about the WaPo article and the relievers’ request that he back off the practice of precautionary warming. I really think what we saw last night was, at least in part, the anti-Fredi use of the bullpen, AKA the Nats’ tendency not to sacrifice arm health for…well…really anything.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:06 PM

        Sorry, but I disagree. I’m not talking about pulling a closer, or anyone else, right away. But if a guy walks the leadoff hitter on four pitches, you get someone else up. Two more hitters, a couple of mound conferences, and a nice slow walk to the mound by Cat and later MW, and you can replace Sori before Salty comes the the plate with the score 6-4. Or at least before the save is blown by the wild pitch and Hechavarria’s triple (the *5th* batter of the inning.) If you guys weren’t smelling walkoff Miami win by then, you were living in a dream world.

        Plus, I don’t know, and I assume you don’t know, who else might already have been warm. Sori, of course, was warm when Barrett got in trouble the night before, but that’s a special case. But had Stammen or Barrett thrown already last night? If so, their warmups could have been even quicker.

        As for the relievers’ complaints, maybe he has backed off generally, but his was a very winnable game, and I’m sure they will suck it up if needed.. MW needs to manage to win games, not conserve his bullpen for August in a game that we lead by 3 in the 9th. It wasn’t necessary to leave Sori in there to face 6 batters before finally pulling him for Blevins when the save was blown and the winning run was on third base. It just wasn’t.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:24 PM

        Completely with Sec222…. Agree, completely…

        Sori didn’t have it… and should have been pulled…

        And I hope people know that Monday morning QBing is for people say the shoulda. woulda, couldas AFTER the game as opposed to during the game… I really hope people know that…

    • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      FWIW, I don’t think you can truly eliminate the “too much rest” syndrome. I have a similar problem with preparing my left hand to play live acoustic guitar when I go too long between gigs. If it’s been more than 3 – 4 weeks, I invariably wind up with sore fingertips by the end of the first set and with the skin under my middle finger nail getting pulled away a bit (unbelievably painful).

      I’ve tried various practice schedules to avoid the problem during long breaks, but I find it’s absolutely impossible to put the same kind of oomph in it necessary to “break in” my fingers properly.

      I suspect it’s the same problem when it comes to pitching a bullpen/sim game vs. pitching a game that matters in front of thousands of people.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Sorry about your fingers, but I really don’t think it’s the same problem. JZnn complains that he has 10 games off. Of course, some pitchers probably wanted the rest, but if he didn’t he should be doing something about it. We hear this excuse far too often, even when guys have 1 or 2 extra days rest. I’m skeptical anyway, but even if this too much syndrome is real there’s got to be some remedy.

      • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:19 PM

        I’m not saying that Zinn dislikes rest, I’m saying, it’s conceivable to me that the only way for him (and others) to adequately calibrate his throwing power is to burn something off every 5 days with “live rounds” if you will.

        No need to apologize about my fingers, btw, it’s beyond worth it 😉.

    • tcostant - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Lets see what Stras has got, a true ace would pick up his team with 7 or 8 innings of 1 or no runs. More like is we will see Stammen by the 5th inning…

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:01 PM

        I thought the same in Milwaukee after the 16-inning game. I’m hoping today is the day.

      • bowdenball - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Sure, 1 or zero runs over 7 to 8 innings. That seems like a reasonable request. Who cares if no starter in modern baseball history has ever had an earned run average under 1.60, let alone allowing unearned runs. None of them were true aces. If Three Fingers Brown can do it, why can’t Stephen Strasburg? Other than the two extra fingers I guess.

        Seriously- where did this idea that a “true ace” picks his team up after rough losses come from? It’s pure drivel. If anything I’d be disappointed if a pitcher who consistently came up big after tough losses or to end losing streaks, because it would mean that he wasn’t giving 100% in all his other starts. They all count the same; why not pitch your best every time out?

      • tcostant - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:21 PM

        Many starters have done that and better for one game, that is what we are asking…

    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM

      I wish it were as simple as that. I remember when we had Chien-Ming Wang that he would frequently blow up in the first inning and then “settle” down. It happened with such regularity that they started having him go to a 45-minute warmup before games including a dress rehearsal of the first inning, complete with a guy standing in the “batter’s box: in the bullpen. The problem: such an extensive warm-up chopped an inning or two off the amount of pitches he could capably throw in the actual game.

      Any pitcher will tell you that a “bullpen” is not fullout throwing. Even if they go full-speed (risking injury) the adrenalin’s not up and game conditions are not present, no batters, no runners, no fielding your position, etc.

      In addition, pitchers go through a carefully planned regimen of healing and recovery after each start. Each day is planned out based on the best medical evidence of how fast they the human body heals, because they actually damage the muscles and ligaments, to the point where they are sore, swollen and have minute tears (which is part of the reason pitchers don’t always know if they are injured or if it’s “normal” postgame soreness).

      So, basically, two things stand in the way of what you propose.
      (1) A bullpen is not game conditions.
      (2) If you try your hardest to simulate game conditions in a bullpen, you risk injury and also, in essence, “waste” a start by the pitcher.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        EJax was another one who would have laborious 1st innings… and then find his groove… That was why I was so upset with DJ for putting EJax in during Game 5… but never mind, I wont go there… :)

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM


  2. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    Remember when I wrote my rotation a few days ago?

    1. Fister
    2. JZim
    3. Roark
    4. Gio
    5. Stras

    Then I said my playoff rotation would have Stras in and Gio either off the playoff roster or in the bullpen.

    Wow, CJ Nitkowski, that’s quite the coincidence.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      I would put Roark in the BP as I know he is getting closer to the innings pitched number that he normally does…

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        So would I. He is probably the most capable of giving you long-relief innings should you need them,as he’s been in the bullpen before. The stats I produce each weeks show that Stras has been our worst performing starter for the season. Unless he’s hiding an injury (and it’s difficult to believe from his peripherals that he is), there’s no reason that he should be. My hope and expectation is that he will turn his season around starting tonight.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        I wonder if SS is completely healthy after having the off-season procedure with the bone chips… I just sincerely hope he pitches a gem tonight, in a park he hasn’t seemed to do to well in…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

        That’s an interesting thought.

  3. joemktg - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:53 AM

    1) “Perception vs. reality: Rafael Soriano has thrown a 1-2-3 inning 43 percent of the time this year, 4th-best among NL closers.” Q: is this the guy that you WANT to go to in the 9th of a one run playoff game? In a one run game, I’d want to go to Kimbrel. Soriano? Not so much.

    2) What was going through his mind when not backing up the throws and just standing there on the bump?

    3) Is he unmanageable? Unapproachable? You saw the body language when McCatty came out.

    4) What kind of teammate is this guy? What was the Yankees’ take on him as a teammate?

    • therealjohnc - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      1) “Don’t give me your facts and statistics! I know how I feel, and that’s what’s important!”

      2) There is no excuse for that.

      3) What did you expect his body language to be? He had just [fouled] the nest and put his team in a terrible position. Should he be happy?

      4) We don’t know, and will never really know, because we’re not in the clubhouse. But we can sure make stuff up to suit our own individual narratives (both good and bad)!

      • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:12 PM

        I think the fact that he invited the team to dinner in Atlanta last year and Werth’s hug after the walk of single last week say a lot regarding the kind of teammate he is.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Well put. He pitched awful last night. And not backing up third or home was wrong. All the rest of the stuff people want to draw from this — bad teammate, surly, unapproachable, uncoachable, disliked in the clubhouse — is bunk.

        He’s also a stand up guy as the interview after the game showed. And his teammates respect him and think he’s a very good closer.

  4. therealjohnc - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    Great news on JZim’s arm health; that should be a great benefit going forward.

    And going forward is what’s important. Don’t let one craptastic loss cause you to lose sight of the big picture, which is that the Nationals have now weathered a storm and for essentially the next month will have fair winds and following seas. For the past month the Braves have had a golden opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Nationals. They failed. Now the Nationals have an opportunity to do that to the Braves.

    When the Braves and Nats parted ways on June 22nd, I looked at the schedule and simply hoped that the Nats would be within 2-3 games of first place when we got to this point. I’m not the only one who commented on this at the time, so I won’t claim omniscience. :-) This concern was because the schedule from 6/22-7/29 really leaned against the Nats and for the Braves. Since 6/22 the Nats have played 29 games, 19 on the road, and had to play 9 games against first place teams and 3 more against a preseason playoff pick the Reds (52-53), who were 51-44 and just 1.5 games out at the All Star Break and had three very good pitchers lined up against the Nats. Despite all that the Nationals have gone 5-4 against fellow first place teams, 18-11 (.621) overall – a pace to win 100 games.

    In contrast, since that game the Braves have played 31 games – not one of them against a team with a winning record. And not just bad teams, mostly against atrocious teams. 3 against the Astros (43-63). 3 against the Cubs (43-61). 3 against the Diamondbacks (46-60). 7 against the Phillies (46-60). 4 against the Padres (46-59). And 7 against the Mets (51-55). They did play 4 against the Marlins (52-53), who are on the fringe of playoff contention … and lost 3 of 4. For perspective, 20 of the Braves’ 31 games have been against teams that are farther below .500 than the Nationals and Braves are above .500, and 17 of those 31 games were in Atlanta. Not surprisingly, playing mostly at home against dreck, the Braves did very well, going a very respectable 20-11 (.645). This is about what I expected them to do, and about what you would expect a good team to do. What hurt the Braves is that in their 11 games against the “least bad” teams, the Mets and Marlins, they only scrapped out a 5-6 record (1-3 against the Marlins, 4-3 against the Mets). That, combined with the Nationals playing their schedule very tough, means that despite the headwind the Nats have managed to stay ahead of the Braves, only losing one game in the standings to cut their lead from 1.5 games on June 22 to their current .5 game lead (2 in the loss column)

    This is important because the schedule wind is now behind the Nationals. Between now and August 28 the Braves will play 28 games, 18 on the road, and their schedule includes 13 games against first place teams: 7 games against the Dodgers (59-47); 3 at home against the Nationals (57-46); and 3 in Oakland (65-40). The Braves also play 7 more games against playoff contenders, all on the road: 3 games at Pittsburgh (55-49); and 4 games in Cincinnati (52-53). Over the same stretch the Nationals will play 29 games, 18 at home. No, the Nats’ schedule isn’t as easy as the Braves has been for the past month – you rarely see a schedule that soft! The Nats have 12 of 29 games against teams basically at or above .500. But only the game at home against Baltimore (58-46) is against another first place team. The Nats play 11 more games against playoff contenders. Five of these are on the road: 3 against the Braves (58-48) and the next 2 against the Marlins (52-53). The other six are at home: 3 against the Giants (57-48); and 3 against Pittsburgh (55-49). Most importantly, 17 of the 29 games are against bad teams: the Phillies (46-60) 7 times, the Mets (51-55) 6 times, and the Diamondbacks (46-60) 4 times, with 11 of those 17 games at home.

    So the big picture, the important thing is this: From August 29 on the teams’ schedules are very similar. Time to go to work, Nationals – there are obviously no guarantees, but your good play over the last few weeks has prevented the Braves from taking advantage of their opportunity and created an opportunity for you. Carpe diem!

    • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      Me gusta mucho!

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      excellent post!

      it is time for Stras to live up to his billing, if he does not, he never will

    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      The Giants are looking bad right now. It’s far from clear Jake Peavy is going to solve their rotation problems. Offensively, they are sinking fast. They are last in the NL offensively for July (Nats are first), with Angel Pagan in and out, Hector Sanchez out so Posey has to catch (his BA is about 100 pts less when he catches than when he plays first base and they know that), Morse OK for average but NO power in July (one homer, 29.2% strikeout rate), you wonder if he’s hurt, and the list goes on. I watched them play last night and Vance Worley (yes, THAT Vance Worley who was a Twins’ reject) shut them out on 100 pitches. The description of their play was “listless.”

      The Pirates, on the other hand, are trending up, so I’d watch out for them–and we haven’t matched well against them in the recent past.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        Fortunately, both the Nats and the Braves have to deal with the Pirates. And the Nats play them at home while the Braves have to go to Pittsburgh.

      • knoxvillenat - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        “THAT Vance Worley who was a Twins’ reject)”

        Also a former Phoolie if I recall.

    • texnat1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      Excellent post, john

    • Nats Amore - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      The only thing I’d point out is that it’s not the season record of the opponent that matters as much as whether the opponent is currently hot or playing well. The Reds have been mired in a miserable team batting slump since the ASG. I’m not sure the fact that they were a preseason favorite mattered that much. Even the Mets are playing well now, 4 under .500 isn’t too shabby considering where the’ve been. Some teams do improve as the season goes on. One such team is called the Nats.

      • therealjohnc - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        However you interpret it, the Reds are unlikely to be in as bad a funk when they play the Braves as they have been since the ASB.

  5. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    both Gio and RZim pitched fantastic, that is the only positive from last night’s loss and Gio’s. I expect the same from Stras tonight, if not then there are real issues with him

    MW blew it period, is not that Sori was off, I get that, what I do not get is not lifting him well before it was 6-6.
    Stammen was available and there is no excuse for not playing him. Why can’t MW be honest and say, “hey, I should have went with either Blevins or Stammnen sooner”

    good managers do that, they man up and admit when they are wrong. I lost respect for MW last night

    • Smyrcok - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:23 PM

      @mick I agree that MW should admit more responsibility in this, and a couple other, losses. He makes it seem like what happened was completely out of everyone’s control. Not sure what admitting to mistakes does for anyone except us fans, so it’s just something we have to live with and know/hope that the adjustments are being made in the club house behind closed doors.

      • jd - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Also, You have to hold Stammen back in case you need someone to pitch several innings in extras.

    • jd - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM

      Again, I disagree. Soriano has wiggled out of bad situations before. When you take the ball away from him and hand it to someone who is not as good you are lessening your chances of winning. I mean MW has done the same thing all year and Soriano has been great, even the great Mariano Rivera had game like this, it happens.

  6. jd - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    Last night’s game results is exactly why I don’t post during games because without reflection one tends to spew out emotional opinions which turn out to be nonsense.

    Upon reflection:

    1) I would have stayed with Storen for the 9th and I said so to my son with whom I was watching the game. We both agreed. Having said that I have zero problem with doing exactly what we have been doing all year which is handing the game to our closer and with wonderful success rate I might add.

    2) calling for taking Soriano out during the inning is Monday morning quarter backing. At any given time he has a better chance of getting out of the inning than a lesser pitcher.

    3) Leaving Blevins to face a righty was a low percentage move having said that I don’t know who the Marlins had on the bench from the left side if we were to bring in someone like Barrett.

    4) Mc.Louth’s dive while not really effecting the score was brain dead.

    5) Espinosa not knowing what to do and then not getting the lead runner on the grounder in the 8th was also brain dead.

    6) Harper would have scored easily on the Espinosa grounder if he breaks on contact, remember it’s not a force play. I think Harper was gun shy based on all the base running mistakes he has made lately.

    7) I have zero problem with Werth going for 2. It took a perfect play by Stanton to get him. That ball is a double 9 times out of 10 unless you are Wilson Ramos.

    In conclusion it was a very tough loss, it happens and not because of bad decisions but more because of bad execution.

    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM

      Good thoughts. When McLouth was batting FP and Carp commented about his approach as a pinch hitter, namely that pinch hitters are expected to be aggressive and swing at the first pitch, and that’s not his game. He’s trying to “be himself” at the plate–and he did knock one pretty far that would have been a homer in many parks. HOWEVER, I think he was trying to be a hero as a defensive replacement, when he should have just played his game. I don’t recall where Span was, but it’s a BIG outfield and you won’t always have your CF near to back you up.

      I agree on Blevins facing the righty, and thought so at the time, not knowing Clip’s status. Barrett might be able to get the righty–he MIGHT–but his chances are about the same as Blevens and then you know the game is going to extras with only Barrett for another inning, maybe, Stammen and a chancy Clip.

      Honestly, I think MW was faced with the choice of do I lose it in the 9th or use Stammen/Barrett (in some order) for two+ innings and lose it in the 12th? You always have that problem with tie games on the road if you have played to win in nine (which Matty did).

      I also think it’s hindsight to say you would have used Storen. I didn’t have that thought once. Storen only made a few pitches, which means he’s available to setup or close the next night. There was no reason to think Soriano wouldn’t close out a three-run game, and give you Clip, Storen, Stammen all basically ready for tonight.

      Further, as I said in another thread, I have no idea why Soriano (twice) didn’t cover bases. It didn’t affect the result (it could have, but it didn’t). He’s usually very professional and fields his position well. I figure he was hot and tired, and he focused all his energy on the hitters.

      • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:03 PM

        I like this overview. The more I think about it, the more I’m left with “managing for tomorrow” as the common thread running through everything that happened. You add Stras’ tendency to soil the bed in Miami, and it just adds more support to that explanation, imo.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Not hindsight for me. I said it in the game post (sorry to sound like Ghost here), and I still believe it. And I didn’t know Clip was unavailable. That makes it even more important not to burn Soriano if you don’t have to. Ahead three runs it was worth a shot with Storen. (Better to give him a four out save in a 3 run game than to put him in in the 9th tonight when the lead might only be a run, right?) You can always bring in Soriano if Storen fails like Barrett did the day before.

        I’m not sure why, but you frequently prefer to manage for the next day (or the next month) than to win the game in front of you. I don’t think MW does that, nor did Davey. In this case, assuming you’ve gone with Sori and the game is tied, bring in Barrett to face Baker. Ray Knight said they didn’t have a lefty bat to PH for him, and the box score shows they’d already used four PHs. I think that means they only hand their backup catcher left. If Barrett succeds, he pitches the 10th, and then Stammen pitches as long as he can. The Marlins had already burned four relievers, so they were in bad shape too.

    • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:23 PM

      Good post.

      1. Like you, I would have kept Storen in and said so in the game post. Knowing that Clip was unavailable makes that case even stronger. Also, Sori had thrown a lot of pitches the day before, so if you use him last night, he’s unavailable tonight. Better to give Storen a four out save opportunity with a three run lead than a one run lead tonight.

      2. See my legion of cult of the closer comments today. Enough said about htat.

      3. I’m pretty sure the Marlins had only their backup catcher left on the bench. Barrett had a significantly better shot at getting Baker out than Blevins did.

      4. Agreed.

      5. Agreed.

      6. Agreed that he would have scored. But I think the “contact play” is put on by the bench. MW said after the game it was up to Harper whether or not to go after reading the grounder, and it’s tough to read a grounder in the 5.5 hole. Once he hesitated, it was probably the right call not to go.

      7. Stanton has a gun, and he’s done that to us before, and he knows that RF. Given the game situation, Werth should have played it more conservatively. I sure hope his ankle isn’t badly hurt.

  7. 9rhrssy01 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    Pls inform me as to what is a “LOOGY”

    • jd - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Someone you bring in to face one lefty in a key game situation.

    • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      Lefty One Out GuY

  8. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    After the break, many of us said not to worry if we fell a couple of games behind the Braves because they had a cupcake schedule and we didn’t. Well, not only have we not fallen behind, but we’re still in first. Granted, by half a game. But even being tied would be an accomplishment. Now the Braves have to go into LA and face Greinke and Kershaw and their schedule toughens up considerably. We’re in a good spot.

    • jd - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM


      I don’t think any one can debate that point. I think most of us were just stung by the sudden nature of yesterday’s loss. In the grand scheme of things it’s just one game.

      • David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:33 PM

        Of course. It still stings today. Just saying we’ll be alright. Hopefully Stras can dominate tonight

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      The Barves also have San Diego and their AAAA team for the weekend. Lets hope they face Tyson Ross in one of the games.

      For the here and now and what the Nats control, Strasburg vs Henderson Alvarez is now the pivotal game tonight. Nats win, Monday was just temporary indigestion.

      • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

        Yeah…defeating Alvarez via a Stras gem in Marlins park would essentially neutralize the bad taste left over from last night…mostly…

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        It would and as Nats fans this doesn’t even make the Top 3 of worst losses.

        You rarely lose 6 run leads and MW will not repeat this fiasco.

    • therealjohnc - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      This is the condensed version of my tl;dr post above :-)

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    “Matty and Mike need to decide RIGHT NOW if Barrett is going to be part of the bullpen in August, and if Blevins is going to be anything more than a LOOGY. You can’t go into this stretch at less than full capacity.”

    I agree. Decide. This isn’t a new problem, it’s a lingering problem.

  10. texnat1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    The key point about yesterday’s game is just to make sure it doesn’t beat you more than once. The Nats are still in great shape overall and are having a good road trip.

  11. 9rhrssy01 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Thank u Eric

    • Eric - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

      You’re welcome!

  12. Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    it is time for Stras to live up to his billing, if he does not, he never will

    Typical exaggeration. Is it for effect, or do you really believe that? Yes, this would be a really great time for Stras to step up. Kind of like when John Lannan stepped up after Stras’s el foldo in July 2012. But no, if he doesn’t that doesn’t mean he’ll never be the pitcher we want him to be or that the Nats’ season is over. Get some perspective man!

    • bowdenball - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      Sorry, Section 222. This is Strasburg’s last chance.

      After all, no starting pitcher has ever improved his status after age 25. Well, except for three of the other four guys in our rotation. And three of the last six Cy Young winner. Other than all of those exceptions, everyone knows that your Age 25 season is your final shot at greatness.

      • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        oh, off the top Seaver age 25 in 1969

        Don Gullett age 19 in 1970

        so much for your fangraphs

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        bb, hee hee. thanks.

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:26 PM

      here me out and I base this on history of ace pitchers or at least top two pitchers from championship teams, not all WS winners, but at the least they were part of teams that won pennants. First off, the window to win any championship is usually not that long. This is Stras’ 4th full season in the big leagues, actually 4 and one half seasons.

      just look at the Mets of the 1960’s, Koosman and Seaver were both young arms and they played on a few very bad teams. In Seaver’s case, he played his first 2 season on terrible teams, by 1969, when there was talent and run support, both Seaver and Koosman rose to the occasion and helped carry the Mets to the promise land. Our Nats teams has as much talent as any of those Mets teams, and O’s teams of the early 70’s. I notice the Stras defenders have even gone so far to now say there is no such thing as an ace on a team, which is now amusing (talk about moving the goal posts).

      The perspective is clear, if Stras is a leader and a player that a team counts on because of all the accolades given to him (by whom, i’m still not sure),it is time in season 4 to show it because he has the support around him the same way Seaver, Koosman, McNally, Palmer, Lolich, McClain, Hunter, Merritt,Ellis, Moose, Blass, etc.. all stepped up when their teams needed them. i could probaly list another 20 pitchers, but I think i have made the point.

      yes, indeed, there is your perspective. I at least stated some facts with history, I stand by them and it is time for Stras to grow up!!!

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        mick, yes you made the point that a bunch of pitchers in the late 60s and 70s stepped up when their teams needed them. where you are wrong is in concluding that if they failed to step up in a particular game, they never would have. Essentially, you’re saying that if Stras doesn’t step up tonight, it’s all over for him — he will never amount to much, never will win a championship, nothing. I don’t know these players as well as you do (though I’m proud to say that I know who all of them are), but are you really sure that Koosman or Lolich or Moose (Bob Moose? really?) never ever had a bad game when a good one would have helped their team at an important moment? That doesn’t seem plausible to me.

        Stras might have a bad game tonight, but dominate in September down the stretch and lead the Nats to a World Series victory. Or maybe he fails tonight, and the Nats flame out this year, but go on to dominate the league next year behind him and AJ Cole. Who knows? You’re going to give yourself an ulcer putting so much emphasis on a single player’s performance in single game.

      • bowdenball - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        So wait- your argument is that Srasburg MUST fulfill a certain role simple because of “the accolades given to him” by certain people you can’t identify?

        Why can’t he just be a really really good starting pitcher who helps the team’s chances of winning when he takes the mound? That’s enough for me. Why do you let these unidentifiable people influence your expectations and your demands?

        You want history? Instead of going back to the 60s and 70s, let’s go all the way back to nine months ago. The Red Sox won the World Series last October. Their best starter that season and their ace by any definition of the word, Jon Lester, was worse by every measure than Strasburg has been in 2014. If it worked last year why can’t it work this year?

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:28 PM

      let me add, my hisorical perspective which actually shows pitchers part of championship , I will take over ANY fan graph, which I think is garbage compared to REALITY

  13. NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    So, I was curious. Which teams have lost the most games where they’ve scored 6 or more runs. Here’s the table. I hope it’s readable.

    Tm	Gms	W	L	Pct
    WSN	32	30	2	.938
    KCR	31	29	2	.935
    SEA	28	26	2	.929
    SFG	27	25	2	.926
    PIT	27	25	2	.926
    OAK	38	35	3	.921
    LAA	38	35	3	.921
    DET	36	33	3	.917
    ATL	24	22	2	.917
    STL	22	20	2	.909
    MIL	31	28	3	.903
    CLE	31	28	3	.903
    LAD	35	31	4	.886
    CHC	26	23	3	.885
    NYY	25	22	3	.880
    CIN	23	20	3	.870
    NYM	22	19	3	.864
    CHW	29	25	4	.862
    PHI	28	24	4	.857
    HOU	28	24	4	.857
    TBR	27	23	4	.852
    SDP	20	17	3	.850
    ARI	19	16	3	.842
    TOR	37	31	6	.838
    MIN	28	23	5	.821
    MIA	27	22	5	.815
    COL	38	30	8	.789
    BAL	33	26	7	.788
    BOS	27	20	7	.741
    TEX	24	16	8	.667
    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 1:58 PM

      I see our friends in Ballmer have had seven such disasters and they’re still in first place….

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM


      this is awesome

      thanks for posting this

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      what is interesting is that among the teams with more than 5 losses, O’s are the only contender

  14. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Vida Blue age 23 in 1972 when A’s won WS

    Jim Palmer 21 in 1966 and 24 in 1970, 2 WS

  15. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    and to put in perspective why I have my doubts on Stras, can anyone ever really imagine him putting his team on his shoulders the way Mickey Lolich did in 1968, or Bob Gibson in 1967?

  16. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

    OK bowden and sec 222

    we shall see, and I will not comment on Stras again until seasons end

    on another note, I was happy to Bryce hit last night, I hope he catches fire. Desi I am wondering what his deal is??





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