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Strasburg dominates in Nats’ win

Aug 3, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

Photo by The Associated Press Photo by The Associated Press

Before the Phillies bullpen allowed the Nationals to secure a comfortable lead in the eighth inning on Sunday, much of the afternoon was the Stephen Strasburg vs. Cole Hamels show. Both starters were locked in, neither giving an inch to their opponent.

Hamels was the one to blink with a run allowed in the third, though it went unearned thanks to an error by Cody Asche. Strasburg wasn’t quite as generous.

The right-hander went seven scoreless, allowing just three hits and a walk to go along with 10 strikeouts. He retired the first seven batters he faced and put on a clinic of razor-sharp fastballs, twisting curveballs and diving changeups.

“He was good, really good,” manager Matt Williams said. “Lots of curveballs today, really good curveballs early in the count to get strike one. And good fastball command, as well. Probably the best fastball command I’ve seen him have all year today. And the ability to throw a breaking ball at any time sure keeps hitters off-balance. So he pitched really well.”

Strasburg used his curveball on 21 percent of his 99 pitches Sunday, a few ticks up from his 17 percent usage rate this season. Later in his start, however, it was a huge emphasis.

Strasburg threw 16 curveballs in his final three innings including seven of his 13 total pitches in the sixth against Ben Revere, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. The Utley at-bat was capped off by a winding hook for the swinging strikeout.

“I felt like I had a pretty good feel for [the curveball] in the pen and just really felt like I could command it to both sides of the plate today,” Strasburg said.

“He’s getting better and better,” catcher Jose Lobaton said. “His curveball is one of the best. He’s using both sides, he’s using backdoor and he’s using in.”

Strasburg said he made some tweaks prior to Sunday’s 4-0 win with pitching coach Steve McCatty, but that he couldn’t share many details about their conversation.

“That’s between me and him, there’s gotta be a line,” he said when asked for further explanation.

Center fielder Denard Span, however, described one difference he has noticed from his vantage point playing behind Strasburg.

“All day long he had the hitters guessing,” Span said. “For me the biggest thing is – I don’t know if I want to say this – is him pitching inside. He doesn’t pitch inside too often. Today he was hitting his spots inside. He just kept those guys guessing.

“Normally he’s just throwing his fastball middle-away, middle-away and guys are able to kind of cheat to his fastball. You can ask any pitching coach or any player that plays this game, when the pitcher is pitching inside effectively, it just makes it tougher as a hitter.”

Strasburg took the win and is now 8-9 with a 3.39 ERA in 24 starts and 151 1/3 innings this season. Given the way this year has gone, it was no surprise to see him dominate once again at home.

Strasburg is now 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 13 starts at Nationals Park. At home he has 112 strikeouts in 86 innings, a 1.058 WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.0.

On the road it has been a completely different story. Away from Nats Park, Strasburg is 1-7 with a 4.68 ERA, a 1.408 WHIP and a 3.42 K/BB rate. By some numbers, he’s been nearly twice as good at home as he has been away from it.

Williams is not sure exactly why those numbers are so different.

“I don’t think there’s any reason for it,” he said. “Certainly comfort level here. He knows the mound. Every time out, he knows the bullpen, he knows his routine. But there’s no reason why, I just think that’s the way it’s happened.”

Williams noted the entire Nats’ rotation has pitched well of late, but confirmed Strasburg is still his ace.

“Yeah. Stephen was the guy we went to the first day of the season, he’s the guy we went to after the break, and he’s proven why he’s a real good pitcher. The last two outings have been really, really good,” Williams said.

189 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    • scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      Ok not only did you beat me but you posted a twitter link, humbled

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:09 PM

      He says McLouth has shoulder issues.

      • karlkolchak - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        McOut hurt the shoulder while firing up a cigar with one of the hundred thousand $100 bills he received from Uncle Teddy courtesy of Rizzo last offseason. Were it not for his ridiculous contract, he’d be gone by now.

    • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      I’m sure they discovered his shoulder issues by taking an MRI of his month-long 0-fer.

      • scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        They sent him to HRod’s neck doctor who could always find something

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      So, how does he get any playing time?

      • karlkolchak - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        I’ll give you 10 million reasons why.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM

        Werth might be able to use a day off. Never, ever, take a guy out who is on a streak like Denard Span is on. Do nothing to upset that apple cart.

    • natszee - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

      Web link – http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140803&content_id=87775978&notebook_id=87854016&vkey=notebook_was&c_id=was&tcid=tw_article_87775978

      If he performs anywhere close to his potential, I bet that he never sees Syracuse again.

  2. scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    Over at MASN they are saying McLouth to the DL

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:11 PM

      He must have hurt his face on that ill advised dive on Monday. I thought for sure it would be Espy, but if it’s a mystery ailment, which it must be because MW didn’t know about it, then Nate makes the most sense.

      • NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        As Dan Haren would say, “Which shoulder?”

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:37 PM

        Exactly NatsLady. I say what took so long.

        Unfortunately he’s now one of 5 potential RH bats on the bench due to the switch hitters.

        How can he get work unless you really give Werth a night off.

  3. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    Who is this Tommy Medica?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      I don’t know, but the Nats should pool some dough together and set him up with a steak dinner somewhere.

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Tommy “Who the Hell”, Medica homers to put the Pads up 3-2.

  5. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Medica hr puts pads up 3-2, bottom of 8th…

  6. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Nats need a Tommy Medica bobblehead day

    • letswin3 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      That’s hilarious!

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      Absolutely.

      I presume everyone here is aware that on Friday night he went 5-for-5 with 2 HR’s against the Braves. (And a measly 2-for-4 with a double yesterday)

  7. dc27mvp - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Nice swing by Medica, go SD! 3 outs to go

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      San Diego made 5 defensive changes to start the 9th, plus a pitching change. Wow!

      • dc27mvp - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:28 PM

        And the inning surely didn’t get off to a good start, but the Braves have been wasting opportunities all week.

  8. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    So is this a real injury to Nate M…. Or are they pulling a ‘Dan Haren’?

    • karlkolchak - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      We’ll know if his return date is exactly September 1st, when the rosters expand.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      +1 yes

  9. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Interesting ending in AZ. Sure looked to me like the runner tried to bat the relay throw away I guess the play isn’t reviewable. Bucs seem to have been jobbed.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM

      Yeah that was all kind of weird….

      Dammit, tied game in SD….

  10. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    Oh Padres…

    • scmargenau - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      :-)

      Love those pads n medica!

  11. dc27mvp - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Braves tied it on an error, such a bad play by Benoit

  12. karlkolchak - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Now that Souza is coming to beef up the bench, they need to find a way to get Rafael “Beer League” Martin here to help the bullpen. Just when we’d forgotten about him (ala Tanner Roark), he’s sporting a 1.21 ERA in 26 minor league appearances this season with 0.739 WHIP and 50 Ks in 44 innings. At Syracuse, he has yet to be scored upon in 20 IP with 26 Ks and just 3 BBs.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      ?!?! That’s one name I missed. Excellent.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

    What in the world would possess Benoit to go to 3rd…

  14. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    Did Gattis get hurt?

    • dc27mvp - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      I think they just used a pinch runner as Fredi was probably gonna double switch anyway for bringing in the reliever

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:50 PM

        It said “injury delay” on AtBat right before Gattis came out…

      • dc27mvp - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:53 PM

        The Padres catcher was bunged up after the play, they came out to check him, that’s probably why

  15. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    I can’t remember the last time the Nats pitchers threw two shutouts in a row. Anybody?

  16. NatsLady - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    The mighty Dodgers lost 2/3 to the Cubbies. Today EJax done ‘em in. Maybe they’re not so scary after all.

  17. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Cmon Medica…why not be two times a hero?!

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:52 PM

      Oy…and now it’s up to the guy batting .182

  18. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Don’t swing… He’s gonna walk him…

  19. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    At least according to PitchTrack, the ump is doing a really good job here.

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      +1

      Could a walked on the pitch he fouled off

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        Ouch. Over three batters he threw 11 balls in a row but came back and got the third guy.

  20. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    No way is Kimbrel pitching today after 38 pitches last night. Even Fredi’s not that crazy, right? Right?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:00 PM

      He might if they take the lead.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:03 PM

      They said prior to last night he last pitched like 3 days and only threw like 13 pitches…

      • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:06 PM

        I heard that too. I just think that he won’t be used. 38 pitches is alot for a guy who throws at max effort, usually 20 or less. But Fredi doesn’t seem to care, so maybe he’ll be in there.

  21. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    Freddi played with fire there… Didnt have anyone in the BP warming…

  22. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    Seems like Freeman is whiffing like 80% of the time I happen to follow him batting on AtBat…and like he’s hitting into an out the other 20% of the time. It’s not often that I follow a Braves game, but in light of this distorted sample, it doesn’t make sense to me that he still hitting in the .280s.

  23. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Here we go agin… Come on Pads, end it this time!

  24. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Pads in bidness…

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:10 PM

      Ugh…

  25. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Hale has allowed a hit and two walks, but has two outs thanks to the bunt double play

  26. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    WOWOWOOOWWO!!!

    PADRES SWEEP!!!

  27. Another Tyler - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Go Padres!

  28. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    Padres walk off…..

  29. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Winner winner

  30. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    Yowsa!!!

  31. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

    3.5 games up! With a chance to make it 4 tomorrow as the Braves are idle.

    • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      And even that series with the O’s! Nats Park should be rockin’!!

  32. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Braves get to deal with King Felix in their next game, too.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:50 PM

      Really?! Grienke, Kershaw, and King Felix in the span of less than a week? On the same road trip?

      Wow. Gotta love it (from a distance! ;-) )

  33. dc27dan - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Great day for the Nats, if they get to the series in Atlanta up by at least 4 games, i think they’ll be in a good shape.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Baseball Prospectus thinks so, too. Currently showing Nats at 88% probability of the postseason, Braves’ dropped to 37% from 61% just a week ago (I guess losing 6 in a row does serious damage one’s chances per the Monte Carlo simulations).

      Of course, all that could change rapidly, but I’m liking the trend line.

  34. Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:23 PM

    BJ Upton tonight? 0-5 with 2 K’s
    He’s now hitting .211 with a OBP .279
    He also leads the NL CFers in errors
    Braves fans are going nuts in a really bad way.

    Have I ever said how glad I was that we got Span instead of BJ?

    • David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      “He’s now hitting .211 with a OBP .279″

      And he’s continuing bat leadoff. Their worst hitter is getting the most ABs. It’s amazing

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      I’m starting to straight up feel bad for the guy. It had to be embarrassing.

      Hope he keeps it up…er…down, as it were.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:39 PM

        Eric, I might feel bad for him except he’s a jerk. My son played in a showcase tournament with him when they were both in high school and was amazed with how arrogant and self centered he was. I see no sign that he has changed a bit.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        Well…that’s a shame…

  35. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Great news. Well done Pads.

    Incidentally, I think it’s an urban myth that anyone here was calling for Rizzo to sign BJ Upton. But yes, I’m very glad he didn’t.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM

      Umm . . I think there were indeed calls to sign him . . .

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        There were those pining for a trade for BJ in 2011. The trade suggestions were outrageous.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:45 PM

        Indeed they were — many of the suggestions involved trading Espi and Rendon to get him, because, after all, Rendon was blocked.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        The old saying that the best trades are the ones you don’t make.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        Braves hsve to feel that they are in trouble. Wren ate one contract already this year. Not only does he not want to eat another he has to worry with his brother’s psyche.

        Loving it.

      • bowdenball - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        Not only did the Braves eat a contract this year, they also dealt away their first round pick. If they don’t turn it around soon this could be a disastrous season for them.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:40 PM

      peric was all in for getting BJ and also Justin

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:42 PM

        Justin is fine. BJ never did a thing.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        What does the outfield look like? Unfortunately, although he should, Michael Morse won’t be your starting left fielder. Instead you’ll see Upton in center or right field. Possibly center to take some pressure of off Morgan who likely moves to right? Instead of one of Riggleman’s fav 3 {Guzman, Harris, Maxwell} batting second it should be Upton. Your starting left-fielder, what makes Riggleman a baseball-wide joke, Willie Harris.

        Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

        Pirates fans are having huge guffaws about Morgan’s struggles here. Let’s consider the possibility that Rizzo’s success with Justin Upton might just translate to brother BJ once he gets him here.

        Like it not he would be a major upgrade to the outfield … he doesn’t hit way sub-Mendoza like Harris and Maxwell ( a failed 5 tool guy the Nats still keep), and his fielding is superior to Morgan and Bernadina (not hitting at all well against left-handed pitching … and slumping). Yes, he is an upgrade like it or not.

        Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

        peric says:
        January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm
        Its Bernadina not Bernadino. And fan graphs should at the very least be aware that Brian Goodwin, Eury Perez, and perhaps even Corey Brown might be under consideration by that point?

        However, the Nationals will do everything in their power to sign still young, high ceiling BJ Upton. Outside of the Trop he may become the next Matt Kemp. Signing Fielder only ENHANCES their chances of making that happen by making the team more attractive to players like Upton and the others you list. Otherwise, like Grienke who was offered a lucrative extension to accept a trade (Remember that Fangraphs?), Cliff Lee, Mark Texiera they will say NO. Money or no money.

        Bottom line it is more advantageous to the Nationals to sign Fielder. The positive benefits and potential outcomes far and away outweigh the risks. Its the number of years.

        Besides, the Nats are way too “white” at this point. The paucity of African Americans is glaring. The Morgan vs. Werth fiasco underscores that. Purely for mercenary marketing reasons the Lerner’s should sign Werth. Period.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        I posted a couple from our old pal regarding BJ. There are dozens more.

      • unkyd59 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:55 PM

        Yes… I distinctly recall Mr. Peric insisting that BJ was indeed the next Matt Kemp… He used that name, the year after his MVP season… He would have traded ANYBODY for him, and used his premium invective on anyone who called him on it….

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:44 PM

      Here’s one from a debate:

      Nov 21, 2012 at 5:39 PM

      You can debate the merits of a proposed trade all you want but you can’t deny the fact that Justin Upton is a bona fide 5 tool MLB star and there are not many like him around. In this context I could care less if he hits right, left or one handed.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:46 PM

        Whoops — OK, that was for Justin. I’m going to stop searching (not worth it). But I do recall some pangs of jealousy when the Braves landed both brothers.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:51 PM

        Justin is a solid player. BJ…not so much.

      • Smyrcok - Aug 3, 2014 at 8:58 PM

        Man this board never forgives or forgets huh?

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM

        We forgive — except not so much for folks who don’t act very nicely.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:03 PM

        Rayvil01, exactly. Wren stole JUp but chased BJ and is stuck with him

        JUp is legit. Not playing like a 5 tool player but a .800 OPS guy. Let’s be fair even though he’s a barve

      • rayvil01 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:22 PM

        Ghost, we are in violent agreement. My only criticism of J Upton is that he looks to be hitting the feed bag pretty hard. His adze is about as wide as a zip code. The bail out for those guys is first base. But they have a long term deal with Freeman there. Will bear watching.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:29 PM

        Agreed rayvil JUp is now no better than average on defense and his speed has declined. Funny thing is that he made the final vote for the Allstar game because he’s still an impact bat but not at Freeman’s level.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        I would bet that if you had a correlation graph of Freman’s batting and the Braves’ record thry would come close to syncing. When FF is hot they go on a tear. The opposite and they go in a funk.

  36. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:01 PM

    In comparison to last year BJ is experiencing a renaissance. I just worry he’ll hit .250 one day and the crew here will start talking about his “upside.” I also remember Zimmerman saying what a great player he was, yadda, yadda, etc., etc. Players need to be taught a way to say a player — and Zimmerman should have known (and probably did know) from his Virginia Beach days that Upton was and is a jerk — “is probably capable of helping a team that needs an OF and appreciates his unique skill set.”

    Never felt the least jealous about either of them.

    • Candide - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      Argh – accidentally hit “report” on the above. Moderator, please ignore.

      Here’s what I MEANT to reply:

      Players need to be taught a way to say a player — and Zimmerman should have known (and probably did know) from his Virginia Beach days that Upton was and is a jerk — “is probably capable of helping a team that needs an OF and appreciates his unique skill set.”

      That’s good – damning with faint praise.

      Mark Twain could sound like he was complimenting you while he was sticking a rhetorical dagger in your side. His essay, “The French and the Comanches” is masterpiece of the art. He finishes up with the apparent compliment that the Frenchman “is, in hardly any important respect, the significant inferior of the Comanche.”

      Sounds nice until you read it a second or a third time, carefully.

      • Candide - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:50 PM

        Rats – moderator was faster than me. My apologies, Theophilus.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:57 PM

        I *think* its instant auto delete upon reporting.

        If you’re up for a little experiment, reply to this, then report this comment. I *think* this comment will disappear but your reply to it will wind up at the end of the thread.

      • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        I gave it a shot Eric.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:17 PM

        Thanks 222.

        It looks like every reply to Candide’s post is out of whack.

        Candide, did you post in reply to the same post you reported?

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:18 PM

        PS, 222 – the post of mine that you reported now says “awaiting moderation” at the top

        Do you still see it?

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        PPS – It appears that any reply to an out-of-order comments winds up at the bottom of the whole thread, a LA the blogspot days. This was in reply to Candide’s “Rats the mods beat me to it” post.

        My post about the experiment that 222 reported (on request) was in response to the same comment.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        It appears Theo’s original reported comment has been approved and is back.

        Candide’s post is indeed a reply to it, and reporting it caused all replies to it to post at the end of the thread.

        If there’s a setting whereby all replies to a reported comment also disappear, I think it’s worth considering. Would also be nice if there were a setting preventing further replies to the comment or its subthread.

      • Candide - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:10 AM

        Eric – my last post last night was the “Rats…” one; went to bed right after. Just an FYI. Glad to see it all looks good again this morning. Sorry I caused all this mayhem. :-(

      • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        It’s all good. The site allows reporting; using that feature shouldn’t (in the engineering sense) cause a meltdown ;)

        And, it led to something of a confirmation of what I think is going in, so that’s good.

  37. adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:30 PM

    OK — we have 93 comments, and I notice that not one of them is about Strasburg.

    Just want to say that I thought he pitched brilliantly today — he had good command of his fastball _and_ his curve. He was devastating.

    And one of my favorite things: no walks!

    Perhaps he’s back on track for a while?

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      I think one of these days–by mid next season at the latest, if not by the end of this one–we’ll look back and realize Stras put the final piece in place.

      His FB command today is a great sign in that regard, imo.

      It’s been fascinating watching him evolve since opening day ’13. Not getting rattled, holding runners, etc.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:43 PM

        back and realize Stras put the final piece in place.

        As my grandmother used to say: from your mouth to G-d’s ear!

        That’d be awesome if we had five starters who were pitching well all at the same time.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      Today I saw the pitcher I was waiting to see, the one who never had the blow up inning. Looked like an ace for sure today.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      One of the things that many folks have said (here and elsewhere) is that he needs to pitch more inside. And during the post-game interview I think it was Span who answered a question about what Stras was doing differently by saying he was throwing more inside. Hope that continues.

  38. breakbad1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Great point, Wonker. Stras was absolutely AWESOME today!

  39. breakbad1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    Tonight on ESPN we have the 3rd and 5th place teams in the American League East on national TV. How many times has the first place team in the NL East been on national TV?

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:52 PM

      Low key is my favorite pitch.

    • David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      We’re on next week.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      I’d prefer they don’t get on national TV until October…. Let’s continue to fly under the radar….

  40. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:52 PM

    I’m sitting here watching Rookie of the year, like I’ve never seen it before…. ‘The hidden-ball trick’…. Cracks me up each time….

    • scmargenau - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:21 AM

      Love that movie. My son can watch it enough

  41. David Proctor - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:56 PM

    We now have the largest division lead in major league baseball. Well, tied with Baltimore. Tomorrow will settle that.

    • scnatsfan - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      The Braves site is in meltdown mode

    • scmargenau - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      Wow. That’s awesome.

    • Rick - Aug 4, 2014 at 5:51 AM

      Not quite. Tigers are up by 5.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 4, 2014 at 7:20 AM

      David, doesn’t the Tigers 5 game lead over KC count?

      • David Proctor - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        I must’ve missed them. Whoops

  42. breakbad1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    If you want a tonic–and after some of my panicked postings lately, I needed a tonic–read the Phillies fans on the Philadelphia Inquirer site, and the Braves fans on the Atlanta Journal Constitution site. Hilarious!

  43. breakbad1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:01 PM

    The nation stands amazed that Pedroia hit his sixth homer. No mention of Rendon’s 14th…it really is sad.

  44. sjm308 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Thought there would be more chatter about Souza coming up

    Not sure how MLB gets away with the 15 day DL and no proof of injury but I am all for giving this young man a shot. I just don’t know how many innings he will actually see with the way Span is crushing it and I guess Werth can always use a little rest as well. Hoping this does not end like Tyler Moore last year but maybe like the Tyler Moore of 2012 when, as I remember, he was a big plus to our march to the playoffs.

    Listened to the entire game on radio as that is where I started and did not want to jinx our lads. Charlie & Dave really are a treat.

    Go Nats!!

    • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      +1 re: C&D. No sugar coating the bad times, great verve for the good times, great insight into the game, etc.

      • Another Tyler - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:46 AM

        +2 and you can do something with your hands and eyes while enjoying the game.

    • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:31 PM

      Everyone loves to assume that the Nats play fast and loose with the DL. I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they could have sent Espi there if they wanted to — MW has mentioned that his hand is hurt.

      Souza has nothing more to prove at AAA, so there’s really not much to lose by bringing him up now instead of September. It’s not like he needs more at bats. I’m glad they could find a spot for him.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

        Me, too. Haren _did_ have back problems, etc etc. Let’s not assume a conspiracy unless we see something fishy.

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        I tend to agree the DL has rarely if ever abused, at least since I tuned in in August of ’12. Haren’s the only one I have ever doubted, and only because of the “which shoulder” comment. Could be it was cover for some other physical problem though, so not an abuse of the DL.

        On a related note, I tend to feel our medical staff is pretty competent, but don’t see the general public as falling under “inform” or “consult” in the RACI matrix.

  45. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:26 PM

    Two responses to the fun back and forth about the Uptons:

    1. peric also thought Corey Brown was a 5 tool player. No one says, I’m sure glad we have Matt Antonelli would start for the Nats at SS. No one says now “I’m really glad we have Denard Span instead of Corey Brown.” If someone can find an example of someone other than peric salivating over BJ, I would be surprised. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that was not a good idea.

    2. Justin is not BJ.

    • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      Sorry about the copy editing fail. You get my drift.

      • texnat1 - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        Peric once suggested that the Nats could get Stanton for a package built around Tyler Moore. He then went on to suggest that it would be a bad move . . . for the Nationals.

      • Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:02 PM

        I had forgotten that one. Classic.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:43 AM

        Come on. That is just comic gold.

    • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:40 PM

      peric was not the only one. If you look, you can find them. But it’s water over the bridge, or some cliche like that.

      I think the more general point here is: Rizzo sure knows what he’s doing compared to us! ;-)

      • Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 10:45 PM

        Water over the bridge? Sounds dangerous. Think I’ll stay off this road.

      • adcwonk - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        hmm . . . or did I mean Bridge over Troubled Water? (Should I cross the bridge when I come to it?)

        Well, it’s late, and I guess I don’t have both oars in the water right now . . .

  46. Eric - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    Just noticed the Braves aren’t merely 3.5 games back from us, they’re also 2 games out of the WC card race

    Steady as she goes fellas…

  47. sjm308 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    If anyone still wants a “peric” fix you can find him on the MASN site commenting away about benching Span, bringing up Burris, still in the tank for Espinosa, and still loving the young guns in our system. I will say that he is much much more polite than we remember here.

    Go Nats!!

  48. Section 222 - Aug 3, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    Eric, I don’t see your comment that is “awaiting moderation.’ Maybe it’s just visible to the commenter. I haven’t ever seen a note from Mark or Chase in response to our many, many complaints about WordPress. Hope that someone is working on the problem, and perhaps looking into activating settings as you suggest. Thanks to you for the diagnosis. They should hire you.

    • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:01 AM

      I think that post is now approved as well, as I’m not seeing “awaiting moderation” any longer.

      It dawns on me that other options are to not moderate comments or turn off nested posting.

      Anyway, hopefully what I may have uncovered is useful should there be a desire to address the situation. I truly don’t mind it much myself, I just debug these kinds of things at work/in my own code, so it has my attention.

      • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:02 AM

        Er, not allow *reporting* of comments

  49. Section 222 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    I for one would be happy to get rid of nesting comments. I don’t think that’s the prevailing sentiment though. “Reporting” is probably a necessary evil.

  50. Section 222 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:04 AM

    If anyone is inclined to post links to the best Braves and Phillies blogs for indulging in a bit of schadenfreude, I’d be grateful.

  51. #4 - Aug 4, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Could we see a Harper/Souze platoon in LF?

  52. Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    Goooood Morning, NatsWorld! And a nice morn it is, eh?

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Wow — and he posted that a 1/2-hour before a start in which Strasburg absolutely looked like an ace.

      Nice juxtaposition.

    • scmargenau - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      Looking better, but I’m still concerned
      :

      1. Among 93 qualified starters, he ranks 72nd in OPS allowed in plate appearances ending with a fastball. Batters are hitting .318/.364/.418 against his fastball, with 10 home runs. Jason Vargas is just above him in OPS allowed; Roberto Hernandez is just below him.

      2. Among those 93 starters, when faced with a hitter’s count, Strasburg ranks 92nd in OPS allowed, ahead of only Jason Hammel. In 104 such plate appearances, batters have hit .476/.567/.726 off him.

      • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        That’s a lot of why I think yesterday, in particular, was so encouraging. His fastball command seemed to be impeccable.

  53. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    I want to get on the board early today and praise Strasburg’s performance — as I have been giving him grief for most of the season. This is what people have been waiting for — expecting — for four+ months. It does amaze me that, in his fifth tour thru the major leagues, it takes as much tinkering with his mechanics and attitude as is reflected in the WaPo article (mostly through quotes from Lobaton, who seems to be an extremely patient soul). While I’m not forgiving some of his apparently self-inflicted clunkers I’m now expecting Strasburg to give us 7+ innings in all of his 10 remaining starts and 10+ Ks per nine innings. That’s the punishment he gets for performing up to his ability.

  54. Candide - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    This is several days old, just before the Padres series, and the Braves fans already hated everything about the team – the players, Fredi, Wren… LoD, anyone?

    http://markbradley.blog.ajc.com/2014/07/24/will-the-braves-hold-on-and-make-the-playoffs/

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      In the poll on that day asking if the Braves would make the playoffs, (and this was before getting swept by the Pads), just over 50% of the respondents said that they would not.

      Pretty funny commentary from a couple of bloggers that day:

      Dawgguy1 12 hours ago
      Braves suck!

      LikeReply

      Wilbo 11 hours ago
      @Dawgguy1 Like an Acme milking machine!

  55. bowdenball - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Strasburg was awesome yesterday. He was awesome in his last start, too. He’s one of the twenty or so best starters in the game right now and has been since his return from Tommy John surgery.

    Fans’ unreasonable expectations are not his fault. If you can’t enjoy having him on your team, that’s on you.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      +1 bowdenball

      • masterfishkeeper - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:56 AM

        +1 from me too.

    • zmunchkin - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:20 AM

      +1

  56. Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    I can’t help. Call me sick, but I get a perverse sense of satisfaction reading about the Braves on the Atlantic Journal Constitution.In the interview here Fredi just looks like a deer caught in the headlights. The comments from the Braves ” faithful” are a riot.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/braves-swept-by-padres-fall-to-0-6-on-trip/ngtKF/

    • lplipty - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:05 AM

      +10, funny

    • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      Just started the article, but I’m already enjoying it.

      The skidding Braves are 9-16 in their past 25 games — including 0-9 in one-run games — and have dropped all six games on an eight-game trip that concludes at Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday…

    • Candide - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      Posted by Champdawgs at 8:47 p.m. Aug. 3, 2014

      Freddi G may be the worst manager that has been around in 20 years.

      What’s funny about this, and many, many other similar posts, is that at the end of April, Braves fans were proclaiming Fredi was the greatest manager since Miller Huggins.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:36 AM

        Freddi’s 2 inning appearance from Craig Kimbrel with almost 40 pitches on Saturday night and that is borderline crazy. The effects of that may never be known but that type of stress usually takes it’s toll.

        Think about what it means for a reliever to throw that many pitches over 2 innings for a pitcher that almost always does 1 inning appearances. That means Kimbrel threw 8 warmup pitches in addition. I’ve never been a fan of 2nd inning appearances for relievers that typically do 1. Your body is geared towards 1 inning of full tilt throwing.

    • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      Amazing stat (for a new Nats hero? ;-) )

      Medica’s home run was his third in the series and made him 13-for-27 (.481) with seven RBIs in seven games against the Braves this season, compared to 31-for-130 (.238) with four homers and 15 RBIs in 57 games against everyone else.

      • Candide - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        Medica : Braves :: Valdespin : Nats

    • wearenationals - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:28 AM

      My fave comment from the article:
      “BJ Joketon another 0 for 5 in the Leadoff position w 2 more K’s and continues to LEAD the NL in Strikeouts!!! Frustrating!!!! Fredi Must Go!!! take BJ w/ You!!”

      • dc27dan - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Maybe that’s why Fredi puts him in the leadoff spot, he wants BJ to be the strikeout champ!

      • adcwonk - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        A lot of amazing comments in that article — wow.

        One said that he hoped the Nats would sweep the Braves so that the owners would think about cleaning house; another said that he was thankful that the season will be over in August so he could turn his undivided attention to football this fall; and on and on.

  57. Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, but the Braves do seem to be a team that has a crumbling foundation. They may get Venters back, which will help, but one has to wonder how vulnerable Kimbrel is now. Chris Johnson is back to earth after his career year in 2013, Simmons is in a sophomore slump, BJ is just awful, once promising Jordan Shaffer is gone, Gattis is walking wounded, his backup is just that, a backup, Jason Heyward is still a force when healthy, as are Freeman,Justin Upton and Tommy LaStella, but with the injuries to their pitching staff I just don’t see them being able to keep up down the stretch. And to make things worse for them in the future, Frank Wren has come close to Ruben Amaro in silly long term salary commitments to too many underachieving players.

  58. natsfan1a - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    Have been away since Friday and saw nothing but game results emails. Sounds like it was some weekend. Looking forward to watching some live baseball on tv tonight – at least until I fall asleep. Go, NATS!

  59. Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Post of the Week:

    David Proctor – Aug 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM
    Nats need a Tommy Medica bobblehead day

    • dc27dan - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      +1

    • bowdenball - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      If I were a Nats fan living in Georgia I would order a Medica replica jersey to wear to the series at Turner Field this weekend.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM

        Those idiots wouldn’t understand what it means bowdenball.

  60. Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Sorry but one more from The AJC:

    Posted by dakrb1958 at 10:00 p.m. Aug. 3, 2014 Report Abuse
    My son observed that he hoped BJ struck out so that he wouldn’t hit into a double play. He said LaStella can hit. Pitch later, BOOM! Double play. Next inning, LaStella leads off with a single. Fire Fredi and hire my son. How could it be worse? And he’s cheap, since he’s only 15, he won’t need a big salary.

    • Candide - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      Fire Fredi and hire my son. How could it be worse?

      Don’t give Wren ideas.

      And he’s cheap, since he’s only 15, he won’t need a big salary.

      …and there are all kinds of legal complexities involved in entering into a contract with a minor.

      And if you co-sign on your boy’s contract, even if he walks away from it, YOU would be required to perform. Do you really want to manage the Barves?

      Better he get into a line of work that will expose him to less hatred. Like DMV clerk, or congressman. ;-)

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:10 AM

        Very good, maybe even good enough for 2nd place, but I think David has you beat with the Medica booblehead suggestion.

    • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      Ha!

  61. bowdenball - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    One thing to keep in mind about the Braves during their brutal run; the script flips a bit at the end of August/beginning of September. The Nats will head west to play the Mariners and the Dodgers while the Braves have a homestand featuring the Marlins and the Phillies. The hope is this last week and the next two give the Nats enough cushion that the Braves can’t really carve into the lead too deeply.

    • NatsLady - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:25 AM

      Absolutely. Let’s not get too giddy, here. OK, let’s get giddy, but just until we lose to Baltimore tonight and 2/3 to the Mets and go into the ATL series depressed and demorlized while they sweep the Mariners (crushing King Felix), enjoy their off-days, and get home to some chopping.

    • Eric - Aug 4, 2014 at 10:28 AM

      I’m definitely feeling more jittery than confident at the moment. The only thing that would set my nerves at ease to any meaningful extent is a series win or a sweep in Atlanta this weekend.

      If we can tack on half a game tonight and then one or two more through the rest of the week, all the better. The one thing I really don’t want is to enter Atlanta with a lead we can lose while we’re there.

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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.

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