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Strasburg digs hole too big for Nats to climb

Aug 9, 2014, 1:33 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images AP

ATLANTA — Stephen Strasburg was at a loss for words, despondent, unable — or perhaps simply unwilling — to offer much explanation for his clunker of an outing Friday night at Turner Field, one that left his Nationals teammates in a 7-run hole they still very nearly dug their way out of, falling one more clutch hit shy of perhaps the most-dramatic comeback in club history.

“I don’t know,” the right-hander mumbled. “I felt pretty good. The ball was just up.”

By “up,” Strasburg was referring to the location of his pitches within the strike zone. He might well have meant, though, the location of the ball as it soared deep into the Atlanta night on any one of the career-high four home runs he surrendered during what wound up a 7-6 loss to the Braves.

This might as well have been a miniature example of Strasburg’s 2014 season as a whole, taken to a new extreme. Seven of Atlanta’s first 12 batters reached base against him, three of them homering. Then Strasburg turned dominant for a brief time, retiring seven batters in a row (five via strikeout) only to serve up one final homer to put his team down 7-0.

The recurring theme, as it has been throughout the season: Poor command, especially of his fastball. Strasburg didn’t miss out of the strike zone, he missed within the strike zone, leading to some eminently hittable pitches.

“He’s missing on the plate, not off the plate,” catcher Wilson Ramos said. “That was the bad thing today. That’s what I see.”

This was nothing new, of course. Strasburg has been surrendering big hits off poorly located fastballs all year, leaving him now with an 8-10 record and 3.68 ERA. He still leads the league with 186 strikeouts against only 35 walks in 156 1/3 innings, but he is giving up more hits than innings pitched for the first time in his career, and he has surrendered 18 home runs (sixth-most in the NL).

The question becomes: What can he do to address the issue to hand? He offered no solutions Friday night.

“I don’t really know how to work on it,” he said. “Some days, I’m hitting the spot. Other days, I’m a couple inches up. I’ve just got to roll with it, try to miss down instead of miss up.”

The Nationals continue to talk down any overriding concern about the would-be ace of their staff who has not consistently pitched like one.

“You can’t put a finger on anything other than they put a good swing on it,” manager Matt Williams said. “He got ahead of Justin [Upton], he got ahead of B.J., [Upton] and they put good swings on the baseball. Certainly they’re not where he wants them to be, those pitches, but it’s not easy to hit a ball out of the ballpark, either. Just keep fighting them.”

Perhaps the tide will turn and Strasburg will take his game to another level, one so many have long assumed he would reach. But here is the hard truth right now: One hundred starts into his career, Strasburg has been a good, occasionally great pitcher yet still significantly less than he could be, especially in games of increased significance.

Strasburg has now made seven career starts in Atlanta. He has failed to reach the sixth inning in five of those, derailed by a smorgasbord of calamities (heat exhaustion, a strained oblique, an ejection, simple poor performance) while posting a monstrous 6.99 ERA.

He leaves everybody searching for answers, for some reason to explain negative results. Including himself.

“I’m just not executing pitches, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “It feels good out of my hand. I’m just not hitting the spot.”

  1. wmlsays - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:41 AM

    Some people are good when you need them. Some people are good all the time. Strasburg has been unreliable this year. His winning percentage has been below .500 for two years now. Definitely not an ace. He may yet become one, but the pitching coach isn’t doing him any favors. Bottom line is this. He’s not the go to guy in this rotation.

  2. David Proctor - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    Strasburg is an above average pitcher. ERA is not the best stat to determine pitcher value. Over the course of a career, ERA tends to regress toward a pitcher’s FIP. Strasburg, by FIP, is an elite pitcher.

    But, until the ERA and traditional stats catches up to the peripherals, he will not be a great pitcher. Right now, he’s not a great pitcher and he’s not our ace. But the people calling him a “bust” or “mediocre” are wrong. Any team would love to have him. Just stop expecting him to be an ace (I don’t believe he has ever asked to be called that, so it’s not his fault). Consider him one of our five quality starting pitchers. We’ll rank them when it matters: the postseason.

    • scmargenau - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:43 AM

      Ignorant. Stop that stat boy crap and use your eyeballs ✌️

      • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:09 AM

        The peace sign is adorable as it bobs in the wake of your considerate musings on the character of the poster to whom you’re replying

      • scbilly - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:29 PM

        Hard to argue with in depth analysis like that.

    • Nats Amore - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      The problem with those Sabermetrics is that I’m not aware of a stat that measures how much “heart” a player has to step up and excel in important games or situations (Rendon seems to have this quality in his DNA). Nor am I aware of a stat that measures how well a player adapts to various climatic factors, such a high humidity. These are every bit as important as FIP, et al., when evaluating a player. Who knows, maybe someone has invented a stat for these too!

  3. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    I admit I gave up on the game at 7-0, which coincided with dinner guests arriving. Imagine my post-dinner surprise when I saw the Nats had made up six runs of the seven-run deficit. Incredible. But too deep a hole. Just too deep.

    I’ve never been one to buy into the ‘head case’ analysis of Stephen Strasburg’s sometime woes, but his own notion that “I don’t really know how to work on it” is disturbing. I’ve got to believe there’s a fix there somewhere, mostly mechanical. I hope someone — Steve McCatty? — can find that fix. Soon.

    • scmargenau - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:45 AM

      Why?? Have u not seen him visibly shaken durring outings? Have u not seen him pissed when infielders make an error? Have u not seen him sulk like a child?

      Get real.

      • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        You’re right, of course, I should ‘get real’ and drop all the ‘stat boy crap’ and rely exclusive on my ‘eyeballs’ and memory and impressions of someone else’s emotions and mental stability. Because a century’s worth of research makes a compelling case that human memories and impressions are so much more reliable than actual data. Or do I have that backwards?

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Stras is not a loquacious guy. I hope “I don’t know how to fix it” was just a way to avoid talking about it more.

  4. knoxvillenat - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:40 AM

    Right now I’d have to refer to SS as an incomplete pitcher based on his poor road game performances. The truth of the matter is this season he has been awful when pitching on the road and if the Nats should make the playoffs they would have to give some serious consideration to letting him pitch only at home and I don’t know if that is feasible or not.

  5. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:58 AM

    Just win tonight.

  6. laddieblahblah - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:34 AM

    Every team in the league has the book on the Braves, and uses it. That’s why the Braves are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. I put this on Ramos and Strasburg. Instead of exploiting the known weaknesses of the Braves hitters, they pitched to their strengths, instead. Bizarre.

    When your offense puts 6 runs on the board, you should win that game, and, most especially, against a struggling team that can’t score. Instead of winning a game that they clearly should have won, Ramos and Strasburg found yet another way to lose yet another 1-run game to the Braves.

    Gritty comeback, though. If the 4-5-6 hitters had contributed more than zero to the offense, they probably would have won, regardless. That would have been something. Still, I am sure Matt is proud of the way they came back. I am, for sure.

    • npb99 - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:47 AM

      Do you think Ramos was doing a poor job in terms of pitch recommendations, etc.?

  7. scmargenau - Aug 9, 2014 at 6:41 AM

    If u guys don’t see that we need to trade him while value is somewhat high /– u r high yourself.

    Realist know two things. Trade Bryce , trade SS…they will. Never be better than average. U r kidding yourself if u think otherwise.,

    Of course nobody has the cahones to do this…but mark my words, they will both amount to average.

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      Based on what, your knowledge of talent evaluation?

      Strasburg’s problem was command based on a poor arm slot making it virtually impossible to get any of his pitches down in the zone. All the hard hit balls were at the belt or just above. Even his curve resembled that of a high school kid letting the break itself fool the hitter in lieu of location. BJ Upton crushed a center cut curve for crying out loud.

      The arm slot will be fixed and he’ll be just fine.

      And as for Harper, his psyche has been damaged by injury after injury. Once he obtains confidence that his body is completely healthy baseball will need to find a higher level for guys like him, Trout and Kershaw in which to play.

      And that’s the consensus of the professional evaluators, not just me.

      The organization is a year and a half away from considering your “trade” notion and how to handle eithers future.

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        My thoughts are in my game post (somewhat “statty”), but suffice it to say, Adam Wainwright has had exactly the same number of “clunkers” as Stephen Strasburg this season. As far as I know they’re not discussion Wainwright’s mental make up.

      • Nats Amore - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        Wouldn’t the pitching coach note something like this and have the pitcher try to make an adjustment in-game?

      • natsjackinfl - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        Nats Amore. Easier said than done. There are many causes for poor arm slotting that need to be examined. And then the correction comes through bullpen work which may or may not put the pitcher in position to Institute better command, improve velocity and or create better movement.

        All of those 3 issues seem to be things that come and go with Stephen from start to start.

      • 6ID20 - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:47 AM

        Strasburg hadn’t been having arm slot issues of late, until he met the Braves last night. So clearly the Braves aren’t in his head. They’re in his arm slot.

    • Hiram Hover - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      Thank goodness you have no control over the Nats personnel decisions.

  8. ArVAfan - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    Greetings from Heathrow, on the way to Glasgow for two weeks in Scotland with the family.

    With any luck, Roark was sitting as usual with Fister last night, asking “what pitch would you throw now? ” and you know he was paying attention to the answers.

    Go Roark, go NATS!

    • scmargenau - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:26 AM

      Enjoy! Im jealous! Always wanted to go

  9. Rick Norris - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:38 AM

    Tommy John surgery. Some guys are better pitchers after it and some come out worse. In His case we all hoped he would remain the same. Will he ever be the pitcher he could have been?

  10. topnat - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    Who is going to ask MW if Stras is being sent down?
    And Laddie, how do you know what Ramos was calling? Stras was missing by 3-4” in the zone. That’s a fine line at 96 mph. The finer points of working a hitter elude him at this point.

    • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

      Who is going to ask Matheny if Adam Wainwright should be sent down?

  11. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    Went to bed when the rain delay started, at 7-4. Pleased to learn that our guys came back to within one run, and that the bullpen held. Wish they could have come back all the way, but that was some hole.

  12. 6ID20 - Aug 9, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    A new ad in the Nothing But Natitude campaign premiered last night.

    Stephen Strasburg. Nothing But Dominance.

    (fine print) Seven batter maximum. While supplies last.

    • Section 222 - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:58 AM

      If this were true, it woulfnakst be as funny as thenHarper ad, Nothing but Hustle, airing right after he was benched.

      Not sure what I think about the Gio ad– Nothing but Emotion. Sure hope he has something more than that on national TV Sunday night.

      • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:02 AM

        Yeah, that Gio add is a strange one.

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        How about “Nothing but Desi”? What does that mean?

    • Another Tyler - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      I hate hate hate those ads. But LaRoche’s “Nothing but Leather”is pretty funny.

  13. Smyrcok - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Nothing impressive about Strasburg last night. Wheels were falling off in the first inning. Is he going to be making mechanical adjustments for the rest of his career? The Braves knew those fast balls were coming. Those homers were all no-doubt rockets. The Braves are god awful. And they massacred Strasburg. That is god awful.

  14. Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    Agreed re: not buying into the ‘head case’ analysis.

    I’m also not overly concerned about any of his defeatism in the post game (e.g., “I don’t really know how to work on it”). He stayed in the game and mostly turned things around, which is what really matters. Would it be nice if he started like he finished? Absolutely. But, he remained focused and let the bullpen rest more than I ever would’ve expected after the end of the 2nd. Also, I don’t really expect a guy to be chipper and have all the answers immediately after basically humiliating himself and letting down his team with a glaring spotlight on his back.

    I will say, it was disappointing to see the setback as far as his FB command. He really seemed to be on to something his last two starts. Hopefully this ultimately will be just an example of the fact that refinement of any expertise is a non linear progression. We’ll see.

  15. Doc - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    They are all big games for us NI fans—otherwise we wouldn’t be fans.

    But this was a big game, emotionally and statistically for the Nats. We had a chance to kick the Braves while they were down.

    We have a guy who is 11-3 with less ‘stuff’ than Strasburgh, so yeah we’re pissed off when the ‘staff ace’ coughs up 4 HRs and 7 big ones.

    I’d hate to see the score in a playoff game with the LAD, or the LAA in the WS.

    Leave it up in the zone with those guys and 4 HRs would be an underestimate!!!

    • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      We still have a chance to kick the Braves when they’re down.

  16. edshelton2013 - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    It did seem strange that SS and Ramos relied so much on his fast ball. Big league hitters thrive on fast balls, especially when they catch too much of the plate. On the other hand, Detwiler followed and pitched great, using the fast ball almost exclusively, but evidently hitting his spots.

    • stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Many LHs in Barves lineup, too.

    • Smyrcok - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      Strasburg’s fastball has been extremely hittable since it stopped being 97+. Opposing batters have a 300+ average against it this year last time I checked. Some thing is wrong there. You can’t have that in games that matter. Which is almost all of them.

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

    “@robneyer: The Nationals’ record against the Braves over the last three years? Irrelevant! @gabekapler explains: http://t.co/XDO2l1hz85

    • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:57 AM

      LOL, nice

    • 6ID20 - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      Right. What was relevant was their record in games against Strasburg.

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        And even then, probably only this year’s record when they had most of the same hitters, and last years when they had some of the same. La Stella is an improvement over Uggla.

        I do have a question. A while back Stras had a bad start and it was mentioned that before games he uses (used) a machine to stimulate his arm muscles and nerves. Apparently he stayed on the machine too long in that game, and that’s how the subject came up (it was in Davey’s tenure, but I don’t recall if Davey was the one who mentioned it).

        Does he still use the machine? Do other pitchers? Does it go on the road with him?

      • 6ID20 - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        The machine got bumped on road trips so they could fit Soriano’s hyperbaric chamber in the cargo hold.

  18. stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Kilgore gets a lot of grief, some of it understandable, but his interview with Roark, breaking down his last start against the O’s is fascinating and educational. If you missed it, don’t.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/nationals/tanner-roark-explains-the-thought-process-behind-his-decisions-on-the-mound/2014/08/08/31011b52-1efc-11e4-82f9-2cd6fa8da5c4_story.html?tid=clavis_1.0_strip_1

    • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      Excellent. Just letting Roark talk. Amazing that he was so forthright, and also that he remembers so much!

    • janebeard - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:05 AM

      I thought this piece was just great. I’d love to read more like that. I guess, so would the batting coaches for the opposing teams. Still, awesome piece.

  19. MicheleS - Aug 9, 2014 at 9:59 AM

    My heavens you would think this was a Phillies site with a team that is in last place……

    Go get em tonight boys. You showed you didn’t quit even when down 7-0. One thing we know for sure, Stras will not play for the Barves

  20. Nats fool - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    SS should reverse his pitch sequence and go with his two seamer when he needs to get it over. But it appears he lacks confidence. His stuff has always been great, but he does not have the makeup. Rizzo has chosen a lot of players with great talent but poor makeup. Gio was known to be a head case in Oakland. We all know how Desmond can lose plate discipline. I expect a sweep by the Braves. Rizzo has always been a mediocre GM in my mind.

    • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      “Reverse his pitch sequence”?! Sounds fancy! What would that sequence look like (the reversed one)?

      • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        PS – does he have confidence to pull off even a no brainer like this?

    • rayvil01 - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      Amazing conclusion to reach that Rizzo is mediocre. He inherited a 100 loss team and made ir a Division winner in shortorder. All the while loading a nice collection of talent on the farm. Now the team is in position to be relevant for a number of years.

      That is a good bit better than mediocre.

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        Yes, and we have a first place team despite having those “average” guys on it (Harper and Strasburg).

      • Nats fool - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:11 AM

        First, the talent we have now is due to sucking for so long. Which GM wouldn’t draft Harper and SS? Of course, you could ask why we wasted a first- round pick for a projected reliever when Trout was available? Of course, most GM’s whiffed on him. What amazing talent do we have on the farm? We have a mediocre farm system. Prospects will break your heart. Now if he could have swung a trade for Beltre, that would have said something.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Does a fool know where his mind is?

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:49 AM

        Look, I wanted Beltre as much as the next person, I made my feelings pretty clear on that. But it takes two to deal, and the Rangers weren’t dealing short of Giolito, and maybe not even Giolito, who is, after all, a prospect and probably a 2016 arrival, and the Rangers want to win in 2015.

      • rayvil01 - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        Cost for Beltre was too high. Sometimes the best trades are the ones not made.

        Rizzo is plenty good. I’m not saying he’s the best. But “Mediocre” tag is risible. The notion that his success is all due to a long period of failure prior doesn’t wash. He selects two players the haters say are busts. At the same time they are the supposed reason for his success. This is a logic tree that would make for an intersting diagram.

        The fact is that those two have not lived up to expectations yet. The team is in first due to tjose that Rizzo brought in far removed from the first rounders by a variety of means. That’s good work by him. He deserves credit for it.

  21. Nats fool - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Instead of starting off with a fastball. Give them nothing but off-speed junk from inning 1. But as Ray Knight said, he wants to get the feel of his fastball first. Pitch off-speed in a fastball count so they don’t sit dead red.

  22. Danny - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Losing to the Braves is not assumed, it’s expected.

  23. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    If “Any team would love to have him,” I say, open the bidding. I gave up when the score was 7-6, as they started the top of the eighth inning. I was deathly afraid the Nats were going to win, when Strasburg richly deserved, and in a just world earned, being tagged with a big fat L. And we would have to listen to another Matt Williams “he gave us a chance to win” speech. Kilgore writes articles about the work Fister and Roark are doing to prepare for games and in games — showing what’s going on in their heads. What’s going on in Strasburg’s head? Apparently, vapor. He doesn’t know what the problem is? You’d think nobody was telling him how to fix it, that this isn’t his fifth season in the major leagues. Humbug! “Inconsistency” is, in some pitchers (Edwin Jackson?), is tolerable, because you know that’s the best you’re gonna get (and you probably wouldn’t plan on winning the WS with them in your rotation). But the Nats have force-fed the Boras “once-in-a-generation pitcher” BS on the fan base for a guy who shatters our hopes every other time he starts. They need to fix him or move him on.

  24. scnatsfan - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

    SS will never be what us as fans want him to be. For two years now he has been a sub 500 pitcher who shows glimpses of being amazing but has become increasingly hittable. Time to start to realize this is who he is?

  25. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    On a plus note, I saw Souza’s comments on why he asked out of the game: “I didn’t want to steal anybody’s at bats.” Smart, honest kid. We need more of those.

  26. stoatva - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Our first draft picks are both busts but “of course” Rizzo turned around perennial 100 loss teams because he had first draft pick in two consecutive drafts, duh.

    • Eric - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      +1, I rather enjoyed the logical gymnastics, too

  27. #4 - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    One thought that crosses my mind with SS is his (in)ability to repeat his mechanics. It’s pretty rare that you have a great pitcher who is not also a great athlete. When I watch him run the bases, he looks so awkward. It makes me think that while he has a rifle attached to his right shoulder, his inability to balance himself makes it hard for him to consistently locate his pitches. Does anyone know anything about his athletic career (say in HS) outside of baseball?

    • natsjackinfl - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      That’s a terrific point. I’ve never known a solid pitcher that wasn’t at least a 2 sport athlete and usually pretty good at the sport other than baseball.

      Funny but the 3 guys on the staff that seem to struggle with game to game consistency the most are Stras and Gio and I’ve never heard either be connected to some other sport.

      • natsjackinfl - Aug 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        That should read “2 guys”, not 3.

      • Doc - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:57 PM

        Interesting discussion about athleticism.

        Roark and Fister were athletes 1st, and pitchers 2nd. Multi-sport athletes, IMHO, have a better feeling for competition and team spirit.

        Darvish, interestingly enough from our discussion about balance, when warming before a game, and in between starts, throws an equal number of pitches both L-handed and R-handed to achieve balance.

    • David Proctor - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Strasburg was very overweight in high school and the start of his college career, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t play other sports

      • #4 - Aug 9, 2014 at 12:17 PM

        That’s my recollection as well. Athleticism is something he can work on in the off-season. There are plenty of drills to improve balance and agility. Who knows? Maybe he’s already doing them, but I wonder given what he looks like both base running and fielding his position. Bottom line though there’s nothing better than playing multiple sports as a kid to build an array of skills.

        Not to be a complete doom-sayer, but after watching Giolito go through a PFP work-out in spring training, I have the same concerns about him. He looked very unathletic to me trying to field bunts.

      • NatsLady - Aug 9, 2014 at 7:05 PM

        This article goes into a little more detail about Stras in Little League, high school and college. There’s no reference to any other sport, or even any other position besides pitcher.

        http://www.biography.com/people/stephen-strasburg-20641901#early-life

  28. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 9, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Torre, LaRussa and Cox all prefer NL style baseball without the DH.

  29. micksback1 - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    sounds like a great effort last night on offense after being down 7-0. So Stras gave up 3-4 HR’s? Bottom line, he is simply not that good and yes, i will continue to question his grit, not his character!. Some players simply do no have it, it does not make them bad players, it simply means, coaches and management have to accept it and put him in a position to succeed rather than count on him to lift a team.

    I really think the sample size is adequate to state he is an average MLB pitcher, not great and not a pitcher you build a championship around. He reminds me of Ejac in many ways, he will play 10 plus years as a 4-5 pitcher period.

    I still think the Nats can win a pennant in spite of Stras

  30. Joe Seamhead - Aug 9, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    Wow, that seemed like a short vacation, mick. Hope that it was relaxing for you.

    How hot is Denard Span? He is third in the NL in hits, and first in hits in the NL among centerfielders. He’s tied for the ML total for CFers with Adam Jones. The leader in hits overall in the NL? Murphy of the Mets.

    I can’t believe someone on here earlier this week was still calling for Denard Span to be moved down to 8 in the lineup. Seriously?

    Billy Hamilton has 43 stolen bases, but has been caught stealing 18 times. He may be exciting, but that is not a very good ratio.

    • micksback1 - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM

      Joe, its always too short, 1 week at beach, then I’ll take another one in December

  31. Another_Sam - Aug 9, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I’m exactly with NatsJack on Harper. He’s just still not himself coming off the latest injury. He’s clearly in another category of player, and the team is so much better with him in the lineup, no matter what.

    As for Stras — I’m as perplexed as anyone. This is so frustrating. This is at least the second time this season that the club has had a terrific getaway game win, and then fallen flat on the subsequent road trip. No fun for this fan. I agree that right now Stras is not reliable. In a must win situation, I don’t know what I’d do. [Yes I do.]

  32. micksback1 - Aug 9, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    on the 2 sport athletes, let me weigh in as there are some great posts here, especially from #4 who i know is a coach like sjm and myself. we tell young players in all sports to not focus on only one sport until maybe junior year. In fact, most colleges today prefer players who are 2 or more sport varsity players. This does not mean that
    a player can not be spectacular if they only play one sport, but it helps the young man or woman develop their skill sets quicker by training for multiple sports. just few good examples off the top of some great pros in their sports that could have played at a high level in another sport:

    Cal Ripken was an all met basketball player
    Tim Duncan could have swam in the Olympics
    Jim Brown was all american in Lax at the Cuse
    Sonny Jurgensen could have played basketball at Duke and was actually recruited to play
    Billy Kilmer was recruited to play hoop at UCLA
    Deon and Bo Jackson were very good MLB players

    this is fun, i could go on, but you get the gist

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