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Still no answer for Strasburg’s woes

May 23, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images

There was a time, not terribly long ago, when the sight of Stephen Strasburg taking the mound was a confidence boost for the Nationals, not to mention a daunting prospect for the opposition. He was an intimidating presence on the mound, with a repertoire that left batters quaking in their spikes and fans on the edge of their seats.

How that version of Strasburg has morphed into this version of Strasburg — the guy who was roughed up once again Saturday by the Phillies during an 8-1 loss at Nationals Park, intimidating no one, looking like he had given up — is the greatest mystery facing this franchise right now.

“It looks like he lacks a little bit of confidence out there,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “Maybe he’s fighting something mentally. But I have no doubt that he’ll shake it off and come back just as good as ever.”

The Nationals continue to espouse that same opinion, that Strasburg will bounce back and return to the form that defined his first five seasons in the big leagues.

“We’re not concerned,” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s one of our guys. He been one of our guys. He will continue to be one of our guys. He’s going through a rough stretch. It doesn’t mean he can’t come out of it his next start and be absolutely dominant. He has that capability every time he walks out on the mound.”

Trouble is, Strasburg hasn’t lived up to that capability in quite some time. He has reached the seventh inning only once this season (April 19). He has failed to get out of the fourth inning three times in his last four starts.

And the overall numbers are downright ghastly. Out of 110 qualifying starting pitchers in the majors as of early Saturday evening, Strasburg’s 6.50 ERA ranked 109th, while his 1.69 WHIP, .321 opponents’ batting average and 17.95 pitches per inning ranked dead-last.

Opponents have posted a combined .853 OPS against him this season. Three players in MLB history had a career OPS of .853: Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Billy Williams. All Hall of Famers.

“It’s definitely something that I’ve never experienced before,” Strasburg said. “I think it’s a test. It’s a test for me, and I’m gonna look at it that way and I’m not gonna quit. I’m gonna keep going.”

The Nationals hoped Strasburg had made some progress in his last outing, when he allowed three runs in five innings in San Diego while displaying his best fastball command in weeks. But Saturday’s start against the Phillies was a regression, with Strasburg unable to locate pitches and unable to put away hitters in 2-strike counts.

The result were several hard-hit balls in the third and fourth innings, including doubles by Cesar Hernandez, Ryan Howard and Odubel Herrera, plus a towering homer by Maikel Franco on an 0-2 fastball that was shoulder-high and right over the plate.

“A lot of damage with two strikes in the count,” Williams said. “The base hit to Howard: fastball up. The homer was a fastball up, but still with two strikes. Just couldn’t put them away today.”

As the outing progressed, Strasburg looked more and more demoralized on the mound. He failed to back up the plate on multiple occasions, a lack of fundamental effort that wasn’t lost on his manager.

“That’s worked on more than anything else,” Williams said. “And he’s got to be in position in case something does get away.”

Strasburg wasn’t alone in sleepwalking through this game. His teammates were charged with four errors — all while he was on the mound — and could’ve been charged with more if not for a bizarre, Little League-style play in the sixth inning that was wiped out because Hernandez missed first base after driving a ball to right-center.

Those defensive gaffes typically make Williams’ skin crawl, but given the fact his team had been very clean baseball while winning 18 of its previous 22 games, the second-year manager couldn’t make too big a deal out of this particular performance.

“It was clunker, but all-in-all over the past couple weeks it’s been darn good,” he said. “So, I’m not worried about their intensity level, or anything of that nature. It was one of those games. It happens sometimes, but we’ll get back at it tomorrow.”

What, though, about Strasburg? The Nationals can no longer chalk up starts like this to being “one of those games.” Everyone insists his status won’t change and he’ll be back on the mound for his next turn in the rotation — currently scheduled for Friday in Cincinnati — but with an off-day next week they could potentially skip him and give him extra time to work on things.

Whether any of that is the cure for whatever currently ails Strasburg is anybody’s guess.

“He’s a great pitcher, really,” Desmond said. “I mean, there’s not many better in the league than him. Sometimes as players, that’s hard for us to believe, in ourselves. We’re so hard on ourselves all the time. But especially when you’re not getting results. … He’s still got it. He’s throwing 96-97. All his pitches look good. It’s just hits are falling through right now and mistakes are getting hit hard. That’s just a stretch he’s going to go through. You’d rather go through it now than later. But like I said before, I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”

  1. Candide - May 23, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    So say Roark continues to pitch well until Fister gets back, and Strasburg continues to struggle.

    Do you keep Roark in the rotation and send Strasburg down to Syracuse to work things out?

    • David Proctor - May 23, 2015 at 9:53 PM

      1. I don’t think Fister is going to be back any time soon. Months, imo.

      2. There’s only so much rope they’re going to give him. If he keeps having an ERA near 7, they’re going to DL him, even if it’s only a Haren-esque mental break. Syracuse though? I don’t see that.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 23, 2015 at 10:19 PM

        What are you basing your opinion on that Fister will be out for months?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 23, 2015 at 10:57 PM

        Joe, exactly. It’s a flexor strain that they expect him to start throwing soon acordimg to both MW and Rizzo.

        I guess you can be a pessimist if you want and think that the Nats are lying.

  2. veejh - May 23, 2015 at 9:16 PM

    I hate to bring up the mental Stras thing once again, but it seems there’s a little bit more proof every game. Not backing up the catcher on 2 different plays? What does that say about where his head is? He’s gotten pounded once again, and all he can do is steam on the mound and completely forget that there’s a baseball game going on. That’s the way I see it. He’s not a very good pitcher when faced with adversity more often than not.

    • Karl Kolchak - May 23, 2015 at 9:53 PM

      Yep–and combine that with the fact that he has lost just enough of that incredible raw talent he has as a rookie that he can no longer just crank it up and blow hitters away.

      I had hoped that having Scherzer around would help Strasburg see what happens when a pitcher with superior talent learns to PITCH and not just throw. Unfortunately, Scherzer’s confident mound presence seems to have put him in a funk at not being THE MAN anymore.

      • Candide - May 23, 2015 at 10:07 PM

        Unfortunately, Scherzer’s confident mound presence seems to have put him in a funk at not being THE MAN anymore.

        I’ve never been a fan of theories based on psychoanalysis done by someone who’s never even met the person in question.

      • rabbit433 - May 24, 2015 at 7:50 AM

        What’s really unfortunate is that we lose Fister an Zimmermann next year and not SS.

  3. ehay2k - May 23, 2015 at 10:25 PM

    Listened to the game on AtBat while I did some work. One thing said was that Stras’ velocity dropped down to the 91mph range after the 2nd? Is that true? If so, he is hurt, or compensating for injury. Anyone else see that?

    And the Nats end a streak by delivering a clunker, this time against Hamels. He know how to pitch to them, so no real surprise he dealt. But the errors? Sheesh. And Stras missing the backup on plays is not acceptable! That his a sign he is thinking of himself and his own woes before the game and the team. I have full confidence MW and Cat will deal with that.

    Series win on the line tomorrow. Go get ’em Gio!

    GYFNG!

  4. ehay2k - May 23, 2015 at 10:28 PM

    You need to cut your losses here and move on. All your critiques are personal in nature and add zero value to the conversation here. Please find somethibg else to do with your time than post here. We know you are the poster formerly known as Secret Wasian Man. You were banned. Go away.

    • manassasnatsfan - May 23, 2015 at 11:28 PM

      I fail to understand what he gets out of his stupid comments. He is not a fan as he is never commenting when there are good things as a fan would. Suspect he is Oriole troll.

  5. conatsguy - May 23, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    I’m channeling my positive thoughts……I see Stras covered in a Scherzer applied chocolate bath this season. Snide remarks welcome (well, except for SWM.. Could care less)😎

    • scmargenau - May 23, 2015 at 11:15 PM

      I think that’s the trick. A chocolate cleanse.

      Sometimes players with talent, especially at cerebral positions like pitcher and QB just don’t have the right mental makeup to be a viable success over a period of time. I fear this may be the case. He just looks so….sour…it’s bad karma.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - May 23, 2015 at 11:02 PM

    My in-game comments was Strasburg was throwing at max effort in the 1st inning and I compared to sprinting the start to a runner going a mile. Sure enough by the 3rd Strasburg looked hittable and that 4-steamer became BP.

    I don’t get it. He didn’t forget how to hit. I will ask again, is he injured?

    • scmargenau - May 23, 2015 at 11:17 PM

      U mean pitch? Ghost, his issues have been 2 years n the works, inconsistent starts, getting rattled, melting down. Would u really trust him in a play off game?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 8:24 AM

        I wouldn’t trust him pitching his next start but I would trust him in the playoffs—in the bullpen.

        You saw his 1st inning. It was max effort 97 to 98 darted fastballs. He was spent after 2 innings.

        Not sure what Stephen was thinking. It almost reminded me of a Ross Detwiler start. Overthrow and then think by the 3rd inning you can still overpower them with a fastball. Sorry, even lousy Major Leaguers will hit a straight fastball when you get too much plate.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:17 AM

        Yes, “forget how to hit” should be “forget how to pitch” thanks

    • conatsguy - May 23, 2015 at 11:31 PM

      I hope you and NatsLady are on to something. If he is injured though, why is he out there? That would mean either MW & SM are letting him work thru this ( with a short handed pitching staff) or he is hiding the injury- that would be very bad from a team player perspective.

      Just scratching my head and hoping for the best. Glad this was not happening in April.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 23, 2015 at 11:51 PM

        I’m asking the question, is he injured? A few starts ago I thought he was as his mechanics were awful and he didn’t look right and they specifically said he’s fine.

        There is clearly something wrong and again my in-game analysis was that he’s throwing 97 to 98 in the 1st inning at max effort. He looked spent by the 3rd inning as if he was a relief pitcher.

        I can read charts and see the swings they were putting on his pitches and Stras wasn’t fooling anyone in the 3rd.

        Not sure where they go from here and keep in mind Strasburg has MiLB options, but don’t expect them to embarrass him by sending him to AAA rather a DL stint would allow him to get in a few low stress starts and straighten those mechanics out.

        I’m not saying that would happen or is even warranted but he’s a mess right now and taxing this bullpen.

  7. manassasnatsfan - May 23, 2015 at 11:26 PM

    Bottom line Scherzer is the pitcher we thought Strasburg was going to based on the hype.

    I wish Strasburg would see what Scherzer does and follow suit.

  8. laddieblahblah - May 23, 2015 at 11:50 PM

    He is not the same pitcher he was as a rookie. He does not have the same stuff, nor the same command. Check out how crisp his curve ball was, and how often his change-up and FB were in, or near, black, how his swing back FB made hitters look clueless, and how so many pitches were either low in the zone, or his FB was too high to catch up with, especially since it sat at 99 and sometimes hit 100. That was a pitcher who had great stuff and complete command:

    No wonder his confidence is down. I don’t know what’s wrong, but his FB had little movement last night, and he left it up and over the plate. His curve ball was better than last time, but not like it was when he was a rook. He must not have had too much confidence in his change, because he didn’t throw that many of them, instead serving up fat FBs in 2-strike counts.

    His mechanics were better, too, as he did not fall off towards 1b while yanking his curve into the dirt and way out to his left, as he did on the Left Coast trip. After the first 2 innings, I thought he would have a respectable showing, but if I saw that he was serving up his FB fat, then the Phils did, too, and seemed to sit on it. I wonder if he is tipping his curve, as a couple of the Phils just waited for it, and timed their swings to barrel up.

    He doesn’t hit 100 any more, but he still has plenty of velocity, only he can’t locate that FB like he used to.

    Time for a reset. SS is too important not to DL while he figures things out with the crew in Viera. Since Roark is filling in for Fister, give Cole a couple of starts until Doug comes back. The Nats just can’t watch while SS struggles so badly, and do nothing.

    He knew he didn’t have it last night. It was written all over his face. Time for an intervention.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM

      I’m in agreement and wrote my 2¢ above similar to yours and as you called it, Strasburg needs a reset to go back to the Minors to figure it out. Low stress where he can work on his mechanics and repertoire.

      • laddieblahblah - May 24, 2015 at 6:01 AM

        “I’m in agreement…”

        Aren’t we always? Well. almost always.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 8:33 AM

        Yes, yes we are. Look at the HR pitch. Was supposed to go back above the K zone like Pitch #1 but left it on the top of the zone.

    • kirbs3256 - May 24, 2015 at 12:24 AM

      Wow, that second pitch said 101.

    • Candide - May 24, 2015 at 9:08 AM

      What I’m seeing in above video: when he throws a pitch, he falls off towards first for a few steps.

      What I think I’m seeing more of now is he falls towards first, but comes to a stop right there on the mound, often almost coming down on one knee.

      It seems that I’m the video, he’s pitching with his whole body, while now, it looks like he’s trying to keep himself under more control. So he “finishes” his pitch with less movement, but at the cost of having to throw harder to get the same velocity. Hence, fatigue after 3-4 innings, with predictable results.

      Anyone else seeing that? Or am I out of my mind?

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - May 23, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    Laddie provides us with a smack-on-point reminder of how different Strasburg is pitching now vs. then.

    There’s been much throwing about of brains about whether he’s a head case, or of low moral fiber, or just not the Sack Up sort of tough guy. Whatever.

    I submit that’s not only not the wrong question, it’s not even wrong. I want to know, how can this be fixed.

    The guy is talented out the yin-yang. There’s got to be some way to fix this.

    • Sonny G 10 - May 24, 2015 at 2:37 AM

      +1. I am baffled as to what is wrong with Stephen. I expected him to have control issues last year as he was recovering from the elbow cleanout, ala Storen. I really thought he would be back to normal this year, and so far he clearly is not. I don’t know what is wrong, but something surely is.

  10. veejh - May 24, 2015 at 2:41 AM

    Stras may be broken. He’s dominated his entire career up until he needed TJ, and ever since, its pretty much been a roller coaster.

    • veejh - May 24, 2015 at 2:43 AM

      Entire career not very long, but you get my point…., pre TJ>> post TJ. Every pitcher is a crap shoot.

  11. Another_Sam - May 24, 2015 at 7:23 AM

    Clearly you can’t give him the ball in a one game must win situation. No way.

  12. Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    I was at the game yesterday, and a few observations:

    It was a perfect day for baseball weather wise.

    Our highlight of the day was an impressive display of approximately 1000 motorcycles going down South Capitol St. with a police escort as we were coming in to the park.

    Casey Janssen looked pretty good.

    Michael Taylor’s assist from LF was not a great throw, but Wilson Ramos made a good play on a tough short hop.If you’re going bounce it in the ball should come in on one one hop from about 12′ in front of the plate.

    MAT’s 2nd throw to the plate was off line, in the air, and Ramos couldn’t handle it and Wilson was charged with an error. The error should have been on the throw, imho. Strasburg did not back up the play, making matters worse.

    Bryce Harper made a terrific catch in right, but then followed up shortly thereafter with a horrible throw in every respect. BTW, that throw sailed past Ramos to the wall by the visitor’s dugout where Strasburg did back it up and got it after the rebound off the wall and prevented any further damage from that point on that play. Why he didn’t back up the others? I can’t give an answer, as there is no justification for it.

    Ryan Zimmerman’s errant throw was a poor decision from the get go.It was a combination of a consequence of his inexperience at the position and a very poor off-balance throw. We knew he would have some mistake plays like that, and yet he has had very few.

    This game was not part of our partial plan. We have a lot of Friday night games. There are a lot more people getting up during play during weekend day games, blocking other people’s views of the game and I’m not just talking about people with kids.Though I loved the weather, I really prefer the night game’s crowds.

    This game was a clunker. You are going to have a few of them even from great teams. The Nats didn’t lose any ground, they’re still in first place.

    As to Strasburg? I think that he is a fiercely competitive, talented athlete whose confidence is shaken and that he is going through a tough spell. Calling him weak, a sissy, a head case etc. is your right, I guess, but I think that it’s out of line.

    OK

    • rayvil01 - May 24, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      I’ve never seen Janssen before. He looked good. High energy guy, moved the ball around, and had good control. Nice.

      • Another_Sam - May 24, 2015 at 8:03 AM

        On the tube, Janssen looked quite quirky and not at all a classily styled pitcher. Just my $0.02.

    • masterfishkeeper - May 24, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      +1 on all of these comments, from someone who was in Section 111 yesterday. Especially agree with Joe’s response to the Strasburg comments.

      The other thing I’d like to add is that Escobar is not a particularly good third baseman, which is why I’d prefer to see Rendon there. Escobar is adequate, but Rendon is an excellent third baseman.

      If Escobar is out for any period of time, I think they’ll put Rendon at third and have Escobar practice being a second baseman when he rehabilitates.

    • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      greatfully traded my partial plan tix in yesterday as we were taken out to Le Berge Francois (sp ???)
      but traded in for another cubs series game…likely to see a loss thenI’m sure
      but wouldn’t have to patience to sit thru yesterday…a measure of a real fan, Mr. Seams

    • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 9:59 AM

      in a game like yesterday, i’d be grateful for the kids blocking the view. The game begins and ends with them.

  13. rayvil01 - May 24, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    For what little it’s worth, the thing I notice in that the hitters foul off his “Out” pitches. He can’t seem to get people out of the box. Not quite enough movement on the 2-seamer to get the strike out. So the pitch count is quite high in the first few innings. Then his velo comes down and that straight four-seamer is very hit-able.

    Then it goes downhill.

    I can’t read his mind. But, his confidence has to be damaged. Confidence is so key to performance. Big challenge for the coaching staff to get that confidence back up.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 8:56 AM

      Sorry to tell you but Strasburg has all but stopped throwing his 2-seamer since 2012. He is now a 3 pitch pony in 4-seamer, curve and changeup. He threw a couple of 2-seamers and sliders this year but nothing significant. I will break it down below.

      He’s predictable and if you sit fastball which is his main pitch (62% of the time) and he misses his spot, he was in trouble as it was flat in the 3rd inning and even this lousy Phillies lineup was all over it.

      2009 his repertoire was 47% 4-seam 21% 2-seam 18% curveball 14% changeup
      2015 his repertoire is 62% 4-seam 1.9% 2-seam 19% curveball 16% changeup 1.4% slider

      A reason he doesn’t throw the 2-seam much is they are hitting .667 against the 2-seam and .600 against the slider. The other pitches aren’t good either .319 against the 4-seamer, .333 against the curve and .263 against the changeup.

      • rayvil01 - May 24, 2015 at 12:55 PM

        Ok. I thought he mixing that in. Slider isn’t moving enough to get the whiff. Not a good picture

        thanks for the break down. Very informative.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 12:59 PM

        Should be. Needs those groundball outs. Early in his career his sinker was a great pitch.

  14. NatsLady - May 24, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    I hope Gio can go at least seven today, because I don’t expect Roark to go more than five tomorrow, and obviously Cole’s not available for a couple-three days.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 8:58 AM

      Which is why they may have to send Cole back to Syracuse for a fresh starter or make another move.

  15. Candide - May 24, 2015 at 8:58 AM

    Well, at least we can take THIS away from yesterday’s game:

  16. Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    I expect a roster move today with either Strasburg going to the DL for an “ankle” or Cole optioned back to AAA and Taylor Jordan getting the call-up. He’s been one of the best starters in Syracuse.

    With Solis on the DL and Cole spent and Roark pitching tomorrow, the Nats have few options with Gio pitching today to back him up as Blake Treinen is the only viable long man today and if you spend him, there is nobody to back-up Gio.

    Taylor Jordan is scheduled to pitch today for Syracuse on an extra days rest since they had an off-day on Thursday. No word if he’s been scratched yet.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 9:16 AM

      “with Gio pitching today to back him up as Blake Treinen is the only viable long man today and if you spend him, there is nobody to back-up Gio.”

      meant to say nobody to back-up Roark tomorrow.

      • Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 9:22 AM

        I think that you are correct in that a move is necessary, one way or the other.

        A couple of tidbits from the minors yesterday:

        Joe Ross got hit hard in the Harrisburg game. 4ER’s in 5.1 innings.

        Erik Davis had another shutout inning for Syracuse. So far, so good.

        Matt denDekker hit his first home run for the Chiefs.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 9:27 AM

        I owe you a drink. I just posted the same and was going to get to a Harrisburg update. A shame about Joe Ross as he had been looking like a promotion candidate.

  17. Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Speaking of Syracuse, look at their boxscore from yesterday. The batting averages are atrocious, Meek blew a save giving up 3 in the 9th and the highlight was Den Dekker hitting a HR. Kila and Ian Stewart and Gwynn oh my.

    http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t552&t=g_box&gid=2015_05_23_indaaa_syraaa_1

    • Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 9:34 AM

      None of the farm teams are looking great so far, but especially the Chiefs.

      Off topic, but the A”s have been atrocious and yesterday Tyler Clippard made everybody pretty nervous in the 9th. The A’s had a 5-0 lead over the Rays, and their bullpen has blown a ton of games, so when Clipp got 2 outs to start the 9th, but then gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases people understandably got pretty nervous. Tyler came back and struck Joey Butler to end the game.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 9:38 AM

        Clip will try your blood pressure. He’s throwing a lot of pitches per inning.

    • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 9:47 AM

      Lombardozzi in the Ind. Indians lineup I see and batting .333.
      but yeah, I guess Nats do try to stockpile on promising pitchers in the draft…given you can’t have enuf and are good trade value.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:14 AM

        AAA is so devoid of positional talent that all those fringe players like Kila, Gwynn, Burriss, Dykstra and Ian Stewart can’t even dominate in AAA.

      • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:20 AM

        kind of scary I guess so better play for today.
        I read Theo had a different strategy for building up the cubs. went for position players first since he thinks young pitchers are more of a crap shoot. We’ll see how it works out….looking forward to seeing Bryant, Russell, Soler, Rizzo, Baez…WS champs in 2018

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:33 AM

        Everything is about balance. We can all see what the Cubs look like and their currency to acquire arms would be to trade from their wealth of position players.

        By the way, how did that work for the Cubs? Their wealth of position players with all those can’t miss names like Middlebrooks, Nava and Bradley etc never happened and Betts is batting .238 and Swihart is at .185

        I’ve said from the start that Betts isn’t a guarantee given non-September stats but still small sample sizes.

        The Cubs on the other hand look like the team I thought they would be. Infield is great but the outfield and back-end starters are still questionable.

        The Cubs could be a suitor for Hamels, why not.

      • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:38 AM

        I guess you mean how did that work out for sox ? but agree that cubs have an overflow of middle infielders so could trade one for proven pitcher like Hamels. And now that they have 2 scoreboards blocking out the cheap seats on the rooftops, they have cornered the north end baseball market 😉

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:41 AM

        Hasn’t worked out at all for the Red Sox. Their players haven’t materialized and those FA’s (Sandoval/Hanley) they signed to form the “Tres Amigos” with Ortiz hasn’t produced.

        Kris Bryant is a beast for the Cubs, Reed looks good, we will see. SSS.

      • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:48 AM

        but it worked in 2004 and 2007 during Theo’s early tenure and he can’t take the hit for the recent FA’s…..But Betts was signed during the reign of Theo I think. The Phils may have been better off following this strategy two years ago.
        I’m hopeful about Addison Russell and Jorge Soler too. but back to point…would prefer them over our young promising position players.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Yep, worked for Theo. Have to give him credit.

  18. Nats Fan Zee - May 24, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    I was at the game yesterday and left after 7 (1st time I ever left a game that early) disgusted. Beautiful day but aweful performance on our part. As for Strasburg, it’s all been said here … The Nats need a reality check with him and accept that he has some mechanics issues to fix or he is hurt, or both. The problem is the reality check …. He has been hyped by this team for so long, acceptance is very difficult. The fact is since he had TJ surgery (5 years ago), he has not regained the dominance he had in his rookie 2010 season. He is not the same pitcher and I see no evidence that he is successfully adjusting his approach and pitches.

    I am not smart enough to suggest the best path here but I do know this, continuing to give him starts absent a mechanical or medical change will result in melt downs and mental self denigration. If they “grind it out”, he will fast become the 2015 version of Dan Harron …. Except even Dan went on the DL. All options should be considered including a tour in the BP or AAA.

    • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:23 AM

      NL and GOSM both pointing to a possible ankle issue.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:36 AM

        I don’t truly believe he is seriously injured, I believe that ankle is bothering him and his mechanics and needs a DL stint to slow things out and re-work his mechanics in a less stressful setting.

      • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:49 AM

        Now that strategy can’t hurt.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM

        Strasburg quotes this morning sound like he’s going nowhere. Surprising. Cole?

      • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 11:03 AM

        In GOSM and NL, i’ve learned to trust! I’ll look to you experts as to Cole’s potential.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 11:11 AM

        Cole has to change that open delivery. Shows too much ball. If he can keep his front shoulder closed longer he will be more effective.

    • dcwx61 - May 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      you get kudos for staying that long, though and MNF covered the blog for the rest of us. 😉

  19. Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    Strasburg being quoted that he needs to stick to it and grind. Sounds like he is shooting down any theory that he’s injured, even in the slightest.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 24, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      Which is, of course, what too many players do. I don’t pretend to understand the mechanics of pitching, but it seems clear that — whether caused by an injury or not — Mr. Strasburg has work to do. And the problem is that that work best takes place against live batters. Better that those live batters are in rehab games somewhere?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 12:14 PM

        Exactly. He has MiLB options but they won’t do that to him.

      • Nats Fan Zee - May 24, 2015 at 1:00 PM

        Thanks but it belongs to my 12 year old who wanted to stay even though he had a fever ( I actually had to take him to 1st Aid and they were just magnificent folks!) to get an ibuprofen. Even had to forgo the two for one Nats Dogs as he could not hold anything down … Poor little guy.

  20. npb99 - May 24, 2015 at 4:04 PM

    From the glass-is-half-full perspective, I’m happy that at least one of our two no. 1 draft pick/can’t miss superstar candidates is turning out to be the real deal.

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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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