Saturday, June 30, 2012

Instant analysis: Braves 7, Nats 5

US Presswire photo
Stephen Strasburg departed after only three innings with "heat-related issues."
Game in a nutshell: The thermometer read 104 degrees at gametime, an all-time record in Atlanta, and that spelled trouble for Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals. Strasburg lasted only three innings before he had to be pulled with "heat-related issues," and that forced Davey Johnson into using struggling long reliever Chien-Ming Wang in what was at the time a 3-2 game. Wang immediately gave up four runs in two innings, leaving the Nats in a 7-2 deficit. To their credit, they chipped away and got back to within two runs thanks to RBI hits from Tyler Moore, Jesus Flores and Adam LaRoche. In the end, the Nationals simply couldn't make it all the way back.

Hitting highlight: LaRoche has been in something of a prolonged slump for more than a month, but perhaps this game will help him snap out of it. The veteran first baseman roped two doubles and also drew two walks, scoring two runs in the process. Michael Morse's resurgence will prompt Johnson to slide LaRoche down to the 5-hole against both right-handers and left-handers moving forward, but his ability to produce from that spot will be crucial and prevent opposing teams from pitching around Morse. Today's game might have been a step in the right direction.

Pitching lowlight: Though he didn't give up a run or a hit in his first two innings, Strasburg obviously was laboring from the get-go. He took plenty of time in between pitches, was sweating profusely through his jersey and was expending lots of energy. It finally caught up to him in the third when the Braves turned two walks and two doubles into three runs. Strasburg walked ever so slowly off the field and looked like he needed some quality time in the air-conditioned clubhouse, except he was due up third in the top of the fourth. Not wanting to even swing the bat, Strasburg nonetheless drew a walk and thus had to run the bases. By the time that all ended, he was cooked. Despite an animated conversation in the dugout, the right-hander was pulled with "heat-related issues," an unfortunate end to a frustratingly brief day.

Key stat: In their eight-year history, Nationals have played five games with the temperature at first pitch over 100 degrees. Three of them have come this week in Colorado and Atlanta.

Up next: The thermometer is expected to reach triple-digits again Sunday when the Nationals and Braves close out this series. Gio Gonzalez faces Tim Hudson at 1:35 p.m.

31 comments:

peric said...

Seemed pretty winnable were it not for the insistence on keeping Wang.

baseballswami said...

Bright spot? That's about 5 innings saved today. That could translate to one more start in September. It seems strange to me that we could score 10 runs and lose, or even 5 runs and lose. Most of the time that would win 2 games for our starters. I have two sons in the age range of Strassie. Many times they have tried to convince me that they were fine when they were playing with an injury. The trainers know the difference between overheated and medical danger signs. You just cannot mess with that kind of thing. Of course he thought he wanted to stay in. Young men are stupid. ( No Offense to anyone reading this) Again -- if he was going to stink it up, save the innings for later. The CMW experiment - ouch.

NatsLady said...

It's about time for the Dodgers to win a game. This is ridiculous.

peric said...

Bright spot? That's about 5 innings saved today.

I guess that is the bright side ... albeit I bet Davey wanted a couple more innings out of Wang ... as it is he had to go to Gorzo again. Then Gonzalez.

The Wang experiment needs to end before it does significant damage to the bullpen.

MicheleS said...

Amanda Comak‏@acomak

Davey said Strasburg was dizzy, breathing heavy and not talking well. Got 3 IVs of saline after.


Stras's health and the rest of the teams health is way more important than any W.

MicheleS said...

The Beats are tweeting like mad that Stras prepared for this heat. I am sure Mark will have more later.

DWS said...

Perhaps the bullpen is looking more palatable to John Lannan. Rizzo has to let go of his Wang. Oops.

NatsLady said...

Fredi outmanaged Davey on this one. Strategy was to get Stras out of there and get to Nats middle relief (and whether it was Gorzy or Wang, believe me, they had approximately equal chance to flub). It was not an accident that he walked Flores to get to Stras, nor that he walked Stras himself in the 3rd.

And a couple of other things later in the game, so even if we got a lead, Ank and Bernie were both unavailable for defense. Fredi learned from Friday's game.

Secret wasian man said...

I think we could have had a chance with Gorzo or (remember this guy) John Lannan. Wang is just a joke and needs to be released. Also we should be embarrassed to lose a guy do to crotch cream and now heat.

NatsLady said...

The sad part is yes, Wang will get released, the Twins will pick him up, and give him a chance, and hopefully we will not meet them in next year's WS.

m20832 said...

Got power back top of the 8th. Cooled down to see it was 7-5 with Harper flying out to Bourne. Next inning out big guns. Guess the heat had as much affect on them as it did me.

Get 'em tomorrow!!

GYFNG!!!

natsfan1a said...

Agreed.

Stras's health and the rest of the teams health is way more important than any W.

baseballswami said...

Strasburg seems to think he can just will his body to behave the same way he commands his fastball. It just doesn't work that way. I am sorry that he feels he let the team down. CMW let's the organization down, Strasburg doesn't because he is always giving his best. His body let him down today, which sometimes happens. The long innings and the baserunning did not leave much time for recovery and fluids. If he was not making sense, his bp was up, he was pale and he took three bags of fluids without going to the bathroom he was in serious trouble. I have taken a lot of first aid training and those are red flags.That was the first time I ever felt that Davey was scared. I have criticized him but it is obvious he cares for his guys and he did the right thing. Strassie could have skipped the interview but he manned up as usual. As for CMW -- Davey is starting to sound done with him. He is blocking a crucial spot in the roster. Not fair to the rest of them.

NatsLady said...

Swami, agree with everything except about CMW. He was trying to give his best, esp in the 5th I thought he almost had it, he looked focused and threw several good pitches. But it wasn't enough. Really, it was not that he wasn't trying. I agree Davey is done with him, it's sad, but true.

Secret wasian man said...

Yes, I luv these guys. I am not blaming Stras. I blame MLB for not moving this game back to 7:30. It just seems a shame to ruin things for the rest of the team by putting in CMW. Just as davey did a couple times with HROD. Its time for Lannan.

baseballswami said...

Nats lady -I know he is trying but he just continues to take from the nats with no change. Apparently players can agree to go to the minors to work things out but can't be forced. He needs to do the honorable thing and offer. As for game time, I believe espn or fox has a monopoly on times and there are contracts. It's a shame. Of course, ray knight had todo his snarky "in my day" thing. Sanctimonious.

rogieshan said...

I wouldn't give Fredi that much credit, NatsLady. Getting Strasburg out of the game is every manager's strategy. We were a clutch hit or two from blowing the score open and knocking Minor out early but failed to capitalize.

I understand Davey Johnson wanting to give his struggling players every opportunity to work things out, but it's pretty clear that Wang is even worse in the bullpen than he was as a starter. Good thing there are teams out there hurtin' for pitching. Hope we can recoup some of that investment.

realdealnats said...

I agree with you NatsLady. I think CMW is a very proud person, who has actually inspired a lot of the younger guys over the past few seasons just to get back to where he was in ST. Whether it was the ST accident covering 1B, or whether ST was just an illusion that he had the sinker really sinking hard it needs to be over now in this pennant race and to save a bullpen from carrying his load. But I don't think he let the organization down in the sense he didn't care or try or was a prima donna. He just isn't back yet. Maybe he will get there but not with us. But good luck to him.

Re: Drew--I'm sure he'll be fine, but he's going to have his own set of growing pains getting back in the groove and I hope they give him plenty of time on rehab assignment so he comes back strong and confident and not trying to find himself with serious games on the line. ]

Peric--why don't you give us your game plan for tomorrow, NOW, so we know what you would be doing as GM/Coach in another 100 degree+ day still with a tired BP. Do agree with you on Corey Brown, though, and did on Moore too.

Secret wasian man said...

Nats are best team in the east. We have to win this year. The golden goose is in front of us lets get it NOW not wait til next year. We are almost halfway home.

baseballswami said...

Whining. Why did we get the dodgers when they were dominating and the mets get them at their worst? Just awful. The Mets need to lose a game.

Secret wasian man said...

Yes, I am whining with you. Dodgers just awful lately

realdealnats said...

How many pitchers do we go with IN the playoffs? 4 or 5?

JaneB said...

We go with four in the playoffs. And one of them won't be Stras. I pray one of them won't be Wang...at least not the Wang of late.

It's not good for the players OR the fans to play the game in the heat of the day when the day is like this. It can't all be about money, all the time, can it? And that is not a rhetorical question.

SonnyG10 said...

I have to agree that Wang's time with us needs to be over. I cringe every time I see him warm up in the bull pen.

Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

How many pitchers do we go with IN the playoffs? 4 or 5?

Three, unless they win the first two or three games, then maybe a fourth for the seven-game series.

natsfan1a said...

Or one, if it's a wildcard play-in. :-)

realdealnats said...

So if we go with 4 starters at most then:
1) JZimm
2) Gio
3) EJax
4) Det
seem good enough to go with. Meaning don't trade the Rendons and the Goodwyns of the system for a Dempster or Garza or whomever. I actually think the focus of a pennant race and playoffs would bring out the best in Det, if he'd even need to be used as a starter. The rest seem good to go on that score. This way if the bats are "hitterish" we stand as good a chance as anyone to go all the way--and I've been feeling lucky all year--contrary to the doomsayers. But if the bats are not, then we have not decimated our prospects. If it were just a case of spending money and not talent, I'd say get Hamels! But that won't be the case, especially in a bidding war with Texas and the like.

realdealnats said...

Also the toughness and cohesion it would involve to go with who you got would be a great learning experience for this young core IMO.

Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

natsfan1a said...
Or one, if it's a wildcard play-in. :-)

Well, there's that. Good point.

Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

Re Garza: "One American League executive says the Cubs are basing their asking price for Matt Garza on last summer’s Ubaldo Jimenez deal. This means it’ll take two controllable, young players with upside to pry the right-hander away from Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein." (MLBTR) I think someone mentioned during yesterday's broadcast that the Cubs are packaging Soriano with him--You want Garza, you have to take Soriano AND his contract, too. Just a rumor, but that would kill the deal for me.

Soul Possession, My Gorsehacken Sofa said...

Which, if accurate, would be more like Rendon AND (not OR) Goodwyn, assuming the trade didn't take place until Rendon was tradeable, which he isn't yet, per the CBA.

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