Saturday, July 7, 2012

Colvin's 2 HRs lead Rockies over Strasburg, Nats

Photo by US-Presswire
After leaving a game early amidst extreme heat last week in Atlanta, Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals took precaution on Friday night against the Colorado Rockies. He drank more fluids before taking the mound and even received an IV to battle the evening of another hot and humid day. But though Strasburg lasted longer this time around, he labored through six innings and took his third consecutive loss in the Rockies’ 5-1 victory over the Nationals.

Strasburg posted another quality start against Colorado with just two earned runs, but threw 107 pitches and allowed eight hits along the way. Rockies first baseman Tyler Colvin was the main beneficiary of a few mistakes magnified by two home runs. Colvin took Strasburg deep in the second inning for a solo homer and knocked a two-run shot in the fourth.

Colvin hit the first one off a 97 mile per hour fastball into the upper deck in right field.

“It was just a dumb pitch,” Strasburg said. “When you got a guy with some power up there that is the last thing you want to do is try and throw and elevated fastball and miss down in the zone a little bit, right in the swing point. You just got to learn from it.”

The homer actually counted as an unearned run as Colvin should have already been out. Earlier in the count he hit a fly ball behind home plate that Jesus Flores was able to get under. Flores tried to catch it under hand and the ball just popped out of his glove.

In the fourth inning Carlos Gonzalez led off with a five-pitch walk and then made it to second on a Michael Cuddyer groundout to Ryan Zimmerman. Next up was Colvin who fouled off four pitches before getting a piece of the ninth, a two-run line drive that landed just inches over the right field scoreboard.

“The second one was a changeup. With a free base open I didn’t want to walk him and I just caught too much of the plate. With the way the ball has been flying out here he got it just well enough to get it over the wall,” Strasburg said.

Overall, Strasburg’s outing was enough to keep the Nationals in the game, especially with how they had been hitting of late. But on the mound for Colorado was former 5th overall pick Drew Pomeranz and seeing him for the first time was a tough challenge for the Nationals’ lineup.

Pomeranz left the game after 6 1/3 innings despite allowing just one hit and keeping the Nats scoreless. He could have been riding a no-hitter if it weren’t for a Bryce Harper bloop single in the fourth inning that shortstop Jonathan Herrera misplayed.

Pomeranz threw just 81 pitches on the night with 74 of those fastballs. It was something the Nationals knew was coming, but just couldn’t figure out.

“He is lefty, good velocity, and was getting it in there on the righties. The pitches we did get we popped them up or fouled the off,” Adam LaRoche said. “We got to take advantage of the fastball and we couldn’t get on it. He had something on us for sure.”

“He pounded the zone, he was going after us and just beat us,” Ian Desmond said. “We just have to go and move on. I think we will all be dreaming about fastballs tonight.”

The Rockies' Dexter Fowler hit a solo home run off Strasburg's replacement Tom Gorzelanny in the seventh inning for their fourth run of the game and Michael Cuddyer hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth for their fifth. The Nationals had just one hit through seven innings and two entering the ninth, but they did mount a late rally that for a moment seemed a carryover of their recent sweep of San Francisco.

Ryan Zimmerman led off against reliever Rex Brothers and took a 1-1 fastball for a home run that nearly hit the Red Porch in left field. Michael Morse continued the rally with a line drive double into right and Adam LaRoche then shanked a single to right field to move Morse to third. But even with first and third and no outs, the Nationals fell short with three straight outs capped by a Jesus Flores’ flyout to end the game.

The Nationals’ loss ended a four-game winning streak and brought them to a record of 48-33 at the season’s true halfway point. They have two more games against the Rockies before taking rest for the MLB All-Star Break.

Strasburg’s first half is now over, but after a string of rough starts he will have a lot to think about during the break.

“It’s going to be a fun experience but in no means am I satisfied. I just have to talk to [Steve McCatty] tomorrow and try and learn as much as I can from this,” he said.

“All I can really think of is two pitches and I don’t think they were the right pitches to throw in that situation and I didn’t have the right mindset. It should be an easy fix.”

50 comments:

Adamnational said...

Trade him to The Anchorage Caribous? Bikram yoga training? Slush Puppies between innings?

dcdingo said...

Mmmmm. 103 degrees, 4.05 pm start. I hope no one gets heatstroke. A few more summers like this and I predict MLB will have a heat policy. I know, TV etc blah blah. Probably take a tragedy to change things. Take care players and fans.

ehay2k said...

Tough game, Stras looked tired. (Everyone looked a little flat) Hope that despite pitching in the ASG, he recharges a little during the next week. Was thinking the ninth inning rally might happen again, but it was not to be. OTOH, didn't it seem like the Rox used a lot of their bullpen, or is that normal for them given their SP pitch limit? I'm just wondering what impact that may have for these next two games.

Morse in RF seems to be quite the defensive liability in terms of both arm and range. DeRosa is a downgrade, however, so our options are limited. Maybe we bring up Brown, put him in CF, Morse in LF, and Harper in RF? Nady could be let go. Or what about Shark in CF instead of Brown? He's hitting better these days. Just looking for a tweak - I know we're in first place and all.


As for today's start time, yet again, FOX screws us. MLB has to kill that contract. Their announcers are terrible anyway.

NatsLady said...

Had a bit of bad luck that Bernie's shot didn't drop for a single, it was really blasted. Of course, then I would have been REALLY mad at Gorzy instead of just mildly mad at him for leaking runs every other appearance.

NatsLady said...

That is for sure on Moore + Morse in the outfield. I don't know if Morse was hurting or what, but there was no hustle at all until he made two good plays late in the game. Almost as if he took some meds and they kicked in (and then he had the hit in the 9th). Really do NOT want to see Morse back on the DL! DeRosa wasn't good in RF either.

Davey didn't seem to think Pomeranz was the next coming of Justin Verlander--he said he was hittable and our boys were just "inexperienced", but (a) the kid was a first round draft pick and (b) RZ, ALR, Morse, Desi? The kid was pitching well and they hadn't seen him before, maybe not a lot of video on him.

natsfan1a said...

Some veteran leadership for the young White Sox bullpen. I don't care who you are, that's funny. :-)

NatsLady said...

P.S. Do not take your dogs to Pups in the Park. Phil Wood said you can use the ticket for a human being and the Nats will still make the donation to the Humane Society.

Kirbs said...

The question is, is it the heat getting to Stras or is it hitting a Tommy John wall. And all the TV people wanna crush the nats for shutting him down.....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

When I used the words a couple of days ago about trades like the CC Sabathia trade to the Brewers from the Indians and costing you top prospects, I wasn't even thinking of the Ubaldo Jiminez deal from Colorado costing the Indians Drew Pomeranz and Alex White and others.

That kid pitched in the same heat as Strasburg and against the hottest team in baseball and sawed them off like they were swinging balsa wood.

I had a great seat behind homeplate to witness this. Pomeranz had late movement on his fastball and that made the difference the whole night. My only criticism of the hitters was that so many were swinging at the 1st pitch or 1st strike like they were in a hurry. This played right into the Rockies hands on this night. Pomeranz easily could have had a no-hitter if Bryce's blooper didn't find grass. His pitch count was still in the 70's when he completed his 6th inning.

Then you got Strasburg who looked sharp in the 1st inning and then got off focus on the dropped foul pop by Flores. What a shame. Stras and Flores never seemed to get on the same page after that. Just poor pitch selection and location as if they both forgot their scouting reports after that. I'd swear Strasburg hit the mitt where it was set up for Colvin's 1st HR although this quote said he missed the location unless this was about the 2nd HR. “It was just a dumb pitch,” Strasburg said. “When you got a guy with some power up there that is the last thing you want to do is try and throw and elevated fastball and miss down in the zone a little bit, right in the swing point. You just got to learn from it.”

Strasburg is now on 3 bad starts and this could have been much worse. If Stras didn't get some well needed DPs, it would have looked like a blow-out.

Turn the page and make Saturday a better day.

natsfan1a said...

From the Department of Could Be Worse: at least we don't have to tool around in the Cubs model vehicle this season.

baseballswami said...

Stras needs this all star break - not like he will be making full starts, an inning or two. He is still a very young, inexperienced pitcher. Little things get to him, like the defensive mis-plays or like ( fill in the blank here) things that have happened before. I am not at all worried about him being shut down because I feel that , at that point, he will have nothing left in the tank anyway. A rare clunker from the offense last night. I seriously think Morse's hamstring hurts but he will gut it out until after the break. He has not previously been a liability out there. As for Moore - he is a good 1B and is doing his best in the outfield. Lombo has learned it quicker and is good at lead off. It is going to be ridiculously hot today and tomorrow - not just Ray Knight " in my day " kind of hot - but record-breaking hot. I agree that this Fox contract is crap. I just hate it. Tomorrow, though? Yikes - 1:30. JZim will just have the same facial expression, of course. And both teams have to deal with it. I think the catchers and umpires have it equally as bad. Two more days, boys, then you get a break. Nice that they finish at home.

SCNatsFan said...

You cannot beat Tyler Colvin you can only hope to contain him

NatsLady said...

This is what JZ learned last year, in addition to recovering from TJ. You cannot let that stuff get to out, and Stras clearly did. Then his pitch count went up due to hitters fouling off stuff, so you knew he didn't have his good "out pitch(es)" to knock 'em out when he got 2 strikes on them.

Stras will be a great pitcher, but he's not there yet. Guys are going to drop fly balls in the Bermuda triangle, it's going to rain, be hot, the umps will mess with ya, etc. etc.

Also, regarding Flores, there was some mumbling that pitchers really liked Ramos and some questioning of Flores' "work ethic" a while back. I don't know what that means, does that mean scouting/pitch selection, or does that mean on-field. Or does that mean nothing?

mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mick said...

FP forgot to include Chad Tracy when he said how lucky the Nats are in getting Werth and Storen back. His point is well taken, no reason to make any trades, other than for a starting pitcher which brings me to this... Is both Lannan and wang the replacement for Strass when they shut him down??

mick said...

Nats lady,,, Flores is solid all around, I don't know how any one could criticize the games he calls

personally, I think the Nats have a sleeper star in Solodano, he needs to play more

mick said...

In fact, Flores may be the reason that Gorzo does not give up more than 1 run every time he pitches

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Stras gave up a lousy 2 ERs. Maybe we should keep him around.

Joyce was squeezing the zone, not calling some of Stras' best pitches that were low and on the black, but giving Pomeranz high strikes and widening the zone for him up to 6 inches on the side where his FB/cutter broke (inside for RHs, outside for LHs). The called strike on ALR (in the 7th, I think) was at least 6 inches off the plate - not even close. The only thing you can say about Joyce is that's the way he called them the whole game. By the time he punched out ALR, they weren't even arguing any more.

Strasburg had some words with Joyce between innings, and I imagine he discussed Joyce's strike zone.

Anyway, you can't win 'em all. The Nats have Alex Meyer in the Futures Game tomorrow, the only Nat prospect to make it, even though they have some other interesting young prospects in the minors, like Brian Goodwin at Hagerstown. We all know about him, but they've also got a lefty power guy (Matt Skole) who has 20 HRs with, count 'em, 77 walks in 81 games, giving him an OBP of around .430. He also has 93 Ks, too, but those are some impressive stats. But he can't play D (3rd baseman) worth a lick.

Billy Burns (LF next to Goodwin in CF) is kind of under the radar, but the kid looks like the prototype of a contact lead-off hitter. He's hitting .313, but has 40 BBs to go with only 42Ks for an OBP of .427 and, get this, 31 steals in 33 attempts. No power, though, but speedy enough to leg out a respectable number of 2B and 3B hits.

Keep your eyes on Skole and Burns, as well as Goodwin. All 3 were signed just last year, and this is their first full year in the system. It's only half a season at low single A, but all are worthy of note.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady said...

Also, regarding Flores, there was some mumbling that pitchers really liked Ramos and some questioning of Flores' "work ethic" a while back. I don't know what that means, does that mean scouting/pitch selection, or does that mean on-field. Or does that mean nothing?

July 07, 2012 9:25 AM


Not sure about "work ethic" as much as he has been described to me as "low energy". Not even sure what that means and yes, pitchers have talked to Davey early in the season and wanted Ramos as their battery-mate. Davey said in an interview earlier this season that on his team there won't be set battery-mates.

I said a few days ago that Solano needs 2 days a week just to see what we have there. From there Davey and Cat can figure out what they really have with Solano. Solano's last 3 starts were all wins which was a good reverse of his earlier record.

I was really frustrated watching the game get away from Strasburg. He lost focus after that dropped foul popup and never really got it back. Stephen is such a perfectionist. What could have been!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Laddie, good point as it did look like Stras got squeezed. I am still hearing Jim Joyce's STRI-EEEEK rattling in my head.

Joe Seamhead said...

Well, NatsLady, generally I have thought Flores' hustles hard, but last night was an exception. The trying to catch the pop foul underhanded was just flat out poor form. He had plenty of time to turn his back to the field and catch it over head like he is supposed to. Later he hit a routine grounder to short and barely went through the motions of running to first, only to end up reaching safely anyway because of an error on the Rockies.He needs a lecture from Harper on how to play the game. A couple more games, and efforts,like last night and he will play himself to the pine.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Also, Joyce was getting razz'd from people sitting behind the plate. I haven't checked pitch-track to see how the umpiring really was and I will do that shortly.

MicheleS said...

So I was at the game in the lower bowl last night and it was OPPRESIVELY HOT. I was there on Thursday and it wasn't nearly as bad (there was a breeze), so the crowd definitely have an excuse for being tired. It was pretty brutal.

They all need a break and yes it was a stinker, but today is a new day, we are still 4.5 up on everyone else.

Good to see that Ryan/Adam Pick was the #1 on Sportscenter. I was wearing my ALR shersey last night.. it's out of the rotation for awhile. Didn't bring us any luck.

PS.. CHASE.. thanks for filling in!!!!

PSS.. Mark.. eat lost of good BBQ in KC.. Glad you are getting to go!!

PSSS..Thanks CSN Boss for sending Mark to KC!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=544931&game=gid_2012_07_06_colmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=0&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

Pitch track has Joyce missing 2 strikes but Stras was given 4 strike calls out of the zone which means Stras was actually helped out by the Ump.

JamesFan said...

Going after Flores after one loss is rediculous. For starters, try 300 deep knee bends in consecutive days of 95 degree heat sometime. Then figure in the pressure of calling a game, hitting, running bases and throwing. This guy has been a workhorse and a steady performer. Stras gave up 2 ER in six; we were beaten by a better pitcher and some timely hitting last night, and frankly, the whole team was in a funk after winning three from the Giants. I hope they snap out of funk before the AS game, but no guarantees.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS, "eat lost" or "eat lots"? LOL

MicheleS said...

Ghost.. DANG AUTO CORRECT!!

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JamesFan, nobody is attacking Flores. Nobody is pegging the loss on him. Also, this isn't the first, 2nd or 3rd time his catching ability has been called into question.

He has the golden opportunity to do what Clip has done to Storen, take advantage of an injury. Let's just saying Flores isn't seizing the opportunity before him.

Both teams are playing in the same heat and the Nats are the home team.

AndesAngle said...

Im not worried about Strasburg. He will be fine.

Im more worried about the passive fans at Nats Park. This Rockies fan was chanting "Let's Go Rockies!" I attempted to shout him down with "Let's Go Nats!" Noone joined me. Just stared at me. Embarrassing!

I told him "Cheer for your team but don't start a chant in my park."

It would have been nice to have some backup.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I checked Pomeranz's Pitch F/X. He had 1 strike called a ball and 4 balls called a strike.

No real discernable difference in the true K Zone between the 2 pitchers as Pitch F/X would call that a well called game with slight advantage to the pitcher.

baseballswami said...

Everyone was on Ramos for not blocking pitches, Flores had done a good job. It has got to be tough to catch these hard- throwing guys- HRod for one. I think in this heat , with Solano being high energy and playing well, maybe he should be catching 2 of 5 ?

Section 135 said...

On Pomeranz. He did not throw one breaking ball for a strike. After a few tries he basically threw fastballs and sinkers the rest of the night. You would think the team would recognize this since I was able to see it from the stands. Maybe he was deceptive, but you think major league hitter could hit a fastball when they knew it was coming, but they still seemed late on everything. I wouldn't annout him yet though, because he is basically a one pitch guy right now.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Ghost

"Pitch track has Joyce missing 2 strikes but Stras was given 4 strike calls out of the zone which means Stras was actually helped out by the Ump."

And how many strikes did Joyce give to Pomeranz that were out of the zone, especially wide to Pomeranz's breaking cutter? The Nats' righties were hitting it off the label all night. Fooled, no doubt, when they did, but called for a strike by Joyce when they weren't, and laid off.

As for Flores, I can't speak to his relationship with the staff, but he has been far better than Ramos at blocking those pitches in the dirt, and much, much better at throwing out runners at 2nd, where Ramos, I swear, threw more balls into CF than he got POs at 2nd. And then there were the 3-4 POs at home plate that Ramos converted into instant runs for the other guys by simply dropping the ball after making the tag, or simply dropping the throw-in before even attempting a tag.

He was embarrassing, actually, and his poor performance off of last year's sterling play led me to conclude that he was playing with a damaged knee long before the ligament finally snapped and put him on DL. He cannot possibly be as bad as he showed early this year, when he is healthy.

We are lucky to have Flores and Ramos to fill in.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

That should have been, of course "We are lucky to have Flores and Solano to fill in."

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Section 135

Pomeranz's FB has a cutter break to it, that comes in on a RH hitter at the last second, or outside to a LH hitter. The lefties were missing it, and the righties were hitting it off their hands. He throws mostly FBs, but virtually all of them have that cutter break, at the last. It seemed to me that Joyce was making his calls on where he saw the ball before the break, and not on where it actually was as it broke off the plate at the last split second. I think the umps will adjust when they realize what is going on.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Ghost

"No real discernable difference in the true K Zone between the 2 pitchers as Pitch F/X would call that a well called game with slight advantage to the pitcher."

Thanks for the info. Both Joyce and Pomeranz did better than I thought.

NatsNut said...

1a, great link to the White Sox bullpen video. That's hilarious and adorable! =)

NatsLady said...

No one is putting the loss on Flores, period. We are just making observations. Catching is the toughest job in baseball. Pitchers get pulled out of the game when they are tired or not on their game, catchers don't. Flores and Ramos both have strengths and weaknesses, we are just trying to be objective--if that is possible--as outsiders.

I repeat my previous suggestion: they should start the game and then have a "heat delay" for about 3 hours. Fans hang in the concourse or just arrive late. All teams with a 4:05 start should do that for a few Saturdays. That will take care of Fox.

Late afternoon start is WORSE than 1 pm. start because the heat and sun have baked the air and ground all day. The CBA allows for 4 starts per year before noon. Maybe they should consider that also, for example on a Friday or Tuesday after an off-day.

baseballswami said...

I asked this the other day but there was lots of other stuff going on - has anyone noticed whether or not the pitchers are calling their own games? I think JZim has started to do that with both catchers now. I think they like having the catchers call the games because it keeps the pace of the game up. Ultimately, though, the result of that pitch is on the pitcher, not the catcher. I have heard Gio say that Flo called a good game, etc. I don't know if they each make their own choice about it, if they let Flo call but not Solano? I am going to try to pay more attention to it because I am kind of interested at this point. It's hard to watch within the context of the game. Pretty sure that JZim is the only one shaking his head on every pitch at this point. You can tell, because if the catcher is calling the pitches, they put down one sign and get one nod. If the pitcher is calling it , there will be more than one sign and more than one nod on most pitches. It does take longer, but the catching carousel this season does make it seem less likely that the catcher would be the best judge of sequences. I really wish I could ask McCatty this question!

NatsLady said...

Gio==> don't be a hero! Take an IV before the game, don't run the bases, come out after 5 or 6 innings.

NatsLady said...

Clip calls his own game. That's the most obvious one to me. The other relievers seem to go with the catcher who has been close to the hitters all game.

baseballswami said...

NatLady - agreed. And what about the catchers? Shouldn't we be concerned about them, too - they go day after day in that gear? JZim at 1:30 in the afternoon tomorrow,too. And he grew up pitching in the snow. I don't care what Ray Knight says - this is not the same as back when they played, this is record-breaking.

NatsLady said...

It's hard to track because the video is not always showing the pitcher. I wish there was a place you could get all the camera angles. They used to do that on MLB.tv, but haven't seen that option this year.

NatsLady said...

swami--100% agree, didn't mean to omit the catchers. Haven't read if they take IV's or other precautions, but I sure hope they do!

baseballswami said...

NatsLady - You are correct that clip is the most obvious one. He knows what he wants to do and is smart enough and experienced enough to be secure with that. Every time I tell myself to pay attention to it, I get caught up in the game and forget. Maybe I will ask mark sometime.

NatsLady said...

Our old buddy, Doug Slaten has been optioned to AAA. Good non-tender, Mike!

peric said...

Flores offense is dropping and drooping. He needs more of a break in the 2nd half. Davey has to play Solano more (he is more agile, athletic and has more energy anyway) in the 2nd half if he doesn't want to create a Pudge-like hole in the #8 spot.

peric said...

I don't know if Morse was hurting or what, but there was no hustle at all until he made two good plays late in the game.

Morse is definitely hurting ... he has better range than that. He looked like he was 40+ years old or Adam Dunn. Have to see if the break helps but I suspect the best thing to do is to put Morse back on the DL to rest the hamstring. Not sure why Davey doesn't do that; they can use Tyler Moore instead and put Bernadina out there. He appears to be getting hot.

Might as well get used to it Natslady because when Werth comes back there will be an enormous hole in the #6 spot (please Davey don't swap him with Desmond!) and I am betting his fielding will be subpar. You are going to wish for Morse there.

NatsNutty said...

If anyone at the game is really on fire, try the "cooling stations" around the park. My girlfriend and I sneaked into an empty cooling station at the end of the game Thursday night while we waited for the crowd to filter out. It was nice and cool, and they even have CCTV to watch the game while you're cooling off. The one we found was right outside the escalator on the second level near Section 201.

baseballswami said...

If you think the pitchers are beat, I would imagine Flores is, too. I see no reason why the younger,more energetic catcher can't play just a little bit more. It doesn't appear that the pitchers are having any overt problems with him. Morse- use his bat and then replace him with " I might just hit one" Ankiel or Bernie, who is underused , considering his speed, defense and clutch hitting off the bench. Actually in these last two games before the break it should probably be little league style ball where everyone gets in the game at some point. Maybe a player with a little bit less skill ( not a lot of that on our team , actually) is still better in later innings because he is fresher. We don't really have guys who come in and hurt us all that much. Ankiel is good defensively and occasionally hits one out, all the others can hold their own.

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