Saturday, September 17, 2011

Game 150: Marlins at Nats

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg makes his third start of the season tonight.
Tonight marks the 15th start of Stephen Strasburg's big-league career, a small sample of outings that has seen the right-hander face 13 different opponents. In fact, there's only franchise that has gone up against Strasburg more than once: the Marlins, who tonight see him for the third time.

Interestingly enough, Strasburg has already enjoyed both significant success (six scoreless innings) and endured a significant beating (six runs in 4 1/3 innings) against Florida. Not that the current incarnation of the Marlins looks like the one that faced him in 2010; only Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison have batted against him before tonight.

We'll have to see if Davey Johnson lets his prize right-hander go a bit deeper in this game than he has his first two starts of the season. I suspect Strasburg's pitch limit will be roughly 70, so if he can be a bit more efficient than his last time out, he should be able to get into the fifth inning.

Plenty of updates to come, so please check back...

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 186
Weather: Partly cloudy, 66 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from RF
SS Ian Desmond
RF Roger Bernadina
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse
CF Jayson Werth
2B Danny Espinosa
1B Chris Marrero
C Wilson Ramos
P Stephen Strasburg

MARLINS (68-83)
SS Emilio Bonifacio
2B Omar Infante
RF Mike Stanton
LF Logan Morrison
1B Gaby Sanchez
CF Bryan Petersen
C John Buck
3B Matt Dominguez
P Chris Volstad
7:08 p.m. -- We are underway with a 97 mph fastball from Stephen Strasburg to Emilio Bonifacio. It's a chilly, overcast night (61 degrees) and Strasburg is wearing long sleeves for what I believe is the first time in the big leagues.

7:13 p.m. -- OK, can we please dispense with the "Is Strasburg still injured" talk finally? He just mowed down the Marlins in the top of the first on 13 pitches, 12 of them fastballs, all of them at least 97 mph, the last a 99 mph heater past a flailing Mike Stanton. That should put to rest any doubt about the state of his right arm.

7:17 p.m. -- Tough way for the bottom of the first to begin. Ian Desmond swings at Chris Volstad's first pitch and sends a grounder up the middle. He beats Bonifacio's wild throw to first but then takes one step toward second base before turning back and then getting tagged by catcher John Buck (who really hustled down the line to retrieve the ball under just such a scenario). You don't see that happen too often, but it was absolutely the right call. Tough break for Desmond. Scoreless after one.

7:28 p.m. -- Strasburg served up a couple of singles in the top of the second, but nothing to worry about. He got Matt Dominguez to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning. Through two scoreless innings, he's at 29 pitches (19 strikes). He's only thrown four offspeed pitches so far: three curveballs and one changeup.

7:35 p.m. -- A big chance for Strasburg to help his own cause in the bottom of the second after the Marlins intentionally walked Wilson Ramos to load the bases for the big guy ... who then struck out hacking at three pitches. Not so good. It remains scoreless here through two.

7:43 p.m. -- Chris Volstad owns Stephen Strasburg (doubled off the center-field wall and scored later on Omar Infante's sac fly). Mike Stanton, on the other hand, can't touch the big guy. He's seen six pitches tonight, all of them strikes. Fouled off one, took two, swung and missed at three. Impressive. Marlins lead 1-0. Strasburg at 37 pitches, 27 strikes.

7:50 p.m. -- Another baserunning blunder, this time from Roger Bernadina, who gets picked off first after nearly grounding into a double play. Five of the Nats' first 12 batters have reached safely tonight. None have scored. Still 1-0 after three.

7:58 p.m. -- Boy, is Strasburg pounding the strike zone tonight, or what? He just retired the side in the fourth on 11 pitches. Through four innings, he's at 48 pitches. And over the last two innings, he's thrown 17 of 19 pitches for strikes. That, my friends, is efficiency. If only the Nats could score him a run. Still 1-0 in the middle of the fourth.

8:10 p.m. -- I'd like to say I'm confident the Nationals will score a run before this series is over. But I'm really not confident enough to say that. Thirteen scoreless innings and counting.

8:15 p.m. -- That right there, everyone, was a five-pitch inning from Mr. Strasburg. He's at a mere 53 pitches through five innings. Twenty-one of his last 24 pitches have been strikes. Suffice it to say, he'll be back out for the sixth tonight.

8:17 p.m. -- Like I said, I was totally confident the Nats would score in this series. Wilson Ramos takes the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth into the Red Porch. It's 1-1 on Ramos' 13th homer of the season.

8:26 p.m. -- Another quick inning for Strasburg, who cruises through the top of the sixth on only eight pitches. He's completed six innings now on only 61 pitches (45 strikes). Davey Johnson said this afternoon he can go over 70 pitches tonight. Is there another inning in the works? Perhaps not as Henry Rodriguez begins to warm up and Strasburg gets handshakes in the dugout. His final line: 6 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 0 bb, 3 k. He has yet to walk a batter in three starts.

8:31 p.m. -- Strasburg's total pitching line through three games: 14 ip, 9 h, 2 r, 0 bb, 11 k. Does an 0.64 WHIP work for you?

8:46 p.m. -- A scoreless inning of relief from Henry Rodriguez. And tonight's paid attendance: 33,247. Largest of the year to see Strasburg. Still 1-1 as we go to the eighth.

8:56 p.m. -- A scoreless inning of relief from Todd Coffey, so it remains 1-1 heading to the bottom of the eighth, as the Marlins finally turn to their bullpen. One more staggering Strasburg fact: Dating back to last season, he has not issued a walk to any of the last 96 major-league batters he's faced. (And yes, members of the Astros lineup do count as major-leaguers.)

9:02 p.m. -- Hmm, someone is going to need to score again before this game can end. We can only hope that happens without this game going to extra innings. Drew Storen entering from the pen to pitch the top of the ninth of a 1-1 game.

9:11 p.m. -- Big 1-2-3 top of the ninth from Storen, punctuated by strikeouts of Stanton and Morrison. Strasburg and Storen have just pitched brilliantly to Stanton tonight: He's 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a groundout, and he's swung and missed five times. that's impressive. We go to the bottom of the ninth. It'll be Morse, Werth and Espinosa against Edward Mujica.

9:20 p.m. -- Wow, fantastic catch from Logan Morrison down the left-field line, slamming into the wall, to send this game to extra innings. He appeared to be injured at first, but he walked off under his own power. We go to the 10th, Sean Burnett now pitching in a 1-1 game.

9:28 p.m. -- Burnett escapes a self-made jam -- he inexplicably didn't get Sanchez in a rundown when he had a chance -- so we go to the bottom of the 10th. Hmm, this would be a nice time for Chris Marrero's first career homer, wouldn't it?

9:35 p.m. -- Let's go to the 11th. Collin Balester in from the bullpen.

9:41 p.m. -- Add Balester to the list of Nats pitchers who have blown away Mike Stanton tonight. Wow, 0-for-5 with 4 K's.

9:50 p.m. -- Oh, man, was that disappointing or what? With Desmond on third and one out, the Marlins intentionally walked Zimmerman to get to Morse. Golden opportunity. Except Morse bounced into a 4-6-3 double play on the first pitch he saw, stunning the crowd. We go to the 12th.

9:58 p.m. -- What a job by the Nationals bullpen, which has now tossed 24 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run.

10:06 p.m. -- Clay Hensley strikes out the side. We go to the 13th. Woo-hoo.

10:14 p.m. -- So ends the bullpen scoreless streak. Donnie Murphy with a 2-run homer off Balester. It's 3-1 Marlins. On the bright side, the Phillies just clinched the NL East title again. So at least the Nats won't have to watch them celebrate in person for the fourth time in five years.

10:20 p.m. -- Make it 4-1 as Balester is getting crushed in his third inning of relief. By the way, there are still six available pitchers in the bullpen who have not been used tonight: Gorzelanny, Severino, Slaten, Clippard, Maya and Stammen. Plus, in an emergency, Livo.

10:29 p.m. -- That'll do it. The Nationals lose another one against the Marlins, this time by a score of 4-1. They're now 18-49 vs. Florida since 2008.


Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Happy Strasmas to all. And to all a good night.

And, of course, GYFNG!!!

NatStat said...

The Beast is back!

Looking forward to him putting The Hammer down on a HR ball!

CBinDC said...

Well see you all that can be seen at the ball park tonight off to Metro I go GYFNG

NatsLady said...

It can't possibly be game 150. Off to the game, will be in sec 230 tonight.

Drew8 said...

While we wait... With the emergence of Peacock and Milone, it's interesting to look back at the Nats' drafts and note the talent they've found in later rounds.

Weeding out the busts and including some still-promising prospects, which years do you like best? It sure seems like they've had three dynamite classes in a row.


Tyler Moore

Burgess (dealt for Gorzy)
J. Zimmermann
Brad Meyers

Crow (unsigned)
T. Moore (again)

A.J. Morris (dealt for Gorzo)
Taylor Jordan
Danny Rosenbaum

Hague (injured)
A.J. Cole
Kevin Keyes
Robbie Ray

2011 (top six picks)

Drew8 said...

NatStat said...

The Beast is back!

Stone cold sober, as a matter of fact....

Anonymous said...

In 2 weeks my heart will be heavy

Anonymous said...

I always thought the 06 draft was a weak draft. Drew8 Can you tell us a little about Arnesen? I don't remember ever hearing his name? What is his story?

Anonymous said...

Erik Arnesen Stats:
Year Team Lea W L ERA
2010 HAR EAS 2 2 2.81
2010 SYR INT 6 8 3.95
2010 Minors 8 10 3.63
2011 HAR EAS 8 4 2.43
2011 SYR INT 0 2 3.57
2011 Minors 8 6 2.57


Anonymous said...

Its interesting that Arneson isn't going to the AFL even as a backup. He did have a breakout year.

Anonymous said...

It'll be interesting to see where they fit LaRoche, Marerro, Rendon, Morse and Harper. Davey appears to have pretty much verified what I saw in his moves. Your outfield will have Werth in CF with two guys TBD to his left and right. And those two look to be Morse and Harper unless trades are made in the offseason. And then there's the infield where Rendon would be a wasted glove moving him to the outfield ... so ...

Its going to be interesting ...

Dave said...

What makes you think Harper starts the year with the big club? Most pundits I've read/heard say that the Nats play to start him off in Syracuse next year.

Anonymous said...

Erik Arnesen had 3 spot starts for Syracuse 1 in April and 2 in June. In Harrisburg, worked both out of the bullpen 10 games and started 16 games.
08/15/2011 EAS Pitcher of the Week
07/12/2011 EAS Mid-Season All-Star


NatsLady said...

OK, we got 3rd (Mets lost). Let's keep it that way. Go Nats!!!!o Nats!!!!

Anonymous said...

Can someone (Mark!?) please ask about the abysmal radio deal? Luckily I have Gameday Audio because 1500AM has the Navy football game and 106.7FM has Virginia Tech. I mean, I love college football, but you would think ONE of those stations would have the Nats....especially Strasburg....

natsfan1a said...

Let's hook some fish tonight, fellas!

Dave said...

Strassy puts 'em down nicely in the first. As soon as somebody gets a run on the board, I'll feel good about this one.

Too bad about that first out, Desi.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think Harper starts the year with the big club? Most pundits I've read/heard say that the Nats play to start him off in Syracuse next year.

Brand new manager, NO MORE respect the veterans, respect the game, "smart small ball". "Veterans must play or you'll lose them".


Speaking about Marerro and Morse ... suddenly Bryce Harper enters the picture:

"I'm trying to let the picture become clearer by what he does this year," Johnson said. "I think if you would have asked the general manager without the opportunity for him to play this year, he would probably say to you, 'I want him to go back and play every day. He's a young player.' But given the fact he's come up here and been successful, the new manager, the GM, will probably think, 'You know, he could be that complement to Adam LaRoche if he can't go, or if it's a tough left-hander.' It wouldn't be bad to have a guy that's proven he can handle it up here, even if he's 18 years old. Well, he's not 18. He's 23. Get the picture?"

Knoxville Nat said...

I'm thinking that Harper will be starting out at Harrisburg next year given the Nats philosophy of wanting to see him dominate at one level before moving him up to the next. If he has a strong start there like he did in Hagerstown than maybe he moves up to the 'Cuse around June. I'm not sold that he will be with the Nats in June 2012 just yet.

jd said...

Harper is not starting in DC in April; probably Harrisburg a level he did not dominate by any means. September at the earliest IMO.

baseballswami said...

Harper is NOT ready for the big leagues yet in oh so many ways. Maybe next year at this time. I am also looking at the calendar with sadness, but I am also starting to check in on the pennant races to see what's up for the post- season. I have already been wondering how I will deal with it mentally and emotionally when we are in the race. I am used to there not being any pressure and need to step up my mental game!

Drew8 said...

Ian Desmond walks! I don't believe what I just saw!

(Attaboy Ian.)

gonatsgo said...

Other teams use the bunt over, sac fly the run in so much more and better than we do. Believe me, I get the whole not giving up outs mentality. But low-scoring teams like us really should use it sometimes to scrap out a run. I am not saying every time someone is on base. But sometimes? Waiting for the big inning just doesn't work all that much for us.

Anonymous said...

I got it Drew8 -

I'm a beast, I'm a beast
Cause I'm better than you
It's the way that I move
The things that I do

SCNatsFan said...

C'mon Nats bats, wake up already. Even with SS pitching the lack of offense and boneheaded baserunning is making this difficult to watch.

baseballswami said...

And, after a brief shining few days in New York City - we are back to same old, same old.

Navy Nats Fan said...

Oh by the way, SCNATSFAN -

Navy 21 - SC 17 at the end of the 3rd.

Looks to be an exciting finish!

Drew8 said...

I can't do this again.

Hamlet to hapless.

I'm finding a movie until the car wreck kid is gone.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Do my ears deceive me or did I just hear Carp exclaim: "Good inning for MPH-Rod."

WPH-Rod would be more like it, Carp.

MikeD said...

Crap I'm in FLA and the locals are not covering the game, and MASN is blacked out here, so I have to watch the game on the MLB Game Mix on Direct TV, one of eight small squares.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Sunshine @ 8:43 p.m.,

Yes, you did hear him say that. And did I just hear him suggest that Georgetown University (and, by extension, Georgetown the area) was somehow named after George Washington?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@Eugene: Thanks for clarifying that. I totally was lost there with Carp on that one. Don't forget. This is the same guy when going to a break and MASN showing an aerial shot of the Kennedy Center once exclaimed: "Great night to be going to the Lincoln Center."

Eugene in Oregon said...

To be fair to Carpenter, I guess your mind does get a bit mushy when you've had to come up with the 1000th variation of 'another groundout to second' when doing play-by-play on Nats' hitters...

Anonymous said...

Monotonous to be sure.

George Washington said...

You mean Georgetown WASN'T named after me? Rats - that's how I squired Martha. So what about Little Washington? Is that not a cute name for the little general?

A DC Wonk said...

I only see the stats -- but I see that HRod threw a shutout inning with no walks, no hits, and only 10 pitches. How is that not a good inning for HRod?

waddu eye no said...

it was named after george michael, right? King George?

speaking of venue names, my favorite used to be the First Union center in Philly. known to the genteel phans as the F U center

SCNatsFan said...

Navy Nats Fan - you were one play away from beating us like you did 30 years ago. Impressed by the way the Middies played.

C'mon Nats... I know you can do it.

Cwj said...

For those unable to watch, Stras looked very good tonight. Fastball was back to normal velocity, ZERO walks once again.

Man I can't wait til nest year. JZimm and SS will be quite the duo.

Cwj said...

* "next" year, I meant

A DC Wonk said...

Stat of the day (from tv broadcast) -- after the top of the 11th inning -- the Nats bullpen has now pitched 22-1/3 consecutive scoreless innings

Drew8 said...

I don't like those
My God, what's that?
Oh it's full of nasty habits
when the Beast gets back....

Eugene in Oregon said...

Was that as ugly and unproductive as I think it was?

Anonymous said...


NatsFanJim said...

Interesting night -- Looking at Bernie -- it finally hits me: Bernie will never make it in the bigs. Yes, he's fast, lays down a phenomenal bunt -- field superbly. BUT he cant hit. Just cant hit -- end of Bernie.

NatsFanJim said...

If we cant beat hensley ...

Eugene in Oregon said...

One run in the past 20 innings, right?

Eugene in Oregon said...

Make that 21 innings with only one run scored...

baseballswami said...

Does anybody else get the feeling that if the Marlins go another 21 without scoring -so will we?
We should rename our team the Washington Missed-Opportunities.

Dave said...

Boy, I'm glad I didn't go to the Picnic in the Park at 12:00 noon today and stay the entire day in Nats Park to see that mess.

Very frustrating game. Very frustrating day.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@Eugene: It's one run in 22 innings, exactly. Against these bums, which we make look like the 1961 New York Yankees.

And NatsFanJim: You're right about Bernie. I love the guy, but...No Can Hit.

bdrube said...

I have to admit, with one game to go on my ST package, I've attended about six fewer games this year than last, and the reason is this atrocious offense. We can get excited about z double nn and Stasburg all we want, but if the team doesn't score we still aren't going to win.

NatsLady said...

Anybody want tickets to tomorrow's game? Guy has good seats he wanted me to ask around. Sec 133.

Mick said...

Again, Davey leaves a pitcher in too long, Clippard should have come in after Ballestor's 2 very good innings and at least after the lead off single. Having said that, I love the beast but that was a choking dog, culture of losing double play.I am so sick of this, the team comes home to two excellent crowds and they cant hit worth a shi-!!! The only positive is Strassburg who may be the next Dick Bosman in losing a record number of 1-0 games unless we get some players who can hit when it counts. Werth is Werthless and Davey just can not manage anymore at the level he did 20 years ago.

Scooter said...

OMG, I have to stop skipping over the rants. A "culture of losing double play." Just awesome, my man. Don't ever change.

lesatcsc said...

How does Eckstein have a job????? Can you imagine an offensive coordinator on a football team keeping his job when his team never scores? The job is about results; Eckstein's are amongst the worst in recorded history. The bottom line is that he couldn't teach a drunk to hit the ground. He's completely and totally useless. If the rest of us did our jobs as badly as he does his, we would be very unemployed. I don't care how great a guy he is or how hard he works. Like an Air Traffic Controller that crashes every plane, it is time for him to find a new career! Hopefully, a long, long, long way from Nationals hitters!

This is mortifying.

natsfan1a said...

I can only hope to aspire to such prose. The best I could do when I went upstairs to let my husband know the game's outcome was "the ownage continues."

Anonymous said...

Davey Johnson is clueless when it comes to when to remove a starting pitcher. I thought Riggleman was bad but Johnson is worse. It doesn't take a genius to know that the Nats do not have a starting pitcher capable of pitcing beyond six innings. Johnson almost blew another game today. Beyond that, he clearly left Balester in too long last night.

Chien-Ming Wang said...

Uh, dude, I just pitched 6.2 innings??

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