What others on the team had to say:
"He's a competitor. He expects a lot out of himself. But this is a learning experience. That's how you get better. If you don't have any failures, well, more power to you. You're going to have some failures, and you've got to learn from them."
The phenom hit a road bump.
Making his first start since Jul. 21, Stephen Strasburg got chased from the game in the fifth inning Tuesday night after allowing six runs on six hits and two walks. The 22-year-old only lasted 4.1 innings and struck out a career-low four batters en-route to the worst start in the young pitchers career.
Strasburg and the Nationals chalked the poor performance up to nothing more than a little bit of rust, stating that missing two starts made it hard for the powerful righty to find his spots. However, Nats fans across the DMV have to be feeling a little bit of concern after the seemingly invincible Strasburg first went down with shoulder tightness at the end of July, and in his return looked like a meer mortal on the mound.
Jesus just didn't walk on water.
The most alarming, and perhaps most perplexing thing about Strasburg's start last night is the fact that he threw his changeup so infrequently. The right-hander only threw it four times in 84 pitches last night, a far cry from his 16.9 percent rate he usually throws it. What's so confusing is that the changeup is arguably his best pitch aside of his smoldering fastball. In fact, many consider the 90 MPH changeup he unloads on batters to be unhittible, and FanGraphs backs that claim up showing that it is his second best pitch according to his 3.1 runs above average Pitch Value.
Clearly this wasn't a simple oversight...There had to be a reason Strasburg wasn't throwing his changeup. It could simply be that he was falling behind in the count and didn't want to throw it unless he was ahead...of course it could also have something to do with his shoulder, but there is no evidence of that.
The good news for Nationals fans is that according to PitchFX Strasburg's movement on his pitches was only slightly off last night, and the numbers tend to back up that he, in fact, may have just had trouble placing his spots. He only threw his fastball for a strike 72% of the time, and his two seamer only crossed the plate at 66%. His real loss of command however was on his "off speed"pitches. His curveball only landed for a strike 46% of the time (which may have been by design), and his change only registered as a strike 25% of the time.
A look at his velocity and movement show he was pretty close to normal last night:
Last Night: AVG. SPEED- 97.47 | AVG H-Break -5.26 | AVG V- Break 8.29
This Season: AVG. SPEED- 97.6 | AVG H-Break-5.80| AVG V-Break 7.70
Last Night: AVG. SPEED- 82.08 | AVG H-Break -7.94 | AVG V- Break -7.44
This Season: AVG. SPEED- 82.30 | AVG H-Break-6.90| AVG V-Break -7.30
Last Night: AVG. SPEED- 95.85 | AVG H-Break -8.63 | AVG V- Break 4.71
This Season: AVG. SPEED- 95.80 | AVG H-Break-7.30| AVG V-Break 5.20
Last Night: AVG. SPEED- 89.3 | AVG H-Break -6.38 | AVG V- Break -0.37
This Season: AVG. SPEED- 89.7 | AVG H-Break-6.90| AVG V-Break 0.1
Strasburg will take the hill again in four days. Based on what we've seen from him in the past, he will come out with something to prove, which should prove exciting to Nats fans everywhere.
You simply can't write off the Phillies, they have proved year after year that they truly are the team to beat in the NL East. The Braves surprise season has been one of the best stories in baseball thus far, but with Philadelphia just two games behind them, its hard not to think they will regain their place on top of the division. By the end of August, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, and Ryan Howard will all be back and at full strength, ready for their annual September dominance.
With rookies like Jason Heyward, Mike Stanton, Stephen Strasburg, and Ike Davis all taking the NL East by storm, one scout boldly said that the Mets have the deepest farm system in the division.
This is interesting because with Mike Pelfrey still trying to identify himself, Ike Davis is probably the best home grown player the team has had since Jose Reyes and David Wright in 2003 and 2004. Lastings Milledge and Anderson Hernandez were each supposed to make an impact an impact with the team, but they made their way out of the organization quickly. We have seen Jennry Mejia, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, and Fernando Martinez all compete at the major league level, showing some flashes of brilliance, but nothing that has the fan base buzzing. I guess only time will tell.
The Marlins offense is in the midst of a power outage manager Edwin Rodriguez has decided to move Hanley Ramirez back to the leadoff spot.
This looks like an act of desperation to me, but it's hard to disagree with the move. Ramerez hasn't had many situations to drive in runs in the three spot and would be better suited at the top of the lineup giving the Marlins a much more reliable threat then what they had previously. Former leadoff man, Chris Coghlan, is out for the season and Emilio Bonafacio and Logan Morrison are too inexperienced to rely on, making it a no brainer to put Hanley at the top. At the fourth and fifth spots you have Dan Uggla and Mike Stanton, who can pick up the slack, as well as Cody Ross.
In a recent Baseball Prospectus article titled, "Future Shock: Prospects Who Have Stalled," Kevin Goldstein writes about Nationals catching prospect Derek Norris's difficult season:
"Although recovery from a major wrist injury is a mitigating factor, that alone can't wipe away Norris' strange line of .240/.415/.397 for High-A Potomac. An offense-first catcher, Norris has remained an absolute walk machine, but the wrist issue has made him almost too passive. His ability to hit for average and power has slipped away. Because of his defensive shortcomings, he can't afford to be a one-trick pony at the plate, and an expected 2011 assignment to Double-A could be a make-or-break season for Norris, at least in terms of his reputation as one of the better catching prospects in baseball."
Unfortunately, this excerpt only paints half the picture for the talented 21-year-old.
Norris entered 2010 as the #38 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America. The year before the 20-year-old cruised through Single-A Hagerstown batting .286 with 23 homers and 30 doubles in 126 games, earning Nationals' Minor League Player of the Year honors. He showed outstanding patience, getting on-base at .413 for the season, showing scouts that he had the potential to be a serious power/walk threat at the big league level in a few years. Traditionally for young players raw power comes first, and patience comes later, but it seemed that for Norris, he was advanced beyond his years as a true outcome potential star at a premium position.
Norris ended his season in 2009 with surgery to repair a fractured bone in his hand. Despite entering 2010 with high expectations, he was sidelined from the beginning with nerve irritation from his fall surgery, and didn't return to the field until the middle of May. Just 11 days later Norris suffered a bean-ball to the head that hospitalized the young catcher. As you've read above, it was downhill from there once he got on the field.
To make things worse, the Nationals used their second biggest bargaining chip at the trade deadline to acquire a near major-league ready catching prospect in catcher Wilson Ramos. While Ramos has struggled in 2010, many believe he will be the Nats catcher of the future, and possibly a starter in 2011.
This means that on top of the injuries, the pitch to the head, and the sudden power-zap, Norris will now likely have to deal with a change of position. Never the defensive wizard behind the plate, he will likely now switch to either first base or corner outfield in a move that will prove more taxing than normal with his struggles at the plate. In the long run though this could be a blessing in disguise for the 21-year-old. Catching is a position that slows many prospects because of the both physical and mental demands it requires. Perhaps with a clean slate at an easier position, Norris can return to the promising hitter he was in 2009, and forget about the terror that has been 2010.
We here at The Nats Blog received two emails today about Stephen Strasburg's scheduled start tomorrow against the Florida Marlins. First was from the organization itself suggesting we spread the word that tickets are still available. While I usually don't relay such marketing related messages, the fact is that if you haven't had a chance to see this kid pitch yet, you really should. Who knows, you could see the next Brandon Morrow type performance.
The other message we received was from TiqIQ who forwarded us the graphic you see above.
It's really interesting to see how after just six starts the price could drop 53% at Nationals Park. TiqIQ suggests this is because of Strasburg's DL stint and the Nationals poor performance lately, however I think it's something much simpler.
For the Nats fans the novelty may have worn off on Strasburg. True, the real baseball fans will go see this incredible talent hurl...but a Strasburg start isn't the 'hot ticket,' in Washington anymore. Sadly, the reality of D.C. sports is starting to set in. August and September don't belong to the Nationals yet, it's still Redskins territory. Until the club can make it to October, don't expect that to change.
Jason Marquis (0-4, 15.32) made his first appearance since April 18th after being sidelined with loose bone chips in his arm, unfortunately it didn't take long until the rust kicked in by committing a crucial error leading to four runs in the first inning by the Dodgers, one of two errors in the opening inning by the Nats. As a matter of fact, pitching coach Steve McCatty made visit to the mound before an out was even recorded by Marquis.
James Loney bumped the score to 2-0 on a single to left field scoring Ryan Theriot and a few batters later, the scrappy Jamey Carroll got in on the action with a single to center scoring Andre Ethier and Ronnie Belliard, pushing the score to a commanding 4-0 lead at the end of one.
Despite being in a large hole early in the game, The Nats made the game interesting again in the top of the second with back to back solo home runs by Mike Morse and Justin Maxwell off left hander Ted Lilly, who was making his second start for the Dodgers. In cutting the Dodger lead in half with two swings of the bat from unlikely sources, Washington was confident that they could break through and manufacture some more runs early on in the game.
It wasn't until the fourth when Marquis ran into trouble again, where with one out, Carroll doubled to left bringing A.J. Ellis to the dish, who promptly followed with a double of his own scoring Carroll. Marquis got out of the inning giving up just one run, and took the mound to start the fifth, but was yanked from the game after beaning Theriot with a pitch that nearly took off his head. Jim Riggleman replaced him with Doug Slaten, after 70 pitches through his four plus innings of work.
About two months ago I wrote an article describing what I termed the "Prodigy Effect."
Inspired by discussions regarding Stephen Strasburg, I became interested in providing an answer to the question of whether hyped pitching prospects could make their teammates better simply by being on the squad.
To attempt to answer the question, I looked at the FIP's of starting pitchers on the same team as ten different hyped pitching prodigies over the first two months after the prodigy made his first start. I then compared those FIP's to each pitchers FIP's over three years. In mostcases I looked at the year before, of, and after the prodigy made his debut and made exceptions wherereasonable.
I found that there was a small decrease in FIPs in the "hype window" of two months, namely a dropof 3.4 percent. My study was very crude, however, and the results should be taken with a lot of skepticism.It did, however, give a prediction of the impact of the Strasburg Effect. Now we can evaluate thatprediction.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported this afternoon that the Washington Nationals placed left-handed starter Ross Detwiler on the disabled list after the young hurler had evidently re-aggravated his hip. Detwiler had only made three starts since returning from hip surgery this summer. Kilgore Reports:
"After making his first three starts of the season, Detwiler experienced after effects from the hip surgery he underwent this spring that kept him out of the majors for the season's first four months. Detwiler theorized after his start Thursday he might not be finishing his pitches because he was subconsciously worrying about his hip, but he said he did not feel any pain in on the field during the start."
In three starts since his return Detwiler had posted an 0-2 record with a 3.46 ERA. The lefty had struck out 12 in 13 innings pitched, but had also walked eight batters and surrendered 17 hits. He had been a victim of bad defense in his first outing, and had a strong showing Jul. 31 vs. the Phillies, however his most recent start vs. the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks was a strong indicator that something may have been wrong. Detwiler only lasted four innings before surrendering nine hits and seven runs in a 4-8 loss.
The Nationals are being very cautious with Detwiler as the left-hander represents a big part of the ball clubs future. A first round draft pick in 2007, many in baseball believe Detwiler still has the stuff to be a front-of-the-line starter in most rotations, and at only 24-years-old he is right on pace to peak at the right time.