Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

First “Wish we had Strasburg” story from National Media


Strasburg sitting in the dugout during the NLDS, where he'll be for the rest of the playoffs. Photo Masn screen shot via nats enquirer blog

Rant on.  I couldn’t help myself today…

It was great to see that they couldn’t even wait until GAME THREE of the divisional series to post the first “Gee wish we had Stephen Strasburg” story.  Here’s the link, courtesy of Ken Rosenthal.  I’ll bet he had this article in the can weeks ago just waiting for a slow news day to post it.

Rosenthal quotes an anonymous player who doesn’t agree with the shutdown Situation, who said that “the team would be up 2-0″ if they had Strasburg.”   Such a gutless reporting technique; notice there was nothing other than a passing mention that there are clubhouse guys who agree with the shutdown.  Just cherry-picking opinions (of which there are dozens in a clubhouse) until he found one that enabled him to write the story he wanted to write.

He talks about how the Braves “handled” Kris Medlen so that he was still pitching in the post-season.  There’s no way Medlen-to-Strasburg comparisons are correct.  Medlen was absolutely not in the starting rotation discussion in Atlanta, and if he was he was 8th or 9th in line.  And there’s no way that Medlen was anything other than found gold to the Braves in terms of how good a starter he would turn out to be.  And there’s nobody who can tell me any differently.  Lastly, do you think perhaps the Braves would rather have used Medlen from the start of the season, had they known how dominant he’d be??  Do you think they would have finished in 2nd place in this division had they had Medlen all season?  Because last time I checked, the Braves lost their one-and-done WITH MEDLEN ANYWAY and are playing golf while the Nats are sitting pretty in the divisional series.

Nobody ever mentions this, but Strasburg was mediocre down the stretch.  He had a 4.14 ERA in his last 10 starts, a 4.50 ERA in his last handful of games, alternating between excellent and awful.   You could argue “arbitrary endpoints” but to me it sounds like a guy running out of gas, no?  Who is to say that the team wouldn’t have recognized that he was running on fumes anyway, and shut him down at the time they did regardless of an innings limit?  Why does nobody talk about this fact?  That’s because the National media narrative w/r/t Strasburg is LAZY.  Regurgitate the same stories, talk about the same platitudes of there being “no proof that shutting him down isn’t the best thing to do.”

Here’s my analogy; if  you had heart surgery and your cardiologist only told you to pitch 160 innings the next year, you’d do it and not complain about it right?  Well Strasburg’s ARM SURGEON advised the team on this limit after having ARM SURGERY, and the team followed it.  I don’t think we’d be hearing all these back seat pundits talking about how the Nats are idiots for resting a guy if it was his heart that was cut and not his elbow.  To say nothing of the fact that he’s young (24), under team control for at least four more years , and the team isn’t exactly looking like a one-year wonder right now, fielding the 3rd youngest pitching squad and the youngest hitting squad in the major leagues.   Every core player and pitcher is locked up or under team control for at least three-four years.  There’s NO reason to think that this team won’t be contending for years to come, irrespective of what any other team in the division does.

The Nats got a split in St. Louis.  That’s the best they could hope for against a dangerous opponent.  Wainwright isn’t going to strike out 2 batters an inning every time he goes out.  The Nats BLASTED Lohse this season.  Carpenter has what, three starts this year?  And the last time Jackson pitched against St. Louis at home, he went 8 shutout innings.  There’s more to this series than just Strasburg and St. Louis; the National media should try covering the Nationals for a change.

*sigh*.  So sick of hearing about Strasburg.  Can’t we talk about the Nats?!  They did have the best record in baseball after all.

/Rant off.  Stepping down from sandbox.

Written by Todd Boss

October 10th, 2012 at 10:49 am

6 Responses to 'First “Wish we had Strasburg” story from National Media'

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  1. Preach it, Todd!

    John C.

    10 Oct 12 at 11:27 am

  2. I blasted this artcile on hardballtalk about how an an anonymous quote with no context was not good reporting and Craig Calcaterra immediately fired back at me. Talk about another guy with anti-Nats sentiments. This has gotten completely ridiculous.

    His defense of my criticism of Rosenthal was “just because a National reporter writes something you don’t like doesn’t mean it isn’t true.” He never even addressed the fact that I was talking about the style in which Rosenthal reported it. He used the same damn story he has for weeks referencing Medlin and how he was handled (but failing to mention he has more innings built up as a pro and as you mentioned he was behind Hudson, Hanson, Minor, Jurrjens, Delgado, Teheran and others in their plans.) Also saying the Nats shouldn’t have started Stras from the start. IMO if they don’t they probably don’t jump out of the gates like they did.

    Rosenthal is just looking to write anything that seems a bit “controversial” to up traffic. He is wrong more than he is write with his predictions and his free agency speculation.

    For all we know that quote could be from Jordan Zimmermann after he got smoked saying “If Strasburg had started the game instead of me we would have been 2-0” something tongue and cheek like that but since there is no context to back it up it is just worthless.

    Sorry for the rant. I’m just over the lack of respect for this organization. Rizzo turned a crappy team into the team with the best record in baseball. A team that is full of talent under the age of 27. A team with legit stars OTHER than Strasburg yet nobody can mention anyone other than Bryce Harper. Blah…

    GO Nats.


    10 Oct 12 at 11:39 am

  3. I’d love to find out weho the rookie/mediocrity was that complained.
    Strasburg was like porcelain china all year. Sure was pretty when he was going good, BUT……
    Had trouble pitching in the rain, the heat, when his ben-gay ran down into his crotch, etc. etc.
    With any luck he’ll learn from this year nad be a lot better next year.

    Mark L

    10 Oct 12 at 11:42 am

  4. I absolutely agree that Rosenthal’s been sitting on this story since the Nats clinched a playoff berth. And how badly did he need that Nats loss to happen on Monday? Without it, he’d have to sit on his canned story even longer. Hell, he didn’t even wait for the Nats to be behind in a series. One loss was all it took for us to hear this crap again. Stunningly inept journalism.


    10 Oct 12 at 1:05 pm

  5. F*ck Calcaterra. He’s been nothing but anti Washington all year, and its just gotten worse since the playoffs started. EVERY single possible thing he can post that casts the fans, the city, the team, the owner or the GM in a bad light he does. If Harper sneezes it gets posted. He turns the whole metro thing into an anti Nats post. My blood was boiling all day and the fact that Calcaterra re-posted Rosenthal’s article just made it worse.

    Todd Boss

    10 Oct 12 at 10:41 pm

  6. Its only going to get worse if this team fails to advance. The story won’t be our lack of offense, it’ll be all about the guy on the shelf. Harper: .067. LaRoche: .091. Morse: .250 but badly failed in the clutch today. THAT’S the story behind our losses right now, not who is on the hill.

    Todd Boss

    10 Oct 12 at 10:43 pm

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