Nationals Arm Race

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

Happy 2013 season! Nats Win!

6 comments

Strasburg gets the Nats off to a quick victory. Photo via centerfieldgate.com

A great opening to the Nats 2013 campaign.  A beautiful day at the park to sneak away for a 1pm game time (not that I got to; meetings, meetings).

Stephen Strasburg looked completely dominant, retiring 19 overmatched Marlins in a row after a game-opening single and departing after 7 complete innings on just 80 pitches.  He relied on location as opposed to power on the day, recording just three strikeouts but getting a ton of weak grounders for outs.  If this had been September in the midst of a playoff push he’d likely have thrown the complete game (or at least one more inning considering that the other two hits he gave up were to the middle of Miami’s order in the 7th; he was set to face 6-7-8 in the 8th for “easier” outs).  But its April; no need to burn pitches/IP now when we’ll need them later.

Tyler Clippard comes in, shaky at the start but gets the outs he needed for the hold.  And we get our first look at new closer Rafael Soriano in an ideal situation for a closer; 2 run lead, leading off the 9th inning.  He didn’t disappoint, punching out two to get the save.

On the offensive side, Bryce Harper continues right where he left off with his torrid Grapefruit league campaign by clubbing homers in his first two at-bats.  Wow; that’s a way to start your season.  Who says that Spring Training stats are meaningless?  :-)

Nothing more today.  A good first day of the season.

ps: 500th post!  I had to post something fun for the record books.

Written by Todd Boss

April 1st, 2013 at 4:50 pm

6 Responses to 'Happy 2013 season! Nats Win!'

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  1. Alas, I was only able to watch from afar but yeah, what a great game for Strasburg and Harper. Soriano put in the performance I was hoping to see in Viera and Clippard did look fairly shaky at first. He managed to do what needed to be done when the chips were down but I could stand a little less drama from him. 20 minutes until, hopefully, Atlanta uses Philly clean it’s cleats and then Gio on wednesday. :-)

    Mark

    1 Apr 13 at 6:42 pm

  2. Hey – congrats on #500! That is pretty cool.

    I was able to watch from work. Harper’s dingers were pretty exciting, especially the first one. It looked liked even he was shaking his head in the dugout, like ‘can you believe this?’. He looks to have that special kind of aura around him, doesn’t he? I thought Strasburg was more workmanlike than anything else. I had to keep the sound off, but it looked like several shots were hit well, just right at people. But it looked pretty windy, so I am not sure. Although I realize that statement just goes to show how crazily high he has set people’s expectations. I also thought Zim’s throwing still looks shaky. I think it is the yips, frankly, more so than I ever did before. I think you are right, he heads to 1st in a year or two.

    But I couldn’t help thinking a few times during this game, since it was so obviously the Stras and Harper show, how lucky we have been that these guys not only fell to us, but have lived up to their pre-draft hype. I mean, how often do guys get these big billings and then don’t reach that star level? I wonder how many #1 prospects over the last 10 years turned into all stars? Yay for us.

    Wally

    1 Apr 13 at 7:20 pm

  3. Congrats again on your 500th!

    Mark L

    2 Apr 13 at 7:47 am

  4. Thanks on 500! I think when i hit a thousand i’ll do another retrospective like I did at 400 posts. It may take a few years though.

    Todd Boss

    2 Apr 13 at 1:41 pm

  5. I certainly enjoyed the game, the crowd and all the hoopla surrounding opening day. This is also my first glimpse of Soriano. He looks calm and cool, throws strikes at the knees with movement, my kind of pitcher. Has a strange beginning to his windup. Didn’t see his stretch motion. Good question for you to research Todd: how many closers, besides Soriano, still use a windup w/o men on base?

    Myrubberarm

    2 Apr 13 at 10:07 pm

  6. A very good question. I’ve thought about this some; given that starters often have distinct splits from the wind up versus from the stretch, and given that your relievers (especially your end-of-game relievers) are likely to enter games with runners on base, wouldn’t you WANT your relievers to depend entirely on pitching out of the stretch so that they grow as accustomed to it as possible?

    I’ll do some googling, see if someone else has done the research.

    Todd Boss

    3 Apr 13 at 8:13 am

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