After an injury-plagued 2013 that saw our old hero Mike Morse bottom out, he’s having a dream season, posting a .295/.351/.574 slash line for the league-leading Giants. Oh and he’s still not over the great Stephen Strasburg shutdown of 2012:
“A lot of people don’t realize you might only get one shot,” Morse says. “One shot. That could have been the only shot. I just wish we could have given it everything we had, but we didn’t.”
“It was such a weird feeling,” Morse says. “I kept watching Stras throwing bullpens, still running, still doing his thing. I thought, ‘Man, maybe he’s going to come out of the bullpen.’ Or in Game 5, the lights are going to turn off, the spotlight is going to come on, he’s going to run out.
“I remember talking to guys like Mark DeRosa, and they said, ‘This could be your one and only shot.’ It made sense what they were saying to me.”
The piece, reported and written by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, says the shutdown “still haunts several of [Morse's] former teammates today.” To which I’d say, get over it.
Washington didn’t lose because they didn’t have Strasburg; they lost because they choked in Game 5. Also relevant to the discussion: Strasburg has had good health and been one of baseball’s best pitchers ever since.
Anyway. I still like Morse quite a bit and wish him all the best in San Francisco. I just wish he’d quit bringing up old shit.
Strasburg goes a career-high eight innings and Harper homers as Nats beat Pads 6-2. (Did you know, BTW, that Stras’ ERA is down to 2.83?) [WaPo]
Johnny Football was there for the pregame festivities. [For The Win]
A little longread on the high-flying Baltimore Orioles. [Sports On Earth]
Skins to remove gaudy “collars” from white jerseys. [Sons of Washington]
Alex Ovechkin actually broke his foot during Game 6. [Russian Machine]
A reminder that the Caps aren’t losers. They’re actually pretty good. [JR]
Adam Oates think he could handle John Tortorella in a fistfight. [CSN D.C.]
(Image taken with love from @dcsportsbog.)
Nats swept by Cards, fall below .500. [WaPo]
Strasburg loses fourth in a row, is struggling with first-pitch strikes. [Boz]
Noted Cards fan tells Nats fans how to be better fans. [Sports On Earth]
F.P. Santangelo, protector of the Nats, has beef with Doc Walker. [Bog]
O’s lose in 10 to Toronto on a goddamned walkoff walk. [Camden Chat]
It was the O’s first loss in 18 extra-inning games. [BLS]
The O’s have still won 100 straight games when leading late. [SB Nation]
Dylan Bundy seeing Dr. Andrews for second opinion. Uh-oh. [O's Insider]
How the left-for-dead Caps become division champs. [Japers', RMNB, SBN]
Caps re-up Eric Fehr for two years at $1.5 million per. [Russian Machine]
New Geico ad feat. Nick Backstrom and the ghost of Lord Stanley. [RMNB]
Strasburg, Desmond and LaRoche all win Silver Sluggers. [Nats Journal]
Davey Johnson won a fishing tournament by catching big fish. [Bog]
Adam Jones ringing the closing bell at the NYSE today. [O's Insider]
Josh Hamilton probably isn’t coming to Baltimore, you guys. [O's Insider]
Sean Taylor’s brother is apparently really good at football. [Hogs Haven]
Forget Nov. 30, John Wall has no target date for his return. [Wiz Insider]
New Wizards Okafor and Ariza have been brutal. [Bullets Forever
Va. Tech nearly upset No. 8 Florida St. last night but didn't. [WaPo]
Now Stefon Diggs it out for the Clemson game. Ouch. [Testudo Times]
Maryland plays Kentucky tonight in Brooklyn. Here’s your preview. [TT]
D.C. United had a snow delay. Here’s what that looked like. [Bog]
The Strasburg Shutdown Debate (SSD) has grown out of control the last couple weeks. It’s gone from a local discussion to a national debate, with everyone from Ken Rosenthal to Rudy Giuliani offering worthless, straw man opinions that serve to only make SSD more insufferable.
But even more infuriating are the “baseball people” — former and current players, managers, etc. — issuing quotes from the Rob Dibble School of Man’ing Up about how Strasburg needs to INSIST he keeps pitching through the playoffs. As if this is somehow his decision, or that he somehow doesn’t want to continue playing.
These people are fucking morons.
Just last night we had two more examples. First, there was Chipper Jones, who said, “If I was him, I’d be throwing a fit.” Because Strasburg throwing a tantrum is going to be a productive and successful means of getting the front office to change its mind. This is professional advice from a 40-year-old veteran to a second-year player.
Then there was this from MLB Network’s Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams: “If it was me, it would have to be at gunpoint. There’s zero chance that I’m going to go quietly.”
How does this scenario work? Listen, Mr. Rizzo, I see that Lannan is already out there warming up, but you are going to have to shoot me in the face to stop me from barging onto the field, taking the ball from John and inserting myself into this game as the starting pitcher. So, what’s it gonna be? Seems reasonable.
The thing that everyone who has just now joined the SSD is missing is that Strasburg isn’t kicking and screaming about being shutdown because it was a decision that was made five months ago. That doesn’t make him less of a man, or less passionate, or competitive, or whatever. He’s accepting it. And the rest of us should do the same. Strasburg isn’t going to pitch in the playoffs. That’s that. So try to enjoy the run and be grateful we get to watch him pitch again next April.
Just a flat-out great column on Strasburg’s shutdown. [Thomas Boswell]
More Strasburg reads. [Nats Baseball, Joe Sheehan, Richard Justice]
An excellent primer on the Strasburg shutdown facts. [Nats Journal]
Nats lost to Giants as Madison Bumgarner was awesome. [WaPo]
Rendon promoted to AA, probably won’t get Sept. call-up. [Nats Journal]
Ian Desmond could return from injury as soon as Friday. [Nats Journal]
It brings me no joy to share the Bob Carpenter Jammage Meter. [Woeful Nats]
Nats players understand Strasburg’s shutdown, aren’t happy about it. [WaPo]
Nats fans don’t seem the least upset about Stras’ innings limit. [Nats Blog]
But what do Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless think about it?!?1?! [Bog]
The Nats pounded the Giants, Vogelsong 14-2 in San Francisco. [WaPo]
Jayson Werth is getting an MRI on his ankle today. [Nats Journal]
Manny Machado named Player of the Week in his first week. [O's.com]
For some strong words from noted medical experts Jake Peavy and Jeff Francoeur on the Nats possibly shutting Stephen Strasburg down next month, head over to this piece from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. A sampling:
“I don’t want to put words in their mouth what their veterans are thinking, but it would be very hard for me as a veteran player to accept that. It would just blow my mind thinking that the Nationals are going to the playoffs and Stephen Strasburg not being part of it? He’s arguably the best pitcher in the game. Don’t you want to seize the moment?”
“For me, you win as many damn games as you can, whenever you can. If that’s Stephen Strasburg throwing 200 innings, so what? Cole Hamels pitched 262 innings (at 25, in 2008) the year the Phillies won the World Series.”
There’s more where that came from, if you can handle the knuckle-dragging.
Previously: ‘Strasburg Shouldn’t Be Shut Down,’ Says Bad ESPN Logic
This ESPN Stats & Info blog post (“a must-read for everyone at ESPN”!) is too much to bear, so off we go, Fire Joe Morgan-style …
In all likelihood, 24-year-old Stephen Strasburg’s season will end within weeks with the Washington Nationals likely in a fierce pennant race.
If the Nationals were to reverse course and allow Strasburg to pitch, would the workload hurt his performance? History suggests it wouldn’t.
No one is asking or even wondering this, because the question isn’t if Strasburg would struggle in September-October; the question is if he’ll eventually suffer another major injury from throwing too much too soon.
What the Numbers Say
Since 2001, 20 pitchers fit the profile of a young arm with a considerable workload. The criteria:
• The pitcher needed to be 23 years old or younger.
• It was the pitcher’s first season throwing 150 innings.
• The pitcher had not previously thrown 150 innings in his pro career.
There’s kind of an important bullet point missing here. Can’t quite put my finger on it, though. Something to do with elbow ligaments.
One of my favorite baseball happenings of 2012 occurred yesterday, when John Lannan returned from minor-league exile to stop the Nats’ two-game skid and extend their NL East lead to 2.5 games. It was a big game, as far as July goes, both for the team and the man, who was demoted this spring in favor of Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang after being the rotation’s bedrock through four very long seasons.
Though this was just a spot start, it foretells what’s likely to happen in September, when Stephen Strasburg hits his fast-approaching innings limit and a new starter is needed. If/when that occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Lannan replaces Strasburg in the rotation; it means Gio Gonzalez replaces Stras, Jordan Zimmermann replaces Gio, Edwin Jackson replaces ZNN, Detwiler replaces Jackson and, finally, Lannan replaces Detwiler. But really, what we’re talking about is Strasburg leaving and Lannan entering a pennant race.