Oct 10, 2012, 4:56 PM EDT
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Nationals had the best record in baseball and the best rotation heading into the postseason. But now, after consecutive awful outings by the pitching staff, the Cards lead the Nats 2-1 in this best of five series. They lost 8-0 today.
Edwin Jackson was shaky out of the chute, and gave up four runs on eight hits. He settled down a bit, but as he made way for the bullpen, the fire began to rage again, and before it was all done the Cards had hung eight on the Nats. Pete Kozma‘s three-run homer in the second was the big blow, but the Cardinals ended up needing only one run to secure the win.
The hittability of Nats pitchers led broadcasters Bob Costas and Jim Kaat to note the absence of Stephen Strasburg. And to note that his absence will turn into serious heat on Mike Rizzo and the Nats brass should Washington go on to lose this series. I think they’re right about that. And indeed, anyone who has read this blog over the past few months knows that I disagreed with the Nats shutting down Strasburg too. But let me say this: the way the Nats are losing this series shouldn’t bring any more heat on Rizzo for the Strasburg shutdown than he’s otherwise getting.
The Nats won Game 1 with Gio Gonzalez. They lost Games 2 and 3 due to poor outings from Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson. Guess what: barring a sweep, all three of those pitchers would have gotten starts in the NLDS. They needed Jackson and Zimmermann to pitch well even if Strasburg was there. They didn’t. The biggest difference will be seen in Game 4 when Ross Detwiler gets the nod, but his presence has yet to damage Washington’s chances.
Beyond the poor outings from Zimmermann and Jackson, the real culprit here has been the Nationals’ somnambulistic offense. Washington was shut out today, leaving scads of runners on base — I counted 11. On Monday they were down 7-1 before the bats woke up. Even in the win on Saturday they scored only three. You can’t give up 22 runs in three games and expect good things, but you gotta score some runs yourself too, you know.
So no, I’m not changing my mind about the Stephen Strasburg shutdown. I still think it’s a bad call to willingly deprive yourself of your best pitcher entering a playoff series. And if the difference in this series ends up being one solid pitching performance, I’ll be willing to entertain the notion that Strasburg was as critical as people will soon be saying. But, as it is right now, let’s not pretend that Stephen Strasburg’s absence is the difference here. The Nats are in serious trouble, and it is because of a total team failure, not because of some front office decision.
Oh, it also has a lot to do with the fact that the Cardinals — who just so happen to be the defending World Series champions — are a good baseball team who have gotten strong performances from just about everyone. Let us not lose sight of that when everyone rushes to blame the outcome of this series on the absence of Stephen Strasburg.
May 3, 2015, 2:53 PM EDT
Varvaro was designated for assignment by Boston on April 29 after struggling badly in three straight relief appearances. He was very good in 2014 with the Braves …
May 3, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT
He was actually sent back to Chicago on Saturday while the team finishes up a four-game series at Minnesota’s Target Field.
May 3, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT
Walden felt discomfort in his right arm while warming up on Saturday afternoon. He told reporters after Saturday’s game that he’s not concerned, but it’s a scary situation for the Cardinals given how well the 27-year-old setup man pitched in April.
May 3, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
Moore is scheduled throw around 20 pitches to his Tampa Bay teammates before their series finale on Sunday afternoon against the Orioles.
May 3, 2015, 11:43 AM EDT
Veteran outfielder Michael Bourn was held out of the Indians’ starting lineup on Saturday with what was called a cervical strain. That sounded like a pretty serious injury, but all appears to be fine …
May 3, 2015, 10:51 AM EDT
It was a very disappointing April for Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings, who hit .222/.306/.238 in 18 games. And now his May is off to a rough start too.
May 3, 2015, 10:04 AM EDT
Marisnick is also getting it done at the plate for the Astros, who are on a nine-game winning streak and have opened a six-game lead over the Angels in the American League West standings.
May 3, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT
First it was the Giants beating the Angels when Kole Calhoun’s hard grounder to the right side of the infield struck Taylor Featherston. A few hours later, the Dodgers won in similar fashion …
May 3, 2015, 8:32 AM EDT
For the second consecutive day, the Cardinals took down the visiting Pirates on an extra-inning walkoff.
May 2, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT
Are those “Keys to the Game” segments getting stale? FOX Sports San Diego put a fresh spin on it.
May 2, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT
More arm issues for Braves lefty Mike Minor.
May 2, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT
Torii Hunter said something dumb again.
May 2, 2015, 10:25 PM EDT
The Astros are good again!
May 2, 2015, 9:35 PM EDT
Nelson Cruz won’t stop hitting home runs.
May 2, 2015, 8:45 PM EDT
A stroke of luck bailed the Giants out in the ninth inning when their bullpen went into meltdown mode.
May 2, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT
One of the best pitchers in baseball history tells us how he’d approach the best player of this generation.
May 2, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT
The Cubs had an unfortunate series of events lead to a little league home run for Brewers outfielder Logan Schafer.
May 2, 2015, 6:10 PM EDT
Catcher Ryan Hanigan figures to be out until the All-Star break, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell.
May 2, 2015, 5:29 PM EDT
Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors in over two years.
May 2, 2015, 4:46 PM EDT
Ross went just 2-for-22 (.091) with three RBI over nine games during his brief stint with Oakland.
- Jordan Walden lands on disabled list with biceps injury 6
- Rays place outfielder Desmond Jennings on 15-day disabled list with bursitis in his left knee 0
- Settling the Score: Saturday’s results 29
- Torii Hunter doesn’t care what Floyd Mayweather has done outside of the boxing ring 115
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman acknowledges team won’t pay A-Rod $6 million bonus for 660th home run 69
- Willie Mays congratulates Alex Rodriguez for reaching 660 career home runs 31
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 38
- Ryan Hanigan needs surgery, so the Red Sox will call up prospect Blake Swihart 15
- Pitchers batting is dumb and the DH should be universal (362)
- Comment of the Day: do not underestimate the seriousness of the anti-DH crowd (201)
- Monday’s White Sox/Orioles game postponed due to ongoing protests and violence in Baltimore (162)
- Protesters converge on Oriole Park at Camden Yards (149)
- The Orioles will play to no fans tomorrow; this weekend’s series will move to Tropicana Field (125)