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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nightengale: Nationals despised for sitting Strasburg

Best laid plans.

“We’ll be back,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said after they clinched the National League East title, “and doing this a couple more times.”

Hat tip to Hardball Talk.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:33 AM | 153 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4263306)
There is literally no good outcome possible from the Nats-Cards series. None.
   2. Depressoteric Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:40 AM (#4263307)
"Some baseball executives" can go #### themselves.

Besides, what good would Strasburg do for a playoff team that apparently forgot how to score any runs?
   3. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4263313)
It was a ridiculous decision and one that was first-guessed by some of us around here.

And now we're again saddled with and forced to endure the ####### fifth-place Cardinals.
   4. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4263315)
If only we had Strasburg then we could've lost 3-0 instead of 8-0!!!
   5. Kurt Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:45 AM (#4263317)
Seriously, they've been outscored 22-7. Unless he was planning to pitch five complete games (while pitching much better than he did after the ASB) and take up three or four spots in the batting order, I'm not sure what difference he would have made.
   6. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4263322)
And now we're again saddled with and forced to endure the ####### fifth-place Cardinals


The Cards propensity to anally rape the playoffs every other year leads a man to root for the Yankees if that's the only choice.
   7. bunyon Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:49 AM (#4263323)
You know, really, had I thought seriously about the matter, I would have realized that when they stuck with the plan to shut Strasburg down, their destiny was to face the Cardinals. One never knows what meandering route the Cardinals will take to their world title but with the news that Strasburg was out, it should have been easy to predict the Cards would beat the Nats and that the winner of the other LDS would either be the low seed or the high seed would suffer a serious injury.

I kind of expect a comet to hit NYS tonight to seal the Cards trip to the promised land.
   8. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4263327)
I'm glad I'm not the only one that's just about had it with the #### the Cardinals pull.
   9. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4263331)
...I'm not sure what difference he would have made.

SHHHH! You're spoiling the poop throwing party!
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4263333)
I'm surprised teams would be so bitter about this. I think the Nats made a terrible mistake here but I certainly don't hate them for it.


Besides, what good would Strasburg do for a playoff team that apparently forgot how to score any runs?


OPS+ for Pitchers with at least 5 games pitched and 20 PA in 2012

Rk                Player OPSPA  Tm  G AB  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1            Matt Harvey  113 21 NYM 10 18  6  2  0  0   3  0  7 .333 .333 .444 .778
2      Stephen Strasburg  105 53 WSN 28 47 13  4  0  1   7  3 13 .277 .333 .426 .759
3             Mike Leake   95 69 CIN 35 61 18  3  0  2   3  1 20 .295 .306 .443 .749
4          Jason Marquis   90 36 TOT 24 32  9  3  0  0   1  0 12 .281 .303 .375 .678
5           Jaime Garcia   86 46 STL 20 40 10  1  1  1   3  2 15 .250 .286 .400 .686
6         Jhoulys Chacin   75 26 COL 14 24  7  2  0  0   3  1  3 .292 .320 .375 .695
7          Drew Pomeranz   69 31 COL 22 26  6  2  0  1   1  1 15 .231 .259 .423 .682
8         Tyler Chatwood   54 23 COL 23 16  4  1  0  0   1  1  3 .250 .294 .313 .607
9            Cole Hamels   52 82 PHI 31 69 15  2  0  1   5  4 27 .217 .270 .290 .560
10        Jonathon Niese   46 68 NYM 30 55 12  0  0  0   2  6 19 .218 .295 .218 .513 
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4263337)
Teams are bitter because Rizzo acted like he'd invented baseball and was smarter than everyone else.

That's one. Two is that he insulted the sport and the principles of competition by intentionally and brazenly not putting his best team on the field in the biggest games of the season.

There's a surfeit of loathable stuff in the whole mess.
   12. Kurt Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4263344)
People talk about how Buck Showalter deserves credit for taking the pressure off his players and putting it on himself. If that's the case then Rizzo is a super-mega-genius, if the other 25 guys get their brains beat in and the reaction is STRASBURGSTRASBURGSTRASBURG.
   13. Sean Forman Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4263350)
I still don't understand why they didn't do a Sunday starter route. Everybody gets more rest and he pitches in the postseason.
   14. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4263353)
Did the Nationals know with absolute certainty at the beginning of the season that they would be going to the playoffs?

I doubt it, unless Rizzo has a time-traveling Delorean.
   15. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4263385)
Did the Nationals know with absolute certainty at the beginning of the season that they would be going to the playoffs?

No, but you don't #### with the baseball gods. Who knows, this might be their best chance. What Sean said makes the most sense.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM (#4263393)
Did the Nationals know with absolute certainty at the beginning of the season that they would be going to the playoffs?


No but an 80 win team that had improved with an extra playoff spot being added had to expect to at least be in the hunt. This is well-traveled ground though. I think Sean's point is the key, there were ways to do this that weren't as restrictive as the path they chose.

Hey, I hope they wind up being right. Maybe we'll look back at 2012 as the year that we finally came to a solid conclusion about how to deal with young pitchers and their arms. A watershed moment in pitcher health...I doubt that will be the case but it would be great.
   17. Chris Needham Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4263395)
Post 11 nails it. It's the arrogance of Rizzo saying this season doesn't matter because we've got the next half-decade locked up that's grating to others. (and despite what Andy says, to a segment of Nats fans too).

The other reason GMs are pissed at this? Basically, Rizzo's blazed a new path for agents and players to strongarm teams into more aggressive rehab options like this that protect the long-term monetary value of the agent and the player, but aren't necessarily beneficial to the team that currently owns the contract. Can't you see Boras citing this as precedent in future contract negotiations or in his day-to-day dealings with one of his current young clients?

So Rizzo's possibly opened up a pathway to make pitching more expensive... or at least put a ceiling on the value a team can get from a pitcher, all for some nebulous benefit in the future for an opposing team.
   18. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4263397)
Did the Nationals know with absolute certainty at the beginning of the season that they would be going to the playoffs?


They moved into first place for good on May 22. There was plenty of time to adjust their plans.
   19. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4263400)
The Cards propensity to anally rape the playoffs every other year leads a man to root for the Yankees if that's the only choice.


Christ, why all the Cardinal hate? They're a good team with a poor record in 1-run games, but a way better bullpen now than what they were throwing out there even through the first 100 games. I didn't see anyone getting too upset when their 105-win juggernaut was upset by some shitty "team of destiny" back in 2004---in fact as I recall, it was quite the opposite, a sickening orgy of love for the t.o.d.

They're a legitimate playoff team, as legitimate as any playoff team since 1969.

They lost Albert Pujols, almost an entire season of Lance Berkman (he had under 100 PA), and 30 starts by Chris Carpenter, yet still won 88 games, despite underperforming their Pythag by 5-7 games, or whatever it was.

They're not a crappy fluke team, they have a GREAT offense 1-through-6, they have four solid starting pitchers, and with the emergence of Trevor Rosenthal, four very solid late-inning relievers.

They might be the best playoff team of the 10 that began the postseason.

That said, they can still easily lose today and tomorrow and then everyone will be happy.
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4263410)
I didn't see anyone getting too upset when their 105-win juggernaut was upset by some shitty "team of destiny" back in 2004---in fact as I recall, it was quite the opposite, a sickening orgy of love for the t.o.d.


You mean, the team that never trailed against the Cards during that four-game blitz? That team that thorougly throttled the representative from the weaker league? That team?

Sorry, but anyone who thought the 2004 World Series was an upset wasn't paying attention. Sure, if your top starter hadn't gotten hurt, maybe you get a game. But the better team won.

   21. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4263411)
Christ, why all the Cardinal hate?


This is the equivalent of Yankees fans asking this same question. Because they routinely sneak in the back door of the playoffs and then run the table on the short series, which is bullshit. Then their fat assed fans dance and crow about how great they are for it. They're basically the worst elements of the Yankees and Red Sox blended together in a steaming #### stew.

I didn't see anyone getting too upset when their 105-win juggernaut was upset by some shitty "team of destiny" back in 2004---in fact as I recall, it was quite the opposite, a sickening orgy of love for the t.o.d.


Then you weren't paying attention.

They're not a crappy fluke team


They're a mid-80 win also ran that snuck in the back door.
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4263413)
They're a legitimate playoff team, as legitimate as any playoff team since 1969.

Oh, brother.
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4263419)
I'm tired of the Cardinals. What Salvomania sees as positives I see as reasons to hope they lose. The Cardinals are on a 15-year run of having every player they ever add to the team be significantly better than expected except Anthony Reyes, Mark Mulder, and some marginal veterans. Combined with the incredibly luck in the playoffs, particularly the awful experience the Mets had in 2006, enough already.
   24. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4263420)
Teams are bitter because Rizzo acted like he'd invented baseball and was smarter than everyone else. That's one. Two is that he insulted the sport and the principles of competition by intentionally and brazenly not putting his best team on the field in the biggest games of the season. There's a surfeit of loathable stuff in the whole mess.

One item that I would add to the list is how irate many of the pathetic sycophants in the local D.C. sports media are over the fact that people even have the temerity to keep bringing Strasburg up. Listening to some of these guys, you would think that Ken Rosenthal was one of the worst people in the world because he's still talking to players on the team about the situation off the record.

I always find it a little disturbing whenever people in the media adopt the "just keep your mouth shut" attitude. Their job is supposed to be to ask these kinds of questions, not to just blindly kiss Mike Rizzo's ass.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4263422)
EDIT: No need for that.

On Strasburg, I mean, obviously with him in the roster you increase your chances of winning the series by several percentage points. Several percentage points aren't going to turn the tide every time, and if the Cards womp up the jams today, it's unlikely Strasburg would have made a difference.

The issue is, coming into the series, the Nats made a decision to increase their risk of losing to the Cardinals. That was a radically new and strange decision, the evidence presented for it amounted to "we have a secret plan", and I can't imagine being anything other than highly skeptical.
   26. JL Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4263430)
They moved into first place for good on May 22. There was plenty of time to adjust their plans.

Cleveland was in first place as late as June 22 playing in a weaker division. We know how they did.

No one honestly thought that when the Nationals took over first place on May 22 it was for good.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4263438)
No one honestly thought that when the Nationals took over first place on May 22 it was for good.
Anyone running the numbers at that point would have had the Nationals as favorites to make the playoffs. They projected as a .500+ team, and they started hot for two months. That made them a likely playoff club by the numbers. They had tons of time to adjust their plans.

(They also could have noted in preseason that they had a significant chance at making the playoffs, and scheduled Strasburg around that. Why sign Edwin Jackson for 1 year / 10M if you don't think you're a plausible contender?)
   28. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4263443)
Christ, why all the Cardinal hate?

Teams that have won World Championships in the last decade while winning 90 or fewer games in the regular season:

2011 Cardinals
2006 Cardinals

Nobody wants to see a third entry on the list.
   29. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4263446)
No one honestly thought that when the Nationals took over first place on May 22 it was for good.

Speaking for myself and as a Phillies fan, I certainly thought there was a reasonable chance that it could be for good. Lots of young talent jelling around a few key veterans? Those are the teams that can jump 15-20 games in a year.
   30. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4263449)
Sorry, but anyone who thought the 2004 World Series was an upset wasn't paying attention. Sure, if your top starter hadn't gotten hurt, maybe you get a game. But the better team won.


You just made my point.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4263452)
Everyone's whining and nobody's happy if their team's not winning. Welcome to October baseball.

Christ, why all the Cardinal hate?

I don't get it, either. This isn't that sourpussed Whiteyball team that specialized in bouncing hits off the Astroturf. This is a legitimately good team that's had numerous key injuries and is now able to operate at approximate full speed. If you want to fault the playoff setup that got them into the postseason in the first place, that's one thing, but if that's the case then you should be equally mad at the Orioles.

--------------------------------------------

Because they routinely sneak in the back door of the playoffs and then run the table on the short series, which is ########. Then their fat assed fans dance and crow about how great they are for it. They're basically the worst elements of the Yankees and Red Sox blended together in a steaming #### stew.

Yes, while that stalwart Braves team always finds a way to choke in the crunch, while their zombie fans just sit there waving their little foam tomahawks in cadence to a canned chant over the loudspeakers, when they really want to be at a football game instead.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4263457)
Teams that have won World Championships in the last decade while winning 90 or fewer games in the regular season:

2011 Cardinals
2006 Cardinals

Nobody wants to see a third entry on the list.


Then take it out on Selig and the owners for letting all these lesser teams in, and let's just skip the playoffs and go straight to the Yanks and the Nats in the World Series. That'd work for me.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4263459)
You just made my point.


Yeah, I don't really care one way or another about your larger point. I just like nipping any "Cards were better than the Red Sox in 2004" talk in the bud.

The over-the-top Cardinal hate is another thing. I can understand it when TLR was there, but he's gone now. It's not like they're the Yankees, a club that deserves every bit of scorn hurled its way.

   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4263464)
I don't get it, either. This isn't that sourpussed Whiteyball team that specialized in bouncing hits off the Astroturf. This is a legitimately good team that's had numerous key injuries and is now able to operate at approximate full speed.

I don't see the comparision -- the Whiteyball teams won divisions. And they won 92, 101, and 95 games, not 83 and 88. Nobody wants to see the fifth-best team in the NL, an 88-game winner, get lucky and ruin the playoffs.
   35. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4263468)
Personally, I don't hate the Cardinals team at all. They are a very good team that seems to have a knack for turning it on at the right time. But I could do without the smug and self-satisfied attitude that permeates their fan base, with their #1 media cheerleader Joe Buck reminding me every other day about how they're the greatest sports fans on earth.
   36. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4263471)
Sorry, but anyone who thought the 2004 World Series was an upset wasn't paying attention. Sure, if your top starter hadn't gotten hurt, maybe you get a game. But the better team won.
Oh come on. This is Yankeefan stuff, playoffs are destiny claptrap. Let's concede your argument that the Red Sox were by a good margin the superior team.

The Red Sox played a brilliant and dominant series, but that roster was more than capable of losing four of seven to a Cardinals team that easily would have won 90 in the AL. No team is baseball history has ever been so good that they couldn't easily lose four of seven to a team within 5-10 games of them in overall quality.
   37. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4263473)
Nobody wants to see the fifth-best team in the NL, an 88-game winner, get lucky and ruin the playoffs.


Well I suspect "nobody" doesn't include Cardinal fans who obviously would. And I imagine for many fans that the Cardinals were the fifth best team in the NL but still has a chance to go all the way is a feature not a bug. I like the Cards, I'd be fine if they went all the way. They didn't get in through some nefarious means, they played by the rules at hand and earned their spot.
   38. Don Malcolm Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4263474)
Girls, girls. You'll all be rooting for the Cardinals if they get back to the WS and are facing the Yankees. (Well, most of you, anyway.)

Try to keep the official and accepted hierarchy of hate in mind when you post this stuff, OK?
   39. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4263475)
I don't get it, either. This isn't that sourpussed Whiteyball team that specialized in bouncing hits off the Astroturf. This is a legitimately good team that's had numerous key injuries and is now able to operate at approximate full speed.
And if you didn't at least appreciate Whiteyball, you probably aren't a baseball fan.
   40. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:58 AM (#4263477)
salvo

speaking only for myself as i stated at the end of last year i was disgusted that a wide swath of cardinal fans gave up on their team in the latter stages of 2011 and then were rewarded with a championship.

i found that.........................distasteful

but that's just me
   41. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 11, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4263481)
No team is baseball history has ever been so good that they couldn't easily lose four of seven to a team within 5-10 games of them in overall quality.


I don't think you need to put the teams that closely together. With the exception of serious extreme matchups (e.g. '27 Yanks vs. '62 Mets) I don't think I would make any team more than a 75-25 favorite in a seven game series.
   42. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4263489)
Yes, while that stalwart Braves team always finds a way to choke in the crunch, while their zombie fans just sit there waving their little foam tomahawks in cadence to a canned chant over the loudspeakers, when they really want to be at a football game instead.


You're always quaint and entertaining in your way, Andy. Of course, no one is really talking about the Braves but you, are they? Not that you're new to the "having your own conversation with the voices in your head" idea, of course.

The question was asked "why all the Card hate." We're explaining that to the boy. First, because the Cards have won "championships" they don't deserve, and second, because their fan base is obnoxious.
   43. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4263494)
The Red Sox played a brilliant and dominant series, but that roster was more than capable of losing four of seven to a Cardinals team that easily would have won 90 in the AL. No team is baseball history has ever been so good that they couldn't easily lose four of seven to a team within 5-10 games of them in overall quality.


Mikael, I was noting the way that series played out, the availability of Carpenter wasn't going to dramatically alter the outcome. I'd never claim that the 2004 Cardinals could never beat the 2004 Red Sox in a 7-game series. But I firmly believe the Sox team that took the field in the 2004 postseason was the best team in baseball, and the outcome most definitely wasn't some kind of upset.
   44. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM (#4263497)
If only we had Strasburg then we could've lost 3-0 instead of 8-0


This, exactly. Just a lot of people longing for the "I told you so".

   45. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4263503)
No one honestly thought that when the Nationals took over first place on May 22 it was for good.


Rizzo knows they're going to win the NL East a few more times, but he shouldn't expect to win it when the team is in first place after a third of the season? He can't have it both ways.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4263507)
But I firmly believe the Sox team that took the field in the 2004 postseason was the best team in baseball, and the outcome was most definitely wasn't some kind of upset.
Oh, I do too. But I don't think a Cardinals victory would have been a surprise of any sort. That was a damn fine ballclub the Sox swept.
   47. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4263510)
Christ, why all the Cardinal hate?


Because I am sick and tired of them oozing into the playoffs every f#cking year and having the cosmic forces conspire to get them into the World Series and as earlier indicated, listen to Joe Buck leech off his father's legacy relaying the superior nature of their fans to us all.

I haven't given up. It's two games. Comically, people are blaming Davey here, I guess for not figuring out a way to have his #2 and #3 starters and partners in crime give up 20 runs in two fu#king games. Let's go Nats.
   48. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM (#4263512)
This, exactly. Just a lot of people longing for the "I told you so".


To be fair, a great many of us didn't need the 2-1 hole to begin telling so.
   49. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4263516)
If only we had Strasburg then we could've lost 3-0 instead of 8-0


This would be a nice tack for Rizzo to take in the post-series press conference. "Our team was so inept, we wouldn't have won if we'd activated Strasburg, Frank Howard, Goose Goslin and Walter Johnson."
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4263530)
I don't get it, either. This isn't that sourpussed Whiteyball team that specialized in bouncing hits off the Astroturf. This is a legitimately good team that's had numerous key injuries and is now able to operate at approximate full speed.

And if you didn't at least appreciate Whiteyball, you probably aren't a baseball fan.


I could've easily appreciated Whiteyball if it'd been played on anything but a Superball playing field. I've got nothing against the running game---hell, I would've enjoyed the deadball era---but if you consider "artificial turf hits" a legitimate part of baseball, then I'd say you're not much of baseball fan yourself.

-----------------------------------------

If only we had Strasburg then we could've lost 3-0 instead of 8-0

O ye of little faith. Strasburg would've obviously led the Nats to a 0 to -2 win.
   51. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4263532)
I suppose it makes a more interesting media narrative to say that the Nationals are losing because of Strasburg's absence, but it doesn't seem to actually jibe with what's going on on the field. The 30 runners they've stranded in three games, on the other hand, has had a substantial effect. I'm surprised the media isn't jumping on the narrative of unclutchy young players instead of rehashing the Strasburg decision.
   52. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4263541)
I suppose it makes a more interesting media narrative to say that the Nationals are losing because of Strasburg's absence
Baseball is a team game such that no one ever loses because of one player. But having an ace in their rotation over a league averageish pitcher would have improved the Nationals odds of winning this series by several points. It's easy to argue against claims that only people who don't understand baseball would make, but it doesn't serve to defend the actual choices the Nats made.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4263547)
I could've easily appreciated Whiteyball if it'd been played on anything but a Superball playing field. I've got nothing against the running game---hell, I would've enjoyed the deadball era---but if you consider "artificial turf hits" a legitimate part of baseball, then I'd say you're not much of baseball fan yourself.


Artificial turf was great, even if I didn't realize it at the time*. It opened up an entirely new way of winning baseball games. You could play Earl Ball or Whitey Ball, and both were winning formalas if you had the talent. It's much better than the single style that small parks, jumpy balls and thin bat handles have wrought.

(And yes, Randy, your objection has been noted).

* Not speaking aesthetically, of course. It was ugly, and every instinct I have says that playing baseball on plastic should be an affront to the game. But it really did bring running into the game, and that's enough to overcome my gut feelings (even if my Red Sox had very little hope whenever they traveled to KC).

   54. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4263548)
O ye of little faith. Strasburg would've obviously led the Nats to a 0 to -2 win.


His greatness would have led the umpires to declare that a shutout was not enough credit and that only by putting the Cards in negative numbers could justice be served.

I like Stras very much of course, but he really didn't pitch very well his last few starts. Is it a given that he would have in the postseason?
   55. Flynn Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4263560)
Oh, I do too. But I don't think a Cardinals victory would have been a surprise of any sort. That was a damn fine ballclub the Sox swept.


Swept in the most dominant victory in World Series history. I think that was the year it became obvious the NL was the weaker league. The Cardinal team was good (Carpenter + Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds and Walker is pretty good) but it wouldn't have won anywhere near 105 games in the AL. 90? Sure.
   56. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4263572)
Teams that have won World Championships in the last decade while winning 90 or fewer games in the regular season:

2011 Cardinals
2006 Cardinals

Nobody wants to see a third entry on the list.


In fact, only 2 other teams in the entire division era have won with fewer than 90 wins. The 2000 Yankees, and 1987 Twins. And only the 1995 Braves (in a strike shortened season, and 1974 A's won with 90.
   57. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4263575)
the Whiteyball teams won divisions. And they won 92, 101, and 95 games, not 83 and 88.


First off, the 83-win team did win their division. Just like the 82-win Mets in 1973 and the 85-win Twins in '87. And yes, I acknowledge that between the questionable quality of the team and the lackluster effort put forth by their opponents in the 2006 WS, that title is viewed by many (myself included) as cheaper than might otherwise be the case.

Because they routinely sneak in the back door of the playoffs and then run the table on the short series, which is ########.


Because I am sick and tired of them oozing into the playoffs every f#cking year and having the cosmic forces conspire to get them into the World Series


If by "sneaking in the back door" you mean winning their division (2006) or being a 90-win Wild Card team (2011), well, ####, I don't know what to tell you. That sounds pretty legit to me.

Even if I give you 2006 as being cheap---again, they won their division, but were fortunate to face a sleepwalking Detroit team---what are the others? Between 1968 and that 2006---almost 40 years---they were in 4 World Series, three of which they lost.

Where's the legacy of back-door sneakery? Was it last year??? That's bullshit, a 90-win team that finishes strong is legit. They beat the favored Phillies in a great series culminating in an epic 1-0 elimination game. That's great baseball, not sneakery. They averaged 7 runs a game and slugged .500 in taking the Brewers in 6, then battled through a classic World Series to emerge as champs. That's just great playoff baseball.

We all know the playoffs and the World Series aren't about finding out who's the "best team," and I realize that people at least want the teams in the running to be "deserving." But once you've made the playoffs you are deserving, by definition. Sh!tty, crappy teams don't make the postseason. Look at the roster of that 2006 Cardinal team, or the 2011 team, or this year's team, and you'll see a good, playoff-caliber team.

Once you're in, it's a crap shoot. For a team that's so lucky, to have made the postseason 9 times since 2000 but only have two titles doesn't seem so hot.
   58. Chris Needham Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4263583)
I'm seeing a lot of "Strasburg was terrible in two of his last three starts" start to pop up.

The only counter I'll offer? That the one of three was his dismantling of the Cardinals.
   59. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4263585)
Baseball is a team game such that no one ever loses because of one player. But having an ace in their rotation over a league averageish pitcher would have improved the Nationals odds of winning this series by several points.


Sure, I think everyone knows this, including Rizzo. What's happening here (by "here", I'm referring to the media reaction, not BBTF) is a post facto explanation for the Nationals failure (which isn't even yet assured) being the absence of Strasburg. The reality, if we're doing that sort of post facto explaining, is that they're losing because of a lack of timely hitting, and because the pitching has been much worse than it normally is.

If by "sneaking in the back door" you mean winning their division (2006) or being a 90-win Wild Card team (2011), well, ####, I don't know what to tell you. That sounds pretty legit to me.


I guess tell us that you disagree, which you have. Those are still back door entry...
   60. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4263597)
Those are still back door entry


Cue Mike Piazza reference
   61. spycake Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM (#4263602)
So Rizzo not only knows that this specific plan is best for Strasburg and the organization, he also anticipated losing the NLDS due to hitting deficiencies rather than pitching. Wow, that is some GM!

I hadn't thought about it from the perspective of other teams/GMs, but yeah, I don't think it's appreciated. This definitely opens the door for players/agents to make bolder demands as far as rest/rehab/usage.

Might have been nice to use Detwiler out of the bullpen in games 2 or 3. May not have made a difference, but they could have had a fresher bullpen for today's elimination game. Although I'm sure Rizzo already knows the bullpen won't be the reason they lose today. (Still hoping they win, by the way, although beyond this round, I'm not so sure)
   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4263612)
boy when cardsfanboy finds this thread you are all in deep sh8t

   63. Answer Guy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM (#4263616)
But having an ace in their rotation over a league averageish pitcher would have improved the Nationals odds of winning this series by several points. It's easy to argue against claims that only people who don't understand baseball would make, but it doesn't serve to defend the actual choices the Nats made.


It'll look especially bad if this turns out to be the Nats' only real chance at a title, and they chose to handicap themselves. I wouldn't necessarily predict that to be the case, but plenty of teams people thought were going places turned out to be one-year wonders. They did have several guys on both sides of the ball suddenly be markedly better than they had ever been before.

Teams have seasons where absolutely every last thing they do works out and some other seasons where absolutely nothing does. The latter is obvious while it's happening (see this year's Red Sox and to a lesser degree, this year's Phillies) while the former isn't except perhaps in retrospect.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4263617)

This would be a nice tack for Rizzo to take in the post-series press conference. "Our team was so inept, we wouldn't have won if we'd activated Strasburg, Frank Howard, Goose Goslin and Walter Johnson."


To be fair, some of those guys are dead.
   65. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4263621)
No, but you don't #### with the baseball gods.


Yes, and as Nolan proved in the other thread, those gods are bigger than Josh's god.

or something like that.
   66. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4263626)
Oh, I do too. But I don't think a Cardinals victory would have been a surprise of any sort. That was a damn fine ballclub the Sox swept.


Swept in the most dominant victory in World Series history.

Oh, really?
   67. Bug Selig Posted: October 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4263627)
Is it a given that he would have in the postseason?


Exactly as much as it's a given that he would have gotten hurt.
   68. spycake Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4263633)
What's happening here (by "here", I'm referring to the media reaction, not BBTF) is a post facto explanation for the Nationals failure (which isn't even yet assured) being the absence of Strasburg.


I don't know. Criticizing this argument, while possibly valid, only seems to affirm the "Rizzo was right" argument, which I still think is highly dubious. The details of the narrative were undoubtedly going to change as the Nats' playoffs fate was determined (and as their future with Strasburg plays out), but the underlying criticism hasn't changed at all: the Nationals made a decision to put less than their best team on the field for the playoffs.
   69. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM (#4263637)
Regardless of whether or not they get blown out by 20 runs today absolutely refusing to alter Strasburg's usage and sitting him down for the playoffs was beyond stupid. Lying about the evidence and information that one had just makes it all the more loathsome.

This is not a team that should be rewarded for its stupidity. If I wasn't living in DC right now I'd be cheering for a metor that takes out both teams.

If I wasn't living DC and have a chance to get WS tickets the team I'd be cheering to go to the Series in the NL would be the Giants since they would be the least objectionable team still standing. Over in the AL it would be the A's followed by the Orioles.
   70. SoSH U at work Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4263643)
Oh, really?


From a margin of victory standpoint, the 2007 Red Sox beat all of them (though not the 2001 Diamondbacks or 1961 Yankees).
   71. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4263647)
The only counter I'll offer? That the one of three was his dismantling of the Cardinals.


Yeah, for 6 innings. Then he was at 100 pitches and left the game and the Birds got into the pen for 3 runs in three innings.

Do you think if Strasburg wasn't shut down he'd be going longer than 6 innings in a postseason game? He's routinely at or above 100 pitches after 6...
   72. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4263660)
So the pen was predestined to give up all those runs regardless of situation and who they faced?

   73. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4263666)
Oh, I do too. But I don't think a Cardinals victory would have been a surprise of any sort. That was a damn fine ballclub the Sox swept.


Swept in the most dominant victory in World Series history. I think that was the year it became obvious the NL was the weaker league. The Cardinal team was good (Carpenter + Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds and Walker is pretty good) but it wouldn't have won anywhere near 105 games in the AL. 90? Sure.


Oh, really?

From a margin of victory standpoint, the 2007 Red Sox beat all of them (though not the 2001 Diamondbacks or 1961 Yankees).


That's fine, but I was responding to a point about 2004, not 2007.
   74. Spectral Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4263668)
I don't know. Criticizing this argument, while possibly valid, only seems to affirm the "Rizzo was right" argument, which I still think is highly dubious. The details of the narrative were undoubtedly going to change as the Nats' playoffs fate was determined (and as their future with Strasburg plays out), but the underlying criticism hasn't changed at all: the Nationals made a decision to put less than their best team on the field for the playoffs.


I think I miscommunicated. My point is that the results of the playoffs simply can't validate or invalidate Rizzo's decision making process. As all of us here know, Strasburg's presence would increase their chances of winning each series by a few percentage points. That's not a trivial thing at all, especially when considering the multiplicative effect of going multiple rounds deep. What I'm objecting to is any sort of narrative about the playoffs being blamed on Strasburg.

Because the whole thing makes me feel snarky (and I suspect this is the case for others), we're inclined to point out that the narrative being painted doesn't even describe what's actually happened on the field.
   75. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4263684)
So the pen was predestined to give up all those runs regardless of situation and who they faced?


No, but you can't assume the pen would be any better than their current demonstrated level of postseason effectiveness... (10 earned runs in 13 innings, with a 1.69 WHIP)
   76. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4263696)
I think the problems for the Nationals are:

1. The very fact that people are wondering about this is bad.

2. The defense of this move has involved people seriously arguing that the loss of the team's best pitcher - and one of the best pitchers in the league - is not significant.

3. If it's not the time for Strasburg, with the Nats in the playoffs with arguably the best team, when in the hell are they saving him for? Speculative future playoff runs with teams not as good and when they only have him under team control for a limited time? You play the game for a playoff run like this - or so I've been told by some of the same people who are fine with this move now.

Rizzo's move was silly and bizarre at the time, and looks no better now.

And the biggest problem is that Rizzo pulled this 160-IP limit out of his ass.
   77. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4263697)
OK, I'll admit I haven't paid much attention to this whole saga, but regardless of the effects/lack thereof on the team's postseason performance - did Rizzo ever give any rationale as to why it wasn't feasible to shut Strasburg down for, say, the last few weeks of the regular season, give him plenty of rest, and then bring him back for a start or two in the playoffs? Was there any data that would indicate that a total shutdown instead of extended rest was the only viable way to save his arm?
   78. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4263699)
No, but you can't assume the pen would be any better than their current demonstrated level of postseason effectiveness... (10 earned runs in 13 innings, with a 1.69 WHIP)

With 6 of those runs and 5 of those innings coming in Game 2. Should we expect Gio or Stephen to only go 3 innings in game 2?
   79. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4263702)
OK, I'll admit I haven't paid much attention to this whole saga, but regardless of the effects/lack thereof on the team's postseason performance - did Rizzo ever give any rationale as to why it wasn't feasible to shut Strasburg down for, say, the last few weeks of the regular season, give him plenty of rest, and then bring him back for a start or two in the playoffs? Was there any data that would indicate that a total shutdown instead of extended rest was the only viable way to save his arm?

Rizzo didn't think shutting Strasburg down for a month and then starting him back up would be a good idea. He thought it was too risky.

I think the reality is that Rizzo like most people at his level in his profession was risk adverse. He had a "book" and he was following it and furthermore by following it the advantages would be almost impossible to measure when it would matter.
   80. BDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4263704)
Count me in as one of the non-hysterical on this issue. But I first-guessed it too, and I must say, if the Nats lose to St Louis, they'll have to take some criticism. The only way to defuse it will be to follow Strasburg to a series win next year, thereby proving their long-term smarts.

As to the Cardinals, I have as much right to hate them as anybody, but I have to say that Chris Carpenter is a serious pitching mensch. It's very hard to hate someone who consistently goes out there and kicks playoff butt, even if your team's is the butt being kicked. My respect is accorded.
   81. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4263709)
I want Nats vs. Reds really badly. I can't remember the last time we had an LCS without at least one sort of eh team. 98 wins vs. 97 wins sounds pretty sweet.
   82. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4263711)
The only way to defuse it will be to follow Strasburg to a series win next year, thereby proving their long-term smarts.

Well, a WS win covers up a lot of things but it doesn't actually prove that his plan was correct. If they win the series next year the argument can be that not only could they have won in 2013 but in 2012 as well.
   83. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4263714)
I want Nats vs. Reds really badly. I can't remember the last time we had an LCS without at least one sort of eh team. 98 wins vs. 97 wins sounds pretty sweet.

Except both teams are no longer 98 and 97 win teams because of injuries and usage decisions.
   84. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4263722)

Rizzo didn't think shutting Strasburg down for a month and then starting him back up would be a good idea. He thought it was too risky.


Did he ever point to any evidence for that belief other than his "gut?" If that was his basis for ruling out what would seem to be the optimal solution, I can see why people are pissed.
   85. salvomania Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4263725)
With 6 of those runs and 5 of those innings coming in Game 2.


And 4 more (earned) runs coming in 8 innings in Games 1 and 3, meaning the starters (including Gio) only went 5 innings in each of those as well.
   86. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4263726)
Well, a WS win covers up a lot of things but it doesn't actually prove that his plan was correct.

nor does elimination prove it wrong.
   87. BDC Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4263730)
If they win the series next year the argument can be that not only could they have won in 2013 but in 2012 as well

OK, so they'll actually have to win in '13 and '14 to come out ahead :)


it doesn't actually prove that his plan was correct.

nor does elimination prove it wrong


I think we can take this whole nil post facto doctrine a bit far. If you can't argue from results, then any decision in the long run is the same as anything else. I think it's human nature, and not particularly irrational, to ask "hey, how is that choice working out for you?"
   88. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: October 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4263739)
if the Cards womp up the jams today


Nothing would make me happier than for catchphrases from comedy podcasts to take over sports discourse.
   89. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4263752)
nor does elimination prove it wrong.

It kinda does. Sitting Strasburg down decreased the chances of winning games and he did so while gaining virtually nothing. Rizzo's plan for Strasburg is not the only way to go about handling this situation. Win or lose there were better ways to handle it but Rizzo refused to alter his decision.
   90. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4263754)
Did he ever point to any evidence for that belief other than his "gut?" If that was his basis for ruling out what would seem to be the optimal solution, I can see why people are pissed.

He claimed he talked to doctors and experts on this subject and he came to his conclusions based on their advice. Yet the doctors have stated that they were not part of the process.
   91. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4263770)
"You don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain." - Leo Durocher.

And the Cardinals suck.
   92. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4263783)
He claimed he talked to doctors and experts on this subject and he came to his conclusions based on their advice. Yet the doctors have stated that they were not part of the process.


Nor do the doctors have anything meaningful to add, other than pronouncing a pitcher injured or healthy or healthy enough to start rehabbing or pitch in games.

They have precisely nothing to add on the subject of a 160-IP limit, or what IP-limit is best for pitchers coming off of TJ, or whether preventing a pitcher from increasing his workload by >50 innings from season to season is best, etc etc etc. Rizzo pretty much made up the basis for his decision from whole cloth.

Rizzo decreased his team's chances of winning a postseason series, and now in an elimination game the Nats have their 5th starter on the mound instead of Strasburg.

The Nats almost need to win a future championship on the back of Strasburg to make up for reducung an opportunity to win one with the best team in the league. And even if they win one, there's not much to say that Rizzo's decision helped in the least.

And if Strasburg gets hurt in future years, or Bryce Harper does, or the Nats aren't as good, it's a problem that they reduced this opportunity.
   93. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4263797)
Did he ever point to any evidence for that belief other than his "gut?" If that was his basis for ruling out what would seem to be the optimal solution, I can see why people are pissed.

Yes, he did. I'm sure people will correct my details, but he had, I believe, a 50-page binder with information and statistics. He also had the plan formed with the doctor who performed the surgery, and also Dr. Andrews.

People are welcome to disagree with the conclusions, with the data, or even with the credentials of the surgeons, but it's disingenuous to claim that he pulled the number out of his ass.
   94. McCoy Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4263801)
He also had the plan formed with the doctor who performed the surgery, and also Dr. Andrews.

Except the doctors have stated they were not part of the planning and were not involved in creating the plan.


The doctor who performed elbow surgery on Stephen Strasburg said he did not tell the Washington Nationals to shut down their ace pitcher.

“I wasn’t asked,” Dr. Lewis Yocum told the Los Angeles Times.

Yocum said he had not talked with Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo since last year and had not talked with Strasburg since spring training….

Yocum said that, had he been asked, he would not have been able to provide conclusive information about whether Strasburg’s long-term health would be best served by shutting him down.

“There’s no statistic as far as studies,” Yocum said.

Yocum noted that Rizzo set his own standard with Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann….

Yocum said that process — and not any medical directive — essentially determined how Rizzo would proceed with Strasburg.

“It’s based on Mike’s experience,” Yocum said. “Mike is extremely confident. His track record speaks for itself. Zimmermann did extremely well.”

Yocum said the results with Zimmermann and Strasburg might well influence how other teams handle the progress of young pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, in which a damaged ligament in the forearm is replaced.

“If there was a guarantee, everybody would be doing it right now,” Yocum said. “You just don’t know. This may be the beginning of a trend.”





We had a whole thread about this a month ago.
   95. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4263808)
Yes, he did. I'm sure people will correct my details, but he had, I believe, a 50-page binder with information and statistics. He also had the plan formed with the doctor who performed the surgery, and also Dr. Andrews.

People are welcome to disagree with the conclusions, with the data, or even with the credentials of the surgeons, but it's disingenuous to claim that he pulled the number out of his ass.
It's certainly true that Rizzo said he had a binder, and I don't doubt that a lot of work went into the Strasburg decision.

However, I think your post treads close to disingenuous in describing the binder and the data. I can't disagree with the conclusions or the data because I haven't seen them. I have no idea what Rizzo's reasons are, what his data is, how it was collected or analyzed, any of that. In the absence of any actually available evidence, I see no reason to assume that he's right.
   96. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4263817)
Yes, he did. I'm sure people will correct my details, but he had, I believe, a 50-page binder with information and statistics. He also had the plan formed with the doctor who performed the surgery, and also Dr. Andrews.


A "50-page binder" that nobody in the public has seen and that couldn't have informed any 160-IP or similar limit for pitchers coming off of TJ as opposed to any other strategy. There was nothing that could possibly have concluded that one reasonable strategy was better than another (e.g., having him take 2 months off in-season), or even that any strategy was better than letting him pitch, other than the simple fact, known for over a century, that pitchers who are pitching might get injured. As I've said, it would be like having a "50-page binder" on whether God exists.

And the doctor first specifically denied any involvement in the plan, later walking back that somewhat in a bizarre follow up statement that conflicted his first statement on the matter in various material ways.

People are welcome to disagree with the conclusions, with the data, or even with the credentials of the surgeons, but it's disingenuous to claim that he pulled the number out of his ass.


No, it is not. He doesn't have evidence that this strategy is better than any other reasonable strategy, including letting Strasburg simply pitch. He can't have.
   97. GuyM Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4263819)
I want Nats vs. Reds really badly. I can't remember the last time we had an LCS without at least one sort of eh team. 98 wins vs. 97 wins sounds pretty sweet.

2012 NL run differential leaders:
WSN 0.8
STL 0.7
ATL 0.6
CIN 0.5
SFG 0.4

The Cards belong this year. Which, ironically, you can tell just from the obvious fear emanating from the comments of the Cards-haters in this thread
   98. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4263822)
It'll look especially bad if this turns out to be the Nats' only real chance at a title, and they chose to handicap themselves.

Imagine if the '81 Expos had shut down Steve Rogers.
   99. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: October 11, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4263837)
I am not interested in re-hashing the thread from a month ago, so I will just point out in response to #94 that Yocum the very next day said that he was misquoted and that he was involved. In response to #96 I will agree that we do not know what's in the binder, so you can reasonably be skeptical that Rizzo has good information. However, it's a large leap to continuously claim that he pulled the number out of his ass. The most you can say is that you don't know. In response to #95, I am not being disingenous. I pointed out a fact, I did not make any claims about the validity.
   100. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 11, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4263843)
The Cards belong this year.

Pythag wins aren't wins. Wins are the things that show you belong.
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