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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Stephen Strasburg ducks personal responsibility; blames “game plan” for his failures

In three at-bats Friday night against Jason Heyward, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg threw 18 fastballs out of 19 pitches. When Heyward came to the plate with two on and two outs in the fifth inning, Strasburg threw him all fastballs, seven total. Three of them, Heyward fouled back. The seventh, Heyward tomahawked to the right field warning track. The two-run double opened a 4-1 lead for the Braves, who would win 6-4 in 13 innings.

Why so many fastballs? “I guess it was the plan going in,” Strasburg said. “I don’t think it’s the right plan. But that’s what we went with.”

McCatty declined to address on Strasburg’s comment because he had not spoken with him. Before he was apprised of Strasburg’s sentiment, McCatty was asked about pitching Heyward with so many fastballs. He suggested every pitcher can decide what pitch to throw, in every circumstance.

“Every one of these guys has the ability to go out and make pitches of what they want to do,” McCatty said. “Everybody we talk about, we go over their tendencies, what they want to do. When they go out there, they have the ability to make the pitches they want to make. I guess it’s best just to leave it that. I don’t force, nor have I forced, any of these guys. They know how to pitch, and they’re trying to make the pitches they wanted to use.”

Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 22, 2014 at 10:13 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 22, 2014 at 05:56 PM (#4732877)
Good grief. Keep your little piehole shut Stevie, and try learning how to pitch one of these days. And please try to do it sooner rather than later.
   2. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: June 22, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4732896)
Strasburg really shouldn't being saying what he said.

Strasburg is having a pretty good year and his peripherals suggest he could have an even better second half. He's leading the NL in K/9 and k/bb ratio. That's pretty good.
   3. Esoteric Posted: June 22, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4732906)
Way to rewrite the headline there, Joey B.

Not that I'm innocent of such things in the past, but c'mon...
   4. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 22, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4732972)
Way to rewrite the headline there, Joey B. Not that I'm innocent of such things in the past, but c'mon...

True, but I like my headline better, because it neatly encapsulates the truth.

Strasburg is having a decent year, but he got hammered all over the park on Friday and he's clearly blaming for it others with his statements. He's not a rookie anymore, and he needs to grow up, right now.
   5. cheng Posted: June 22, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4733173)
Living in DC and having Strasburg in my keeper league means I watch a lot of his starts. He really does need to get his head on straight, I've never seen a pitcher toggle between unhittable and unplayable so quickly based on nothing more than a defensive misplay or a 2-out RBI hit on a good pitch. It's as if he's so fragile that anything that breaks him out of his "groove" immediately leads to big innings, and it's incredibly frustrating. I feel like if he's in the 4th inning with 6 Ks already, just dealing, but then gets a 2-out error, he's going to stare down his own defender and then the next hitter is going to homer because Strasburg lost his concentration. This has happened at least 3 times that I remember, though it seems like a lot more than that. I don't know what it will take to break him of this habit, but it's certainly frustrating to fans and teammates alike.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 22, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4733191)
when post 5 describes was dave stieb's one real negative. stieb was a fantastic pitcher but boy could he be a jerk at times
   7. Brian Posted: June 22, 2014 at 09:51 PM (#4733192)
I saw a Strasburg-Harvey matchup last year and the ump squeezed them both a bit and/or just had trouble with the movement they both had. Harvey just sucked it up and came back in getting more of the plate and shutting the Nats down. Srasburg lost all rhythm and began taking a long time between pitches, stomping around and showing terrible body language. I coached youth baseball for years and I wouldn't have let that go with a 12 year old but Strasburg took himself out of his rhythm and eventually out of the chance of winning the game. Incredibly immature performance.
   8. Justin T is planting accountability seeds Posted: June 22, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4733193)
Strasburg being Strasburg is why it was weird for Davey Johnson to call out Maddon for being a weird wuss. Take care of your own house first.
   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 22, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4733217)
when post 5 describes was dave stieb's one real negative. stieb was a fantastic pitcher but boy could he be a jerk at times


I was thinking the exact same thing while reading Post 5.
   10. boteman asks Where's My Ring? Posted: June 22, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4733229)
I believe post #7 describes the game in which Mets fans began rhythmically chanting "HAR-vey's BET-ter!" which was true that game, to be sure. I doubt the chanting improved his performance.

As part of the usual journalistic drum-beating during Spring Training an article appeared in The Post describing how Strasburg's new fatherhood brought upon him a greater maturity. I have seen some evidence of that, but it's safe to say he has a bit further to go to maintain focus through rough spots in his outings.

Stras has credited Ian Desmond with keeping him on an even keel during games; he's the last one I might have expected to do that, but if it works, use it.
   11. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 22, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4733234)
Just to be safe, they should shut his mouth down for the duration of the year.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: June 22, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4733244)

Desmond got a huge Wa Post profile last month re young player as Husband and Dad, so makes sense that he would be the goal (if the details aren't just spin)

   13. Lindor Truffles Posted: June 23, 2014 at 03:20 AM (#4733287)
They wrote the same articles about CC when he was in Cleveland. Didn't blame his defense but he had terrible body language and had a lot of inning 'snowball' on him. I've not seen him as much in NY the last few years so I'm not sure if that's returned or if he's legitimately losing stuff. He never really learned it before going to MIL.
   14. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 23, 2014 at 05:21 AM (#4733292)
#5
All Red Sox fans will simply say, " please see Buchholz, Clay"

   15. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 23, 2014 at 05:27 AM (#4733293)
Are they really going to send De La Rosa down so they can keep Doubront in the rotation and bring Buchholz off the DL? What kind of message is that to send to their young players?

I don't know which Stevie Joey B is talking about, but both Strasburg and McCatty know a lot more about pitching than you do, dude.
   16. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: June 23, 2014 at 06:36 AM (#4733295)
So if we lived in a world where all pitchers became free agents at the end of the season, is Strasburg getting the biggest deal on the open market? Is he in the top 5 at least?

I only ask because I sense there is a feeling of mild disappointment around him right now.
   17. PASTE Will Notice Harper When He Hits .467 (Zeth) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 08:44 AM (#4733333)
Kershaw would get the biggest deal; Darvish, Hernandez, Tanaka, Wainwright would likely get more than Strasburg, I'd imagine. Not sure what Johnny Cueto would get.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 08:52 AM (#4733340)
Kershaw would get the biggest deal; Darvish, Hernandez, Tanaka, Wainwright would likely get more than Strasburg, I'd imagine. Not sure what Johnny Cueto would get.

Concur that Kershaw would be #1, with Felix close behind. Kershaw gets more b/c he's younger.
   19. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:03 AM (#4733348)
It's kind of amazing that a guy with his peripherals has a career 128 ERA+ in over 500 IP. Obviously that's still pretty good, but it seems like it should be a lot higher. (It's also amazing that that 128 ERA+ is paired with an ERA that's almost under 3 (3.01). I still haven't fully adjusted to the lower levels of offense.)
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:13 AM (#4733356)
It's kind of amazing that a guy with his peripherals has a career 128 ERA+ in over 500 IP. Obviously that's still pretty good, but it seems like it should be a lot higher. (It's also amazing that that 128 ERA+ is paired with an ERA that's almost under 3 (3.01). I still haven't fully adjusted to the lower levels of offense.)

He has a pretty severe split with men on base: 123 career tOPS+ (Felix has a 111, and Kershaw has a 106).

Maybe he just struggles from the stretch?
   21. thetailor (Brian) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4733365)
Getting back to the headline-- Strasburg doesn't seem to be saying that the game plan came from the bench. If I'm a pitcher and I get beat in my own pitch selection I might say something exactly like that too. Unless I'm missing something I think Joey B is really reading into Strasburg's comments.

Also I was at that Strasburg-Harvey game... It was awesome.

I second most of what people have said above. Stras has been great (I'm deeply investd in him in a keeper league too) but there is some very mild disappointment around him. I still think that he can be better, but not as much as I used to think so.
   22. Ron J2 Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4733367)
#6 Jim Palmer could be in that group too, though the fact that he generally played in front of excellent defenses helped to make it a fairly rare occurrence. I know Pat Kelly once threatened to punch his lights out after one particularly egregious display.
   23. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4733373)
Unless I'm missing something I think Joey B is really reading into Strasburg's comments.

You're missing something. Both McCatty and Williams were pretty ticked off at his comments, and justifiably so. I can only imagine how annoyed his teammates probably are, but most of them of course will never say anything publicly.

It MIGHT be possible to dismiss this as a one-off if it was truly an isolated incident. But Strasburg is a world class blame deflector and has been acting like a baby for far too long now. It's time for him to grow up.
   24. PASTE Will Notice Harper When He Hits .467 (Zeth) Posted: June 23, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4733380)
Maybe he just struggles from the stretch?


Many are quick to blame this on immaturity, but I also am more inclined to believe he just sucks from the stretch. It can certainly be both factors creating a deadly downward spiral--he struggles from the stretch, which makes him frustrated because he's immature, which makes him suck even more from the stretch, which...
   25. Ron J2 Posted: June 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4733429)
#24 Wouldn't be the first power pitcher to have a tough time from the stretch. Nolan Ryan was a fair amount worse with runners on (.221/.320/.325, and a .240 BAA with a runner on first and second open) than with no runners on (.191/.298/.279)
   26. Moeball Posted: June 25, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4735391)
Good grief. Keep your little piehole shut Stevie, and try learning how to pitch one of these days. And please try to do it sooner rather than later.


He's not a rookie anymore, and he needs to grow up, right now.

Career ERA of 3.01 with a 128 ERA+. Even so far in this "poor" season he has a 113 ERA+.

My Padres should have such immature pitchers.

If you're really so disappointed in him you could always send him our way!

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