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Another Rough Start For Balester

Collin Balester might want to start shopping for these, because it's cold in Syracuse. Even in April. His start, in the fourth inning, went from shaky to shoddy. In that frame alone: six hits allowed, four runs. You saw all the telltale problems: He was unable to work the count or locate his pitches. The Tigers were smacking the ball. Balester only got the final out because a baserunner was thrown out at third trying to advance on a hit; otherwise, he would have faced Gary Sheffield, who'd already homered against Bally Star earlier in the game.

Balester's line through four (and I'm guessing that's all he'll go):

4 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K

It's looking like Balester, who arrived in the majors with some fanfare last year, is close to pitching himself out of the rotation. Balester simply doesn't look ready. He's making too many mistakes. If he starts the year with Class AAA Syracuse, it won't signal some sort of career collapse; remember, he's still just 22. But his standing within the organization -- and his role in its future -- has taken a hit. Zimmermann, Lannan, Martis, et al have all taken steps forward, and you have to imagine Stephen Strasburg in the mix, too.

Where does that leave Balester?

By Chico Harlan  |  March 20, 2009; 2:21 PM ET
 
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Comments

Sharing the same upstate New York clubhouse with Da Meat Loaf, that's where.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 20, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

... I hope Collin isn't getting too discouraged. The best sign of maturity in this case would be to realize in himself that he's not yet ready for the show. That doesn't mean he doesn't have the stuff; I doubt he'd have come this far if someone didn't see something of value in him.

... I hope he shows outward willingness to go to SYR in order to develop as he should.

... I expect to see his name on the big team in due course.

... don't give up hope, Collin. perseverance will win the day, and then the day will be yours.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Well said, natscan.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Well the good news is that nobody has ever been inducted to or held out of the HOF for their stats in March. A solid start in SYR will give everyone a case of short term amnesia.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | March 20, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

remember, he's still just 22.

I'm banking on this. what I see is a live arm. you can't coach that

Posted by: sjt1455 | March 20, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

from previous post...

@PB69

I don't see how the Nats can keep Da Meat Loaf on the major league roster. Remember how JimBow emphasized what a "good influence" he would be for Milledge and Dukes, particularly? What example would he be in showing two young players that you don't have to stay in shape, don't have to be ready or able to play and you still get paid? Not the kind of influence I would want on my team, thank you.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 20, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"Where does that leave Balester?"

Still ahead of Shawn Hill!


In Feb, the Nats had a ton of SPs starting for 5 spots. Now the Nats have 6 SPs for 5 spots unless you count Wells or Chacin. Perez eliminated himself. The Nats cut Hill and Balester hasn't produced.

The news from the SP has either been really good (JL,JZ, SM) or really bad (Hill, DC, SO, CB, OP).

While this hurts Balester's standing, he's still the top pitching prospect left unless Russ D. turns things around.

Posted by: hoo93 | March 20, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wagner's line is looking nice so far.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking that, Patty. Great minds and all that...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Top of the 7th is taking a while. Wonder what that means. Chico???

Posted by: ramgut | March 20, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"I don't see how the Nats can keep Da Meat Loaf on the major league roster."

I missed the one you're replying to. Was PB arguing he should be on the major league roster?

He certainly is not right now, he was outrighted to Syracuse.

Posted by: Section506 | March 20, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

And it looks like we're making some progress against a pitcher named Ni (or is a knight that says Ni?).

So far, live boxscore says 2/3 of an inning, 2 ER given up to us. Looks like an RBI double to WMP and an RBI single to Castillo, now playing at 2B for Cintron.

Posted by: faNATic | March 20, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Fu-Te Ni, a lefthanded releiver from Taiwan

Posted by: Brian_ | March 20, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

We are the Nats who say Ni.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Hehe. I just noticed that faNATic had the same thought.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Hi. Hey, sorry to interrupt the spring training banter, but I went to get tickets at the Nationals Box Office at Nationals Park. What happened to the Nats Store? It's all torn up. What are they doing/changing? It's a new ballpark and they're tearing it up already? Anyone know? I missed that press release!

Posted by: PlayMLB | March 20, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

In Balester's defense, this should have been Hill's start...

Posted by: fischy | March 20, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I imagine they're revamping the store for the new season.

Here's hoping Balester works his tail off in Syracuse. (Dang it, too bad we couldn't have a Triple-A team in Richmond...)

Posted by: Juan-John | March 20, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't know about the team store but I heard that they've been reworking the Red Porch area. It was on Nats320, I think.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I thought GBE was gone, but he's in the boxscore (with an error).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Travel roster. Maxwell is playing and he was already sent to the minor league camp. Roster rules are non-existent in the spring.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 20, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Brian.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 20, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

He has command and control problems. Go figure! Nothing that a few hundred innings in upstate New York won't cure! Come-on Spin get this kid in fighting shape.

Welcome to the show, Zimm2 and Mr.Netherlands-Antilles, oh and u2 SDSU if Scott B authorizes your landing zone.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 20, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Not great for Spring Training when you are facing a couple of players that won't even be on the team in a couple of weeks.

I just think of that day last year when Balester was "miked" up on MASN in the dugout and says to Nick Johnson something like "Did you think I would have made it here?" Nick Johnson simply goes "NO".

Not overpowering and doesn't seem to have great command on his pitches on most of his starts and a shaky 5 1/2 ERA doesn't help.

Luckily he is young but seems to need some time to get himself back to form.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 20, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

GGG - your little Balester/NJ exchange cracked me up.

So our bullpen looked pretty good today.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game and Balester looked great ... and then it was 5-0.
A botched Double play ball and a soft single keeps the Tigers in the inning.
Balester will be fine and the Nats and its Fans will be glad he's around. He is working things out and will be a great addition to the club whenever that time may be.
Out of Spring training or after some starts way up North. This kid has a great attitude and understands he is 22 years old and is willing to learn on the Job!!!

Posted by: Spinman | March 20, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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