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Morning Reading

I'll start here by throwing out a few links, because there's plenty of good stuff to discuss today. The O's are coming to town. (Do we care more? Is this a rivalry series -- as those responsible for selling tickets want you to believe -- or just a cause for more traffic?) The Nats have a winning streak. (OK, it's a modest one.) Their closer is throwing gas -- 11 of 19 pitches hit or topped 96 mph last night.

First of all, here is the game story from last night. I'm always intrigued by the nature of what it means to be a teammate at the MLB level; it's so circumstantial, and I try to touch on that a bit here. Think about it: At every other level, guys sharing a uniform have either 1.) grown up together or 2.) been drafted together and are, thus, about the same age. But in a big league clubhouse, that's entirely gone, and being a good teammate means finding a way to force bonds fast.

Prior to yesterday, Joel Hanrahan knew little about Craig Stammen as a pitcher. "But I'd heard [John] Lannan talk about him, because they're pretty close," Hanrahan said.

Lannan, needless to say, was one of Stammen's biggest supporters, and spoke highly of his stock. (*)

So before Stammen debuted, Hanrahan approached the rookie and said, "I'm excited today. I finally get to see this Craig Stammen guy pitch."


The Post-Gazette's Chuck Finder has the gamer from the Pittsburgh side; check out some interesting comments from Delwyn Young.

More and more, it's looking like the indy ball adventure won't hurt Aaron Crow's prospect status. See here and here.

Jeff Passan has an amusing and thoughtful take on Stephen Strasburg.

Sheinin writes about Nick Markakis, who's earning every dollar of his new contract.


(*) If you're curious about the background between Lannan and Stammen, just know this. They were drafted one round apart in 2005, and roomed or lived together -- almost without interruption -- for the next two years.

"We were in short-season Vermont right away," Lannan said. "I was an 11th-rounder, he was a 12th-rounder. We lived together. We lived together in Vermont. We lived together in Savannah. And we were roommates on the road with Class A Potomac. We played almost 2-1/2 years together, and he was the one guy I kept in touch with over these last few years... He's always worked his butt off. He actually got me motivated when we were playing together in low Class A and short-season. He always worked out hard, and I tried to follow him. We lived together, and I knew he always had it in him. He did really well at the end of last year, and it just carried over. We were roommates in spring training, and I could see he was getting hungry."

By Chico Harlan  |  May 22, 2009; 9:27 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A Strong Start, A Strong Fastball
Next: Zimmerman vs. Markakis, Straight Up


To save everyone from a terribly mediocre Post-Gazette gamer (sorry, Chico, if it's a friend):

"The part about being a pinch-hitter, you get one pitch early, and, hopefully, you don't miss the one pitch."

He felt home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild did miss it.

"Three-one was not a strike," as Fairchild called it, Young continued. "It was up. They make mistakes, just like we do. It happens time and time again."

He happens to be right, but that's baseball! God knows how many times we've been cheated out of strikes.

Posted by: Section506 | May 22, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the readings, Chico. I particularly like the behind-the-scenes stuff. Maybe the fact that he was hungry explains the big price-tag grocery shopping expedition in spring training? (Can't find the post on that from ST but seem to remember that Lannan was involved.)

BTW, my computer goes into lala land when I try the Passan link.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Second that, 506.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and confidential to JiM: that was some game in Chicago last night. Was just reading the gamer, 20 runs on 20 hits, eh?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I realize things fell apart incredibly quickly for Stammen in the 7th, but anyone who thinks he shouldn't have gone out there to start the inning is dead wrong. 68 pitches through 6? Pitching a 1-hitter? No decision.

The only thing I fault Acta for is NOT sending out St. Claire to talk to the kid after he gave up the homer. That does two things:
- settles the kid down, reassures him that all is not lost b/c he's given up a tying homer, focus on the next two batters, etc.
- Gives the BP another couple minutes to get warmed up and be ready.

Instead, no mound visit, not even after the next double. Just a visit to yank him.

Bad handling of a rookie pitcher in the biggest day of his life, in my opinion.

Posted by: tboss | May 22, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I was hoping that Bard might go out there, tboss.

Also, the Bog has a Nats post up, hatin' on the MASN commercials. Whatever.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Which reminds me, I have to give Bard props for his work with Stammen last night. Evidently they'd worked together quite a bit in Syracuse. The Bard's bat woke up some, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

This team has talent especially where starting pitching is concerned, i'm not sure about leaving Detweiler and Stammen up here one of them needs to go back to the minors probably Ross but the way he pitched in his first start...... he starts again this weekend? I like Stammen he kept a good hitting team off balance for the most part and had Flores been behind the plate i think he would have survived that inning and probably got his first win. Does anybody see both of these younsters sticking until the all-star break?

Posted by: dargregmag | May 22, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I think that 295 has hit the nail on the head . . . it is also why it is so frustrating when they lose. It could still be a good summer.
It's a fun team when they win.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited

Posted by: lowcountry | May 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The Nats are back to .300! If they can just go 20-20 over the next 40, they'll be at .400. One step at a time. Winning more than once a week will be refreshing.

It was great to see Guz, NJ, Zim and Dunn get hits during that rally. And such a nice job by Stammen. Things are looking up.

Posted by: nats24 | May 22, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with last night. Just wondering if anyone here thinks Ray Knight would be a good choice as manager or do you think his days have passed.

Posted by: dovelevine | May 22, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

New post time already? Guess everyone's excited about the Spellman Cup.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 22, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

You mean the MASN cup?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

So Lannon what you really mean is you just LIVED with Stammen, just wanted to clear that up.

Posted by: mintbucket | May 22, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Nope. Gladys Noon Spellman Cup.

I'm pretty sure it was 506's suggestion last year. I like it a lot better than naming the competition after a television network.

Posted by: Scooter_ | May 22, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Ah, I see. I'm still clueless as to who that might be, though.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Never mind. I bought a clue from nunof in the new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

foulke likely will wait for a call from a major league team.

Posted by: surly_w | May 22, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico - great stuff here and in the gamer. Thanks!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | May 22, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

OK, I have read both gamers, and I am always amazed at why you guys choose to write about what you do. It's like we are at different games.

Posted by: paulkp | May 22, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Real Baseball Intelligence (RBI), a leading resource in the evaluation of amateur baseball talent and draft coverage, offers its 2009 Baseball Draft Guide. The Guide includes RBI's Top 400 draft prospects (including Andrew Carraway), scouting reports of the top ten players at each position, a mock draft and more. It is available at

Posted by: bhyman1 | May 22, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Gee, anyone know a good source for information about the draft? I keep looking but can't find anything.

Posted by: paulkp | May 22, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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