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With Two Big Innings, Red Sox Rock Stammen

Craig Stammen is the least experienced of the Washington Nationals' young pitchers, and it hurt them last night.

The Boston Red Sox ransacked Stammen in two big innings and then stamped out Washington's comeback bid for a 6-4 win before a record crowd of 41,530 at Nationals Park.

"I had good stuff, but I made a couple of mistakes with it," Stammen said. "It's very frustrating. They capitalized on the mistakes. I'm not really worried what team I'm facing; I've got to throw my pitches with what I've got today."

In his seventh career start, Stammen faced into a lineup that included proven commodities: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis. He ran into a team that came to came to Washington hoping to reinforce its position atop the American League East. And he did it before a hometown crowd that was pulling for the team in the visitor's uniforms.

In winnings its fourth straight game, Boston received production from some of the usual suspects. David Ortiz went 2 for 3 with a three-run home run off Stammen in the fourth inning. Jason Varitek went 1 for 4 and blasted a two-run homer off Stammen in the sixth.

Stammen allowed six runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk in 5 1/3 innings. It was a step back from his previous outing, when he earned the first win of his career on Thursday in a 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees.

Scott Olsen, making a rehabilitation start last night with Class AAA Syracuse, allowed two runs and eight hits with five strikeouts over six innings. He threw 75 pitches, 58 for strikes. When Olsen returns from shoulder tendinitis, he is expected to nudge out one of Washington's young starters. It could be Stammen.

Asked about the reshuffling of the rotation, Manager Manny Acta said, "We have five days, and we'll make a decision."

By Mark Viera  |  June 24, 2009; 11:16 PM ET
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At least we weren't blown out tonight, but even so I just didn't feel like we were going to come back.

Unlike in 2005, 2006, and 2007, I've never felt the optimism in the past two seasons that the Nats could make the leap in the late innings. Our first walk-off this season came only a week ago.

At least it was a gorgeous night at the ballpark, perhaps the finest of the season.

Trying to fight off the jaded feeling here . . .

Posted by: msolem | June 24, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Olsen to the rotation.
Stammen to the bullpen.
Colome to the retirement home.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 24, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

I would rather see Stammen in AAA than in the bullpen. Learn how to do one thing, before learning another.

Posted by: Section506 | June 24, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Your right 506

We are going to need him healthy in September to give the young arms a rest anyway.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 24, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

This made me actually laugh out loud:

So, so so. Let's see, for years and years a good many of you have been trying to bash the O's franchise when Sox/Yankee fans overrun OPACY.

Glad you all are finally getting your comeuppance.

Nat's get a record crowd and a LARGE majority of them were rooting for the visiting team.


Posted by: Os_Exec | June 24, 2009 2:15 PM

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | June 24, 2009 6:16 PM

These two jackasses are the same guy.

Poopy/O's Exec, you need some professional help and a friggin' life.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 25, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey, O's_Exec, go get a hooker on the Block, and take your asbestos somewhere else. Do you seek validation? Do you need friends? Do you want us to tell you what a loser you are?

Posted by: hooverama | June 25, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

I went to the game tonight and I have just one thing to say to the Red Sox and their dumb fans:


freakin' lines to kingdom come, shuffling through the stadium at a snail's pace, the loud cheering against my team.

And you folks who think Boston fans are so smart about baseball, I'd like to point out that when their first baseman made a great, backhanded stop on a screamer up the baseline, half the stadium cheered Youkilis (Yooooooooook). It was Kotsay. Youkilis was at 3B the whole night.

Posted by: NatsNut | June 25, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't give up on Stammen yet. He rolled through the first 3. Are we looking at another sea-change in baseball where we have starter 1 for 3, giving way to starter 2? I hope not, but results like this point to it.

Posted by: nats24 | June 25, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

nats24 I agree, don't give up on Stammen, I though he had a good outing tonight bar a couple of mistakes. I know Olsen would have given up the house had he started, my two cents...

Posted by: BobBarker | June 25, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Another positive from the game: The bullpen didn't allow a run.

Now if only the starting pitching, bullpen and hitting could all do well AT THE SAME TIME, we might actually have a team....

Posted by: Juan-John | June 25, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Not having a major league catching is wearing the Nats down. OMG points this out in his blog.

First, the bottom half of the line-up is bereft of the pop that Jesus was bringing in. Secondly, the glue that holds the pitching game together is simply not there --- good catching quietly provides on-the-field leadership for young pitchers --- and its not there. Thirdly, other teams can steal at will on our AAA catchers.

No disrespect intended for Bard or Nieves who are serviceable once-a-week replacements. But without Jesus, the team is missing a major cog.

And management sees no reason to go dumpster diving for a short-term replacement. Bowden tried that with LoDuca and Estrada and made a mess on the books, on the field and in the club house.

So Manny is stuck without a core piece for 2/3 of the season. Gotta feel for him.

Posted by: nattydread1 | June 25, 2009 2:46 AM | Report abuse

Hit it Stank

Cheap is small and not too steep
But best of all cheap is cheap
Circumstance has forced my hand
To be a cut price person in a low budget land
Times are hard but well all survive
I just got to learn to economize

I'm on a low budget
I'm on a low budget
I'm not cheap, you understand
I'm just a cut price person in a low budget land
Excuse my shoes they dont quite fit
Theyre a special offer and they hurt me a bit
Even my trousers are giving me pain
They were reduced in a sale so I shouldnt complain
They squeeze me so tight so I can't take no more
Theyre size 28 but I take 34

I'm on a low budget
What did you say
I'm on a low budget
I thought you said that

I'm on a low budget
I'm a cut price person in a low budget land

I'm shopping at woolworth and low discount stores
I'm dropping my standards so that I can buy more

quality costs, but quality wastes,
So I'm giving up all of my expensive tastes.
Caviar and champagne are definite nos,
I'm acquiring a taste for brown ale and cod roes

Low budget sure keeps me on my toes
I count every penny and I watch where it goes
Were all on our uppers were all going skint
I used to smoke cigars but now I suck polo mints

I'm on a low budget
What did you say
Yea I'm on a low budget
I thought you said that
I'm on a low budget
I'm a cut price person in a low budget land
I'm on a low budget
Low budget
Low budget

Art takes time, time is money
Money's scarce and that aint funny
Millionaires are things of the past
We're in a low budget film where nothing can last
Moneys rare theres none to be found
So don't think I'm tight if I don't buy a round

I'm on a low budget
What did you say
Yes Im on a low budget
I thought you said that
I'm on a low budget
I'm a cut price person in a low budget land
I'm on a low budget
Say it again
Low budget
One more time
Low budget

[i look like a tramp, but dont write me off,
I'll have you all know, I was once a tough
At least my hair is all mine, my teeth are my own,
But everything else is on permanent loan.
Once all my clothes were made by hand,
Now Im a cut price person in a low budget land.
I'm on a low budget
Ill have you all know
We're on a low budget
I'm on a low budget]

Posted by: Brue | June 25, 2009 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Agree with nats24 and BobBarker. Olsen is a known commodity. Stammen is learning at the big league level. He's just faced two of the best lineups in baseball. He's 1-1 and doing ok.

Bottom line is the Sox don't waste scoring opportunities and the Nats capitalize on 1 in 5 (this may be generous) chances. That makes it very difficult to hang with a team like Boston.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 25, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Another positive from the game: The bullpen didn't allow a run.

Now if only the starting pitching, bullpen and hitting could all do well AT THE SAME TIME, we might actually have a team....

Posted by: Juan-John

So, how many people, other than Manny, thought that things would turn out well when Kip Wells entered the game two nights ago? I mean I know he can't pitch the same four guys, but...

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 25, 2009 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Everyone -

I've still got this pit in my stomach from going to the game on Tuesday night and have to agree with the "GET OFF MY LAWN" quote. I can't remember the sequence of events but it was either just before or just after the top of the 8th debacle that the Nats took up the entire big screen to flash the attendance number and tell everyone/celebrate that it was a record crowd. I never leave games early but almost did then. How could the Nats decide to essentially congratulate all the Boston fans for coming to the park? Honestly, I was at opening day for the park opening and it actually seemed more full - could some creative soul actually counted people in the ballpark instead of the sales? All those Boston fans are going to be here regardless and didn't need anything else to cheer for. I've bought four tickets to every game the Nats have played in Washington DC and it was like a slap in the face to me. Sure... a fact is a fact and the fact was that it was a record crowd. But did the Lerners (or Stan for that matter) ever play sports at all??? We needed those Boston fans to shut up and sit down - not turn to me and say "Look what we did". It's about competition - it's about having some ego that you can actually win a game. Boston is a really, really good team this year and we needed to play perfect ball and catch a couple of breaks.

The top of the 8th was like a punch in the mouth to me and watching all those Boston people with their stupid green hats standing up piling it on really is still tough to deal with. Maybe our management team wants to win but do they really know how to fight or do they really just know how to make money?

Posted by: natslifer | June 25, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if the Red Sox players ever think about their payroll vs teams like the Nat's payroll? With a 4-6 times payroll, more than likely the Red Sox will win 8 out of 10 each time.

Wonder where the Red Sox fans were years ago when they were losing??? Probably the same place the Celtic fans were prior to getting Garnett and Allen.

Everybody loves a winner!

PS. I hear that Poopy still lives with his mom so he has a lot of resentment built up.

Posted by: fearturtle44 | June 25, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Poopy eats soiled kitty litter.

Posted by: Intrudr | June 25, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

I understand he now bypasses the litter part.

Posted by: CBinDC | June 25, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Went to the first two games of the Sawx Series and I can only say thank God Boston only comes to town every six years. I co-sign with NatsNut and natslifer about the preening, self-important BoSox fans. This "To the Manor Born" entitlement is nauseating. These front-runners either don't remember or weren't around when the team didn't draw a million fans in any season from 1961 to 1966 and actually twice finished behind the expansion Senators in 1965 and 1966. Even in 1967 when they won a surprise pennant, there were only 8,324 fans at opening day at Fenway. Hopefully by the time the Sawx return to the nation's capital the home team will be on more equal footing talent wise and payroll wise and we won't feel like interlopers in our own home stadium.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 25, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't quit your day job, Brue. Oh wait, you're already unemployed, aren't you? Hey, you could always go on American Idol and make a fool of yourself there, get your 15 minutes of fame and all that. Trust me, though. Your act ain't never gonna be #1 with a bullet here.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 25, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I saw some positives as well. No boneheaded errors, the bullpen was strong, and there was a comeback (which fell short, but still). I actually did have hope that we could come back all the way. But that's just me.

True on both counts re. "D'ohs Exec," 505. BTW, Nats Exec sends regards.

I hadn't picked up on the cheer during the broadcast, NatsNut, but...priceless!

I keep reading OMG as "oh, my G*d." (Must be my inner Valley Girl.)

I think it's all about the $, natslifer.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 25, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

INTRUDR: POOPY IS SOILED KITTY LITTER!!!.On another note why would Manny bat Willie Harris in the leadoff spot against a strikeout pitcher like Lester and a lefty too boot why not leave Guz(switchitter) in the leadoff spot with Harris(a lefty)further down in the lineup,didn't make sense.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 25, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

J Maxwell is hitting close to 400 with power and speed since he was sent down . We know he can play defense better than anyone we have and his hitting is coming around. I say DFA Kearns and bring up Maxwell. Play him on regular basis and bat him sixth, not eight. If given the right chance this guy is another Grady Sizemore. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving this guy a full shot this year.
If I am Rizzo, I trade Johnson, DFA Kearns and have Maxwell, Willingham, and Dukes playing the outfield. Maybe even trade Dunn and bring up someone to play first.

My main point is to give Maxwell a real shot .

Posted by: mjames0 | June 25, 2009 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I agree with NatsNut and natslifer and leetee1955

What we are discovering is that we are not who they want a relationship with.

We were just the booby prize of baseball.

That is why you have seen both the front office and even the broadcast team fawn all over the SAUUUEAX and the SAwEAXabain that follow them.

We are what they have to deal with so once in a while they experience what the real thing.

Posted by: CBinDC | June 25, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I too wondered why Harris was batting leadoff. My opinion on Harris is that he is absolutely not an everyday ML player anyway, and playing him everyday is never going to make him a good offensive player. Yet, the Nats are lacking any decent alternatives and the cupboard is really really bare.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 25, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me if there is a record of how many times we are one strike away from avoiding a rally...only to have someone like Papi smash a 3-2, 2-out pitch over the CF wall? Is it just me or are we consistantly one strike away...

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | June 25, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

new post.

Posted by: surly_w | June 25, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

An encouraging night of bb for the Nats. Do not look past the starting pitching, thats where it all starts. Quality arms will eventually result in quality games. Build a surplus of arms and you can trade for other building blocks at some point. This team is closer than it appears to being a decent team.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 25, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm with 506 - Stammen's got the chance to develop into an effective mid-rotation guy if he can keep his stuff down - if he's not going to stay in the rotation, he should be in AAA, not the bullpen.

Actually, and I know this is heresy around here, but the guy who should probably go to AAA is Martis when Olsen comes back - his peripherals are the weakest of the bunch, he just plain doesn't miss bats, and he's a flyball pitcher with a .253 BABIP, so he's due for some pretty serious regression to the mean. He needs to figure out how to make more people swing and miss if he's going to be long-term effective, I think. Don't be fooled by his 5-0 start - he's had a few nice games, but he's also had a fair number of 5 ER in 6IP kinds of games. I'd like to see him go down and focus on striking guys out a bit - a 12% strikeout rate and 3.3 K/9 are not signs that he's going to make it as a starter long-term.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 25, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

GET OFF MY LAWN - love it NatsNut! Give em ell!

Posted by: lowcountry | June 25, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow could all you "Get off my lawn" people sound anymore bitter. You should be thankful we support your stadium. I'm a Sox fan that has moved here from Boston and go to plenty of Nats games and are happy to root for them when not playing the Sox.

To the idiot that claims the Sox have "5-6" times more payroll...check the numbers its less than double. 115M to 60M. Dont blame Sox fans for your owners trying to pay off their debt with low payroll.
There were no incidents at the game, i saw no Sox fans rude to any other Nats fans. You dont want to hear away team chants...get more people to go to your games. Your owners and broadcasters fawn over the Sox because of how they play and are run. The only high priced free agent is JD Drew that is active. Pedroia, Lester, Youk, Ellsbury, the bullpen, Ortiz Lowell, Bay...all came via farm system or from the farm system trades.

Oh and to the idiot that says there were no Sox fans until they were winning. The sellout streak at Fenway is over 500 games which goes to pre-2004 WS. There has always been a rabid following in NE. Your quoting attendance stats from the 1960's get a life...

Posted by: mdalianis | June 25, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

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