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Next up, Garrett Mock

Garrett Mock spoke often this spring about attacking hitters, how nibbling at the corners of the plate leads to inefficiency and how inefficiency is the thing holding him back. Tonight against the Mets would be the ideal time for Mock to match his performance to his words.

Taxing the bullpen early and often is an excellent way to derail a pitching staff, and after one series Nationals relievers have logged 14 1/3 innings, more than any other team in the majors. Their starters? Just 12 2/3 innings, with Craig Stammen's five-inning outing yesterday the longest start.

It's not like the bullpen, which is packed with eight pitchers and has had a day off already and will get another Tuesday, is in tough shape. But the Nationals don't want to even approach the dangerous territory they stumbled into last year with their bullpen. The Nationals got 901 1/3 innings from their starters last year, 25th in the majors and about 5 1/3 innings per start.

So Mock can serve an extra purpose tonight aside from trying to get the Nationals their second win. He'll have to stick to his new approach. Last year, Mock retired an out past the sixth inning once in 15 starts. He threw 17.8 pitches per inning, ninth-most among pitchers with at least 90 innings pitched. By changing his approach in his first start of the season, Mock can help the Nationals bullpen continue producing game-saving performances like yesterday's and not the pyrotechnics of last season.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 9, 2010; 2:22 PM ET
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Next: Friday's lineups


doesn't make it into the 5th...

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 9, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Here's to hoping Mock puts it together tonight and goes after the hitters. Go get'em young fella and don't nibble!

Posted by: Section505203 | April 9, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

J.D. Martin pitched well for Syracuse last night....


Posted by: arlingtontwb | April 9, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

From previous Post, I would add Brad Meyers to the mix after he finished recovering from an injury (currently in Extended Spring Training). I hope Mock can do it but I am on of those who feel Olsen should have stayed up.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | April 9, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Mock is going to pitch himself out of a job.

It is mind boggling for anyone to justify his spot at the expense of Olsen or Martin. The only conclusion I can come up with is that the front office is trying to inflate Mock's trade value, in hopes that they can ship him off if he manages to have a fast start.

Send him to Milwaukee for Corey Hart, who has lost his job to Jim Edmonds. Throw in the proverbial bag of balls.

The good news is that we'll be able to see how bad this rotation truly is after tonight. Strasburg, Zimmermann, Olsen, Wang and Detwiler can't make it to S Capitol St fast enough.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 9, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to read this. Those who were in the system and had been mentored under St. Claire were nibblers on the corners and rarely got the calls so unless you are Greg Maddux you better adopt the efficient system of throwing your best pitch and staying on the corners on 0-2 and 1-2 pitches.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 9, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I am just glad we managed to avoid a 9-game losing streak to start the season. The tyranny of low expectations (hey, if we win tonight, we will be out of last place for the first time since April 9, 2008!)

Posted by: BobLHead | April 9, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Our bullpen could use a break tonight. Here's to hoping we have a lead so big, that we can bring in Miguel Batista and no one will scream at their broadcast medium of choice.

Posted by: Sunderland | April 9, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that we'll be able to see how bad this rotation truly is after tonight. Strasburg, Zimmermann, Olsen, Wang and Detwiler can't make it to S Capitol St fast enough.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 9, 2010 3:36 PM
The good news is that Stammen really does well the first time through a lineup so he will probably end up eventually as a reliever on this team once Strasburg comes.

Mock has the tools. It just seems mind over matter for him. Clearly, Rizzo believes in him.

I felt bad for Olsen because I legitimately thought he earned a spot in the rotation.

Of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Olsen, Wang and Detwiler, I just don't see JZim being a factor this year although I hope Wang and Detwiler get here sooner than later.

Posted by: dmacman88 | April 9, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night, and Stammen belongs in AA and AAA, not in the bullpen.

He caught a lot of breaks and didn't look particularly impressive. I give him credit for not walking the entire Phillie lineup, unlike Lannan and Marquis, but I'm not sure Stammen is a big step up from English, Walker, Clippard, Bruney, Storen or Capps.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 9, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Here's hoping Mock can go 6 1/3 so that the bullpen can be used sparingly.

Posted by: markfd | April 9, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I have a bad feeling about Mock.

The good thing is that the bar is much lower with the Mets and their pitching and hitting is nowhere near that of Philly. The Nats have a real chance to get out of the basement here if they want! And that's PROGRESS!

Posted by: nattydread1 | April 9, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mock's line; IP 4.1, R5, H8, BB4, SO1

Posted by: TippyCanoe | April 9, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, there is going to be some crow being eaten if Mock does better tonighthan Lannan, Marquis or Stammen did. I will wait and see before making my pronouncements. I find the vitriol against Stammen to be amazing, considering that he was getting outs with ground balls. He got hammered hard when he did get hit but no worse than Capps or Bruney have shown. Still, no walks and no home runs are a very positive sign.

Posted by: driley | April 9, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

We hear this same bs from the Nats every year. "We can't possibly acquire competent free agent starting pitchers because they would block the path to the majors of our amazing corps of amazing prospects. Oh, you want amazing in a positive sense? DOH!" Mock, Chico, Detwiler, Bergmann; not a competent major leaguer among them.

Posted by: gonats3 | April 9, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the Nats can grab an early lead like they did last night. How good is Pelfrey?

Posted by: glennpc | April 9, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for link @randy_body! I look forward to winning whatever the Lerners give out at the gate on "Phillies Fan Appreciation Night".

I know it's only four games in, and the rotation will probably be completely overhauled in 60 days, but that's 60 days of losing.

And that's not fun for anyone.

... unless you're the visiting team.

Posted by: CapitolWill | April 9, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

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