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For one night, no Stephen Strasburg is no problem

Morning roundup

Nationals players had congregated in the dugout, ready to sprint to their positions at the start of last night's game, when they started hearing the buzz from the crowd. Where's Strasburg? Jesus isn't pitching? Most of them learned Stephen Strasburg wouldn't pitch when they saw Miguel Batista walking in from the bullpen. They were coming off a three-game sweep in Milwaukee that closed out a 3-7 road trip to start the second half, and now their ace was lost for the night at least.

"It was a really a gut check for the whole team," reliever Drew Storen said. "It's easy to see Stras got pulled out and feel sorry for yourself."

The Nationals, though, did not. They gave the sellout crowd -- a few of whom slipped away after Strasburg was scratched, but most of whom stayed for the duration -- a memorable show. Batista dazzled, Nyjer Morgan took over the first inning and the bullpen cruised.

The headlines and stories in the coming days will be dominated by Strasburg's health and pitching status, and that's how it ought to be. For now, though, it's worth spending a little more time on last night's win. The Nationals wouldn't let Strasburg's absence keep them down.

"It puts a little air out of your chest a little bit," said Morgan, who stole two bases and scored on an error after leading off the game with a single. "That's a little bit of adversity. You can't let that stuff start creeping in. You've got to be able to still handle your business. We're all professionals here.

"We knew that one of our guys was down, but we couldn't stop ourselves from going out there and trying to handle our business. As long as we can focus on just doing what we do, everything will be right. If we got off our game plan, it would have been a different situation. We definitely came out with the right mind frame, and we got it done."

Manager Jim Riggleman considered Collin Balester briefly, but really there was no one who he could choose other than Batista. Batista threw two innings one day this season and then four the next. He has pitched in some of the least consequential moments, but he also saved a game when Matt Capps needed the day off in New York. He can do whatever, whenever. Don't forget: Batista has pitched in the majors since 1992, and he started a game in the 2001 World Series.

"I'm one of the few guys who can take the abuse," Batista said.

"Not a lot of guys have that ability to turn it on and off," Storen said. "He's not going to be a guy that's going to go out there and just get mowed over in the first inning. It's great that he's getting some attention, because this is what he's done for us the whole year."

Never had Batista delivered like last night. The fans came to Nationals Park hoping to see something they wouldn't soon forget. Batista, Morgan and others gave it to them.

FROM THE POST

The Nationals found some relief after Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his start, but questions remain.

Miguel Batista, booed when he took the mound, led the Nationals to a 3-0 victory over the Braves, Gene Wang writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Indianapolis 8, Syracuse 5: Shairon Martis allowed six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings on six hits and four walks. Carlos Maldonado went 3 for 4 with a home run.

New Hampshire 4, Harrisburg 3: John Lannan allowed four runs, two earned, in five innings on seven hits and two walks. Danny Espinosa went 2 for 5 with a double.

Wilmington 8, Potomac 2: Daniel Lyons went 2 for 4 with a double. Trevor Holder allowed no runs in five innings on four hits and a walk, striking out five.

Hagerstown 5, West Virginia 4 (10 innings): Destin Hood went 3 for 5 with a double and a home run. Rick Hague went 2 for 5 with a double.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Mark Zuckerman ponders whether Stephen Strasburg should pitch or sit the rest of the season.

Chipper Jones applauded the Nationals for shutting down Strasburg, Carroll Rodgers reports.

Ken Rosenthal hears the Nats may try to get back Edwin Jackson in an Adam Dunn trade.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 28, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Scott Olsen likely to start, Jesse English done for the year
Next: Adam Dunn in 2010 = Alfonso Soriano in 2006

Comments

So will the Nationals do anything for the fans that were there last night who went to see Strasburg? I mean we stayed and it was great to see Batista do so well (although I counted at least 5 full counts in the first 13 batters he faced, with only 1 walk) and see the Nats win, but what about giving 10% off tickets purchased at the box office when a valid ticket from last night is shown. Wouldn't this be a great PR move?

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | July 28, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

I think it would be silly to devalue a win pitched by Batista. Would you ask for a refund if Strasburg lost?

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | July 28, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

If the Nats keep scratching and rescheduling SS, they can get enough revenue to sign some of their top draft picks. So give 'em a break!

Posted by: EdDC | July 28, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

"The headlines and stories in the coming days will be dominated by Strasburg's health and pitching status, and that's how it ought to be"

Sorry Adam but I guess your short stay in Beantown might have shaded your eyes just a bit. This is DC and in a few days (almost a few hours now) the attention of the entire region shifts full time to Ashburn, VA. Its a shame that it has to be this way but as you said the other day this team is irrelevent.

I was there for my 4th viewing of the kid. Since I'm a STH it was a surprise to not see him take that walk from the pen w/McCatty but then again I go to watch the team and the game. To me SS is just the bonus for hanging in there over the past 5 years! To the SS only crowd, NO you don't get your money back.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 28, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-careful, Ed-lest the Slows see your comment and entertain it as a way to build for (their?) future! Ha!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Dougmacintyre,
Your kidding right?

Posted by: alex35332 | July 28, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

The Nats did something unusual last night -- they rose to the occasion. I'm still worried about Strasburg, but the game and Batista's performance are one of the great stories of the season. I wish I had been there.

Please tell me Batista wore the wig last night.

Posted by: KenNat | July 28, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

@alex35332

I was 1/4 kidding. Look, I enjoyed a beautiful night of baseball and saw my team win and Batista pitch a game as good or better than Strasburg would have likely pitched. I get that.

But there were a lot of folks in my section talking about how this was a conspiracy to get more sellouts and while I know, and all of you know, that was not the case, I do think the Nationals have an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade, from a PR perspective. As fans, they don't need to sell you guys. You're Nats fans already and why you are looking at this blog. But to help turn Strasburg fans into Nats fans, they could easily have people come down to the box office and get a 10% discount with a valid ticket from last night to another game of their choice. I'm looking at it from a businees perspective. That's all.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | July 28, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

C'mon. If, instead of seeing Strasburg pitch, you got to see your team pull out a great win against the division leaders on a beautiful night, you have no complaints. And if that doesn't "help turn Strasburg fans into Nats fans," what else would you want?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

To all you Nats "fans" that left in the first or second inning after you found out Strasburg wasn't starting: YOU ARE NOT NATS FANS. Please get rid of any Nats jerseys and hats you own and do not call yourself Nats fans. Feel free to come to games and spend money on the team and watch some good baseball in D.C., but DON'T CALL YOURSELF A NATS FAN- YOU ARE NOT. Fan is short for fanatic. Fanatical about your team. Anyone that left is not a Nats fan, but a typical Washingtonian who only goes to sporting events when there is some special event that they want to be able to brag about being at the next day at their K Steet office. Look yourself in the mirror and tell me I'm wrong! You are the reason that fans cannot get tickets to big events of the team they have been following and love. You are the reason our stadiums are half full of opposing teams' fans if the home team isn't doing well- you cop out and sell your ticket to the other teams' fans because its not a big enough event for you. True Nats fans watched yesterday's game until the end, and reaped the reward of being able to watch the Nats maybe play spoiler to the National League East leading team even without our phenom. Anyone remember the two seasons we crushed the Mets chances to win the NL East? Nats fans do, the rest of you weren't there because the Nats weren't "in the hunt."

Posted by: ryanrichieesq | July 28, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Here's another perspective:

Had the pleasure of taking a couple of youngsters from another country (Ethiopia) to their 1st MLB game last night. As it happened, a friend of mine brought a group of 20 or so Belgian exchange students staying at Georgetown U. to the game also. We were sitting in adjoining sections in the 300s down the LF line. We both spent some time beforehand prepping the kids for the game by explaining the rules of baseball, etc. The newbies enjoyed the game thoroughly and, FWIW, their experience at the ballpark. What disappointment their was in not seeing Stras (mostly on the Americans' part) was forgotten as we got into the game. (Of course we were listening for updates/rumors from nearby fans.) Especially cute to see 3 of the Belgian kids improvise a homemade sign: each held up a letter, spelling out the word "O" "U" "T," and stood up to display it as Storen and Capps mowed 'em down in the last innings.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

To all you Nats "fans" that left in the first or second inning after you found out Strasburg wasn't starting: YOU ARE NOT NATS FANS. Please get rid of any Nats jerseys and hats you own and do not call yourself Nats fans. Feel free to come to games and spend money on the team and watch some good baseball in D.C., but DON'T CALL YOURSELF A NATS FAN- YOU ARE NOT. Fan is short for fanatic. Fanatical about your team. Anyone that left is not a Nats fan, but a typical Washingtonian who only goes to sporting events when there is some special event that they want to be able to brag about being at the next day at their K Steet office. Look yourself in the mirror and tell me I'm wrong! You are the reason that fans cannot get tickets to big events of the team they have been following and love. You are the reason our stadiums are half full of opposing teams' fans if the home team isn't doing well- you cop out and sell your ticket to the other teams' fans because its not a big enough event for you. True Nats fans watched yesterday's game until the end, and reaped the reward of being able to watch the Nats maybe play spoiler to the National League East leading team even without our phenom. Anyone remember the two seasons we crushed the Mets chances to win the NL East? Nats fans do, and reveled in the Mets misery, the rest of you weren't there because the Nats weren't "in the hunt."

Posted by: ryanrichieesq | July 28, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who wants a discounted ticket can pretty much get one as is. If you get their marketing emails, you know there are discounts for just about everything--group seats, family discounts, kids club, you listed the Nats as your favorite team in on-line All Star balloting, it's August and attendance is crappy. And 50% is the usual discount, not 10%, so if anything, you're shortchanging folks.

But the idea of explicitly compensatory discounts would be a lousy precedent to set: what's the payback for two 100+ loss seasons in a row?

Posted by: HHover | July 28, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

CapP:
Nice story about your "groups". Glad they all got to see a well-played game as their 1st exposure to the sport.

Posted by: BinM | July 28, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Tippy has got it right. Fans bought a ticket to see a baseball game where, incidentally, SS was scheduled to start. Fans saw a baseball game, and a pretty good one. No refunds, no pity. I am scheduled to attend Sunday's game. I will be there regardless of the starter.

Batista suprised me. I take back all the things I said or thought about him (until his next lousy relief apperance). Nyjer is coming around guys, give him some room. Sign Dunn, do not trade him.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 28, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing that great story, Cap. Now, that's how you build a fanbase!

I wasn't at the game but enjoyed watching it on tv. Wish I could have been there, as I'm sure it would have been added to the roster of my fave in-person game memories. Props to Batista, the 'pen, and the rest of the team. Boos to the "Nats fans" who booed when they realized that SS would not be starting.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 28, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

ryanrichieesq: AMEN! Well said.

I read on DC sports bog that fans were leaving, wanted refunds...etc. The people who did that, you should be ashamed of yourselves. At the same time you should be understanding enough because they did the right thing scratching him. Plus, the lineup is PROBABLE. It's not a guarantee that the SCHEDULED starter starts. It happens sometimes that the starter can't go.

Of course I'd be upset upon hearing that news but I would never leave the game. People who left: You are not Nats fans, you are just Stephen Strasburg fans.

But it's okay, ryanrichieesq, don't worry about it. When the Nats are finally good and contending in the years to come, the REAL fans who have been with this team from day one and have suffered through back to back 100 loss seasons will get the most satisfaction. It will all that much sweeter. =)

Posted by: rachel216 | July 28, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The win last night was for me perhaps the most satisfying of the season. Kudos to the full compliment of Nationals.

One thing that was pretty apparent is that Brian McCann is having trouble throwing to the bases. I recall four throws that were high and wide and had virtually no chance of nailing the base stealer.

I hope we test him early again today and take full advantage.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 28, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that ESPN is reporting Strasy's injury, yet this blog hasn't??? Kilgore, you were MUCH MUCH better at the Globe. You need to step your game up. This entire blog needs an overhaul actually.

Posted by: bzerante1 | July 28, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

+1/2St & Baltova, right on.
***************************

Fully agree that anyone booing or wanting a refund misses the point entirely of being a fan and attending a game.

I just want to offer though that to *some* degree, this is something that the Nat's FO has cultivated. A feeling of mistrust between customers and the team.

I'm sure that with a better understanding and some perspective, almost everyone is OK with scratching Strasburg. But if for some, the initial reaction, with no info except Strasburg has been scratched, is skepticism and cynicism, then to *some* degree, the Nats are reaping what they sowed. (and to *some* degree, we are a species of morons).

Posted by: Sunderland | July 28, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The list grows:

John Patterson
Shawn Hill
Chad Cordero
Scott Olsen
Jason Marquis
Jordan Zimmermann
Ross Detwiler
John Lannan

and now, maybe, Stephen Strasburg.

Sure, each situation is different, and maybe there's nothing seriously wrong with Strasburg, and maybe there's no connection and it's just a run of bad luck that every one of the Nats' front-line pitching prospects (plus Marquis, who was a FA) has developed and in some cases career-ending injury. But this is a very disturbing pattern.

The cavalry that we were hoping would ride to the rescue by the All-Star break hasn't arrived yet. And "Jesus" himself may not, as it turns out, walk on water.

I really, really hope this is a false alarm. But looking at this history, anyone who isn't worried is nuts.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 28, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Dougmacintyre = Loser

Posted by: edr04 | July 28, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that ESPN is reporting Strasy's injury, yet this blog hasn't??? Kilgore, you were MUCH MUCH better at the Globe. You need to step your game up. This entire blog needs an overhaul actually.

Posted by: bzerante1 | July 28, 2010 10:25 AM
*********************

Holy cow bzerante1, it's been reported, re-reported and over-reported in this blog and other locations within the Post.

Perhaps check out 3 blog postings back, about 7:00 PM last night, titled Stephen Strasburg scratched [UPDATED], link in the upper left of this page.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 28, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland,

PLEASE point me to where it says the x-ray and MRI results on that post. I beg you. ESPN has way more coverage of this.

Posted by: bzerante1 | July 28, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry - this was a BS move. If they're actually worried about his health - then I'll eat my words. But this totally smacks of milking ticket sales.

And not everyone who goes to a Nats game is a Nats fan. So again, I call BS.

I had out of town guests and bought the tix to see the new star pitch. We specifically chose this game to see the big arms go at it.

Again, if this was real - I hope stretch gets better. It was a very enjoyable game and some of the best work I"ve seen from them this year.

But if this was actuallly a ploy... SJK YOU, Nats mgmt!

Posted by: DikShuttle | July 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Trading a 40 HR as season guy for a pitcher with an ERA over 5 who has been on three teams in two years is idiotic. I only hope Rosenthal is as accurate with this little nuggets as he was with his Haren to the Yankees 'breaking news'.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

bzerante1, do you want ALL Nats info reported on this blog? You want Kilgore to write the print edition / bird cage liner story, and then post the same info in his blog?
That's kinda goofy.


How about the Post story at the attached link where Adam Kilgore writes:
"The Nationals consider Strasburg day-to-day after a body of medical tests revealed right shoulder inflammation and soreness but no structural damage, Rizzo said. An X-ray came back negative, and an MRI exam taken before the game ended showed no changes from the MRI the Nationals performed on Strasburg immediately after they signed him last summer -- no damage to his labrum or rotator cuff."

See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/27/AR2010072705793.html

Posted by: Sunderland | July 28, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

raymitten:
I think Rosenthal was just picking up on some 2+2=6 rumours floated by Kurkjian & others at ESPN, then parroted by mlbtraderumors.com.

Posted by: BinM | July 28, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I left my office last night around 7 here in the A-T-L and of course turned on the radio only to find out that "The Kid" had been stratched, okay so who's pitching and found out it was Bautista, had to stop at the store and when i came out I heard the Braves play by play guy's Jim Powell and Don Sutton making snide remark's about the Nat's fans who were headed back to the Metro on Half st after they found out SS wasn't hurling last night, now let me say this; Don't Do That!! you make yourselves look like idiots and groupies for lack of a better term and opposing team's announcers notice that kind of krap, don't act stupid go to the game and enjoy an evening of good wholesome fun, don't make this team and yourselves the object of insulting barb's by sportscasters it's tough enough to be taken seriously as a basball town without the likes of some of you acting like spoiled brat's GO TO THE GAME AND BECOME A FAN OF THE TEAM AND NO JUST ONE PLAYER!!! Thank You.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 28, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it funny that the people coming on to complain about the Stras scratch have user names unfamiliar to the regulars...

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Jim Powell and Don Sutton making snide remark's about the Nat's fans who were headed back to the Metro on Half st after they found out SS wasn't hurling last night

Posted by: dargregmag | July 28, 2010 11:35 AM

a) please don't call them "Nats fans"

b) f- that pr*ck Don Sutton

c) that's rich coming from Atlanta - the home of oh so die-hard professional sports fan (rolls eyes)

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Last night I drafted a post anticipating conspiracy theories that the SS scratch was about milking ticket sales. But I deleted it as I concluded no one could seriously believe such a thing. Seems I was wrong.

Posted by: KenNat | July 28, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - this was a BS move. If they're actually worried about his health - then I'll eat my words. But this totally smacks of milking ticket sales. Posted by: DikShuttle | July 28, 2010 10:52 AM


All kidding aside, the SS scratch had nothing to do with ticket sales. The kid is on an innings limit anyway, so why have him go last night when he has a little inflammation? I've had inflammation--it is a signal that rest is required. The pennant is not on the line or anything.

Posted by: EdDC | July 28, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland this article was not posted at the time of my post. I would like to see updates on key players being announced prior to writing an entire article.

Posted by: bzerante1 | July 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I think the Nats should've sent out Batista with a Strasburg T-shirt. At least all the idiots who booed could still say they saw "Strasburg."

And as long as we're giving refunds, I want a refund for all the games I've been to since 2005 where the Nats lost. All of them. In fact, I even want double refunds for the games when I was supposed to see Ryan Zimmerman, but he was hurt. And from opening night 2008, when the Chief was supposed to close but he got hurt and we got stuck with that Rauch guy.

Not only that, I want a double refund for the blown saves too. They were supposed to win but didn't, and I'm pretty upset about it.

Posted by: rodeorob | July 28, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Braves announcers making snide remarks is ridiculous. Everyone knows ATL is a joke of a professional sports town. GA Tech and UGA football rank higher in importance down there than any professional team.

Eat it Sutton.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 28, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The pennant is not on the line or anything.

Posted by: EdDC | July 28, 2010 12:16 PM

What's a pennant?

- Strasburg gawkers

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Ah me ... I always wondered how long he could hold up -- not his mechanics, his power, his character -- but how muscles, tendons, ligaments can hold up to the kind of torque his pitches demand.

I am concerned......

Posted by: JPMcC | July 28, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen much posting on this, so I thought i'd ask - especially of those of you who went last night:

How early did you have to get there to get a t-shirt? I was there by 5:50pm, and there weren't even empty t-shirt /BOXES/ in sight, let alone actual t-shirts. I went to 4 entrances, just in case the CF gates were the only ones to run out.

Given the dozen or so folks around the stadium who "waived their t-shirts" for the scoreboard in the 2nd or 3rd inning, I think the Nats gave away closer to 1K t-shirts than 10K. There's a story there, and I think the Bog or Kilgore need to delve into it!! :-)

Posted by: TheBorg | July 28, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Those like 'DikShuttle' who thought there was no reel physical problem with Strasburg, that it was a ploy to increase ticket sales -- well, maybe one can't object too much to cynicism in this era of cheating at all levels, but I really think these kinds of conspiracy theorists are too darkly skeptical to ever really enjoy a sporting event.

Posted by: JPMcC | July 28, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Was at the game last night. GREAT win - sure, it's disappointing that Stras didn't play, but that's baseball.

That's why they have "subject to change" on tickets.

I remember going to an O's game when Clemens/Red Sox came to B'more years back. Finally going to see Clemens pitch! But, he pulled a groin muscle during warm-up and they pulled him. That's baseball.

I appreciate a conspiracy theory like the next person, but they're obviously not in a pennant race, folks, so why risk further injury? Would you have preferred that he pitched,blown his arm, and be out with Tommy John surgery?

Try throwing 98 mph pitches for a few weeks and see how your shoulder feels. Sheesh...

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | July 28, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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