What's up with the Nationals' outbreak of pitcher-on-pitcher crime?
The Nationals have run into an unusual nemesis during the second half of their homestand: Opposing pitchers at the plate have absolutely worn out their own pitchers. Over the past five games, starting pitchers hitting against the Nationals are 6 for 9 with four runs, three RBIs and a home run. Only Matt Cain, who batted against Stephen Strasburg, went hitless.
The Nationals do not dismiss the surge of opposing pitchers' offense as a fluke. They have talked about it pitchers' meetings and emphasized that their approach needs to change.
"We definitely have to do a better job against the opposing pitcher," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "We got to start throwing some more breaking balls, not have any mental lapse when they're up there, assuming we can just throw anything and have success."
Last night, Jonathan Sanchez became the latest opposing starter to strike. He worked an at-bat against Craig Stammen to a 3-2 count, in the process fouling a pitch back with a swing that showed he had Stammen timed perfectly. When Stammen fed him a 3-2 fastball, Sanchez poked a two-RBI single to center.
"You got to read those swings," Riggleman said. "You go to go, 'Whoa, that was a pretty good cut. I better do something a little different.' He worked it like a veteran hitter would do and got a fastball to hit."
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