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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."

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 11, 2010; 12:55 PM ET
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Next: A day later, Rodriguez gets a start


Yes, opposing pitchers driving in runs makes me crazy. Any MLB pitcher who can't get the other pitcher out in a key situation just isn't focused.

Re: Clippard. The break will do him good. But as Dibs has said repeatedly, he has to ditch his change-up. As hard as he throws, he doesn't need that pitch to be effective in relief. It's ridiculous to give up on him, however. Riggs should get in him for a while without the game being on the line to get him back on track in the second half.

Let Peralta and Storen carry the load for a while.

Posted by: nats24 | July 11, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Agree to disagree (sort of) regarding Clippard. He needs that "other look" to keep hitters honest; He might need to throw it a little less often, however. I guess we'll see what shakes out after the All-Star break.

Peralta & Storen (with a little Burnett/Slaten mixed in) are fine set-up arms for the next month or so, but I wouldn't count on Peralta long-term.

Posted by: BinM | July 11, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it has nothing to do with the Nats pitchers being gas cans.

Posted by: jwing14 | July 11, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

This problem with the opposing pitcher is not new, it's really been going on pretty much all year, with the walks too.

Posted by: OutsideTheLaw | July 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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