May 2010

Stephen Strasburg continues to shine


Stephen Strasburg 3 photo by Diamond Images 1.jpgIt is still uncertain when Stephen Strasburg will pitch in the Majors but there is little doubt that he seems ready. He made his eighth Minor League start last night–five with Double-A Harrisburg and three with Triple-A Syracuse–and he continued to prove he is ready for The Show. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings of three hit ball with two walks and nine strikeouts. He threw over 90 pitches for the first time in the Minors. Strasburg is 6-1 with a 0.89 ERA (4 ER/ 40.1 IP), 49 strikeouts and just 10 walks. He is 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER/ 18.1 IP) with 22 strikeouts and four walks in three starts at Syracuse.

Here are a few headlines from last night’s start:

Joe Posnanski from Sports Illustrated writes Nats phenom Stephen Strasburg has nothing left in Minors.

“Strasburg almost certainly won’t pitch in the Big Leagues until June 4 because the Nationals, understandably, don’t want him to be eligible for arbitration in two years. And they wouldn’t mind him pitching twice on that early June home stand. Of course, that’s not what the Nationals say — they might not even be allowed to say that. Instead, they will say that he still has a few things he could work on. Perhaps his walk to and from the dugout could use a little tightening up. He could improve on the tilt of his baseball cap. Something. Anything. He won’t pitch until June 4.”

Dave Sheinin from the Washington Post writes as major league debut draws nearer, Washington Nationals prospect Stephen Strasburg shines again

“By the end, Strasburg was as overpowering as he has ever been in the minors, striking out six of the final eight batters he faced — three on curveballs (two of them swinging), two on fastballs and one on a change-up. Red Wings swung at curveballs in the opposite batter’s box, fastballs at their eyes and change-ups in the dirt.”

Kevin Oklobzija from the Rochester Democrat writes Fans flock to Frontier Field to see Stephen Strasburg.

The large majority of fans bought tickets to see Strasburg, however. “This guy is the real deal,” said Andrew Harrison of Rochester. “It’s always fun to come to the ballpark but it’s always interesting to see a No. 1 draft pick.”

Jim Mandelaro from the Rochester Democrat writes Stephen Strasburg as good as advertised.

“Reaching 99 mph four times with an effortless delivery, Strasburg wowed a standing-room-only crowd of 12,590 with a masterful performance Wednesday night at festive Frontier Field.”

Shawn Krest from MLB.com writes Strasburg continues Triple-A scoreless streak.

“In the early going, Strasburg wasn’t as dominant as in his first two starts for the Chiefs, as he struggled to find the strike zone with consistency. He threw first-pitch balls to his first five batters and had his two highest pitch counts of his brief Triple-A career in the first two innings of the game.”

The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” visits Nationals Park


PaulaDeen1.jpgThe Food Network star and Smithfield Foods spokesperson Paula Deen teamed up with Nationals pitchers John Lannan and Sean Burnett today at Nationals Park to deliver more than 100,000 servings of donated protein–delicious hams–to the Capital Area Food Bank as part of Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes initiative.


PaulaDeen2.jpgThe event was a collaborative effort between the Nationals, Smithfield, Harris Teeter and the Capital Area Food Bank and executives from each organization were on hand to take part in the “ham brigade,” with volunteers passing hams from the Smithfield truck into shopping carts, ready for use by the Capital Area Food Bank.


 
 
PaulaDeen3.jpg
PaulaDeen4.jpgEven the Racing Presidents came to “help.”


PaulaDeen5.jpgToday’s donation kicked off the Nationals’ Annual Food Drive, which gives fans the opportunity to make their own contributions to those in need by bringing non-perishable food items to Nationals Park during the Battle of the Beltways series this Saturday and Sunday. So… if you are coming to the Battle of the Beltways this weekend be sure to bring a few non-perishable food items to the game.

The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” will also be throwing out the first pitch at tonight’s game.

The Minority Report: An in-depth look at the Nats’ Minor League teams

The Nationals Minor League report (
MLR 5-19-10.pdf) is a weekly window into the Nationals farm teams, with updated standings, league leaders, team and individual player stats, and the latest team and player news.  

 

This Week’s Top Headline

 

AND THE AWARD GOES TO…:  Hagerstown LHP Dan Rosenbaum was named Single-A South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week by MiLB.com for the period of May 10-16. In two starts during the week, the southpaw tossed 14.0 scoreless innings, struck out 13, walked none and allowed only eight hits to garner the award. Overall, Rosenbaum is 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA (9 ER/47.0 IP) in eight starts. The 22-year old has 41 strikeouts against only seven walks (5.85/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and among Single-A South Atlantic League pitchers, he ranks fifth in ERA and tied for sixth in WHIP (0.94). Rosenbaum was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Xavier University (OH).

 


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

21-15, 2nd Place, 1.0 Game Back

 

CHIEF OF STAFF:  After having his start rained out yesterday, RHP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his third Triple-A start tonight at 7:05 p.m. in the second game of today’s day-night doubleheader at Rochester (Twins). Strasburg has earned the win in each of his two Triple-A starts, tossing a combined 12.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. In seven combined starts with Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg, he is 5-1 with a 1.06 ERA (4 ER/34.0 IP). Strasburg’s stingy .120 (14-for-116) batting average against is the lowest in minor league baseball among starting pitchers. Prior to joining Syracuse, he went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP) in five starts with Harrisburg.

 

***MASN will televise Stephen Strasburg’s third Triple-A start tonight on tape delay immediately following the conclusion of Nats Xtra.

 

HAIL TO VICTOR:  LHP Victor Garate was promoted to Syracuse yesterday after dominating hitters in the Double-A Eastern League. Garate posted a miniscule 0.51 ERA (1 ER/17.2 IP), a .119 (6-for-52) batting average against and went 4-for-4 in save opportunities in 14 appearances with Harrisburg. Garate hasn’t allowed a run since his season debut on April 9, hurling 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings over his last 13 appearances and opposing left-handed batters are just 2-for-19 (.105) against him. Garate was acquired off waivers from Los Angeles-NL on September 2, 2009.

 

JOEL THE PROPHET:  RHP Joel Peralta is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA (2 ER/17.0 IP) in 14 appearances. His nine saves in as many opportunities are tied for second in the International League and tied for sixth in minor league baseball. The Bonao, Dominican Republic native has fanned 20 in 17.0 innings, an average of 10.55 strikeouts per 9.0 innings. Peralta was signed by Washington as a minor-league free agent, December 15, 2009.

 

ATA(HUALPA) BOY:  Since surrendering 3 earned runs in 0.1 inning in his season debut, LHP Atahualpa Severino has allowed only two earned runs in his last 18.1 innings (11 appearances). Overall, Severino is 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA (5 ER/18.2 IP) in 15 appearances. Severino, 25, signed as a non-drafted free agent, February 13, 2004.

 


senators-new-logo 1.JPGDouble-A Harrisburg Senators

Eastern League Southern Division

18-20, 4th Place, 4.5 Games Back

 

TOMMY GUN:  On Sunday vs. New Britain (Twins), LHP Tom Milone allowed one run in 7.1 strong innings to earn the ‘W’ for the third straight start…in four May starting assignments, he is 3-1 with a 2.28 ERA (6 ER/23.2 IP). Overall, the 23-year-old southpaw is 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA (15 ER/43.0 IP) and a 5.66/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (34 SO/6 BB). Milone, selected in the 10th round of the ’08 Draft out of the University of Southern California, led Washington farmhands with 12 wins last season.

 

EAZY-E:  RHP Erik Arnesen allowed three runs in 7.0 innings to pick up his second straight win, last night vs. Reading (Phillies). Overall, Arnesen is 2-2 with two saves and a 2.43 ERA (8ER/29.2 IP) in 12 games (four starts). Arnesen, who has spent the majority of his pro career as a starter, began the season as a reliever before moving into the Sens’ rotation in early May. In four starts this season, he is 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA (8 ER/21.0 IP). The Grove City College (NJ) product has also enjoyed success coming out the bullpen for Harrisburg, posting a 1.72 ERA (3 ER/15.2 IP) in eight appearances. Arnesen was selected by the Nationals in the 17th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 

DUDE, WHERE’S MY CARR?:  RHP Adam Carr is 3-1 with a 2.95 ERA (6 ER/18.1 IP) in 13 appearances. The Oklahoma State University product has struck out 18 and walked only one. Carr has worked at least 2.0 innings in six of his 13 appearances. The 26-year-old was Washington’s 18th-round selection in the 2006 Draft.

 


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

17-22, 2nd Place, 7.0 Games Back

 

BE LIKE MIKE:  OF Michael Burgess has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games, going 24-for-70 (.342) with nine doubles, four homers and 24 RBI. In 36 games overall, Burgess is batting .297 with 13 doubles, four home runs, 31 RBI and 22 walks. The strong-armed outfielder is tied for fourth in the Carolina League with four outfield assists. Burgess, a two-time Minor League All-Star (2008, ’09), was drafted by Washington in the sandwich round (49th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

 

NOT SO TINY TIM:  1B/3B Tim Pahuta leads the Carolina League with a .626 slugging percentage. The Seton Hall product ranks among the CL leaders in homers (second with nine), OPS (fifth, .973) and total bases (seventh, 72). Pahuta was selected by Washington in the 18th round of the 2005 Draft.

 


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

20-18, 4th Place, 2.5 Games Back

 

DESTINY’S CHILD:  20-year-old OF Destin Hood is tied for fourth in the league with 47 hits and ranks sixth with a .331 batting average. Hood paces Washington farmhands in both batting average and hits. He has hit safely in 29 of 37 games overall… Hood, selected in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, opened the 2010 campaign rated as the No. 10 prospect in the Nationals chain according to Baseball America.

 

HOLDER STEADY:  In his last three starts, RHP Trevor Holder is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA (4 ER/19.0 IP). He’s struck out 14 and hasn’t issued a walk in those contests. Overall, he is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in eigth starting assignments. The former Georgia Bulldog has allowed two earned runs or less in six of those starts. Holder, 23, was Washington’s third-round pick in the ’09 Draft.

Nats look to end skid against Mets

Mets (19-21):

1.    Jose Reyes – SS

2.    Luis Castillo – 2B

3.    Jason Bay – LF

4.    Ike Davis – 1B

5.    Angel Pagan – CF

6.    Jeff Francoeur – RF

7.    Fernando Tatis – 3B

8.    Henry Blanco – C

9.    RA Dickey – SP

 

Rod Barajas is out of the starting lineup for the second straight game which is good for Nationals fans. He is batting .323 (21-for-65) with seven home runs, 13 runs and 16 RBI in his last 19 games.

 Nationals (20-20):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Roger Bernadina – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (4-2, 1.46 ERA)

 

Since the game was rained out in Colorado on Friday night, Livan Hernandez is pitching on only three days rest. It shouldn’t be a problem for the rubber armed veteran. He could probably pitch every other day. Livo faces the Mets for the second time this season. He pitched seven scoreless innings against them on April 11 at Citi Field–his first start of the season.

 

Adam Dunn is back in the lineup after being held out of the starting lineup the past three games because of flu-like symptoms.

 

Ian Desmond is becoming more comfortable at shortstop every game. He is also batting .319 (22-for-69) with two home runs, 10 RBI and 10 runs in the last 20 games.

 

“I think I’m starting to get a little more acclimated,” Desmond said. “I think early on I was probably doing a little too much, just because I was new here and I was trying to get everything figured out. Now I think I’m getting more comfortable, and now it’s just baseball.”

Friday Fun Facts

I know you were wondering why Doug Slaten got the victory instead of Miguel Batista, who became the pitcher of record after he relieved John Lannan with two outs in the fifth–starters have to pitch at least 5.0 innings to be the pitcher of record. Lannan would have earned the victory had he recorded the final out in the fifth, but Batista became the pitcher of record after getting the last out in the fifth.

 

Batista inherited two runners in the bottom of the fifth and allowed one to score. If he had stopped pitching after he recorded the final out in the fifth, he would have posted the 1/3 inning win–there were 54 of them last year. But here is where it gets semi-tricky… Batista pitched into the seventh inning and surrendered a two-run homer, cutting the Nats lead to 7-6. Slaten recorded the final two outs of the seventh and the official scorer decided to give him the victory. This is where rule 10.17 (c) comes into play–yeah, the one you memorized in middle school.

 

And Rule 10.17 (c) reads… The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.

 

It is clear that the official scorer did not find Batista’s three hits, two runs and one home run in 1.2 innings as effective and that’s why Slaten got the win.

 

In other news just as irrelevant… I am always amazed at the people at Elias Sports Bureau. I can’t imagine where we would be without them. They know everything. And if they don’t know everything, they sure can find anything. I think the world would be worse off without them. They let us know the last time someone went 4-for-4 on their birthday without driving in a run on the road after an hour rain delay with a 14 mph wind to the NE. They are good.

 

Here are five things I learned this week from Elias. I am now a better person because of it.

 

LOOK OUT, DENNY McLAIN… HERE COMES CLIPPARD

Tyler Clippard, who was credited with the victory in the Nationals win over the Mets, now leads the National League with seven wins this season. The last relief pitcher with a league lead with seven or more wins was the Braves Gene Garber in 1987; his eight wins led the National League as late as June 12 that season. Only one other pitcher in major-league history accumulated seven relief wins in as few as 34 team games: Houston’s Jim Ray had 7 wins in the first 28 games of the 1972 season.

BERNADINA, 0 HRs IN FIRST 113 AT-BATS, HITS 2 vs. METS

Roger Bernadina came into Wednesday’s game against the Mets with a .212 career batting average and no home runs in 113 at-bats over his 41-game major-league career. But he went 3-for-5 with two home runs–including one off New York’s relief ace Francisco Rodriguez in the top of the ninth that broke a 4-4 tie–and made a sliding, backhanded catch that saved three runs in the Nationals 6-4 victory. Bernadina became the first major-leaguer in nearly 11 years to enjoy a multiple-homer game after entering that game homerless in at least 100 big-league at-bats. The last player to do that was Tim Hyers of the Marlins, who hit what proved to be the only two homers of his major-league career in an 11-6 victory over the Devil Rays in St. Petersburg on June 6, 1999. Among the other players who did that but went on to have careers that lasted a bit longer than Hyers were Hall-of-Famers Lou Boudreau and George Kell.

OLIVO: 5-FOR-5 INCLUDING WALKOFF HR

Miguel Olivo’s 10th-inning home run capped a 5-for-5 day as the Rockies defeated the Phillies, 4-3, in Denver on Wednesday. Put this in your “Elias Says” Hall of Fame: only two other players in modern major-league history have gone 5-for-5, climaxed by a game-ending home run: Jim Northrup did it for the Tigers (actually going 6-for-6) in a 13-inning win over the Athletics in 1969, and Fred McGriff did it for the Braves against the Cubs in 1996. Several other players have had five hits in a game in which they hit walkoff home runs (without going 5-for-5), including Hall-of-Famers Kiki Cuyler, George Brett and Jim Rice, as well as Pedro Martinez’s former sparring partner, Don Zimmer (who did it for the Dodgers in 1957).

RYAN ZIMMERMAN’S TWO-HOMER GAME

Ryan Zimmerman hit a pair of home runs in the Nationals’ game Thursday at Coors Field. It was Zimmerman’s second two-homer game this season and the sixth of his career. His first two-homer game came in Washington on Aug. 4, 2007 but all five since then have been in Nationals road games.

GREINKE FINALLY WINS ONE IN 2010

Zack Greinke, the 2009 A.L. Cy Young Award winner, recorded his first win this season with a 6-4 victory against the Indians on Thursday. Greinke entered the game with a 0-4 record in seven starts this season, even though he had the 11th-lowest ERA in the American League (2.51). Excluding relievers, the only other defending Cy Young winners who did not get their first victory the next season until their eighth game or later were Jim Lonborg in 1968 (9th game) and Frank Viola in 1989 (8th game).

Nats off to best start since moving to DC

With the 6-4 win against the Mets today, the Nationals are 19-15 and 7-3-1 in series play. The Nationals are off to their best start since moving to the District in 2005. Not to mention, Livan Hernandez has a 1.04 ERA and Tyler Clippard has seven victories.

 

In 2009, the Nationals didn’t win their 19th game until June 18 and seventh series until July 22.

 

The Nats are a new team. There is a new attitude and it appears to be the beginning of a new era in Nationals baseball. No matter how you choose to say it, the Nationals are winning games and turning heads everywhere they go now. I pulled some quotes from a variety of clips just to prove it.

 

Manager Jim Riggleman: “It’s going to be a challenge. But we feel like more and more, other clubs are going to be looking at us like, ‘Hey, it’s going to be a challenge to play those guys.’”

 

Josh Willingham: “When you win a few games like that, you’re able to believe you can win. That’s what we’re doing. We believe in our pitchers. We believe in our hitters. When we’re in games late, we have confidence we’re going to win them this year.”

 

“Last year, teams just came in and thought it would be an easy series win. That’s not the case this year. You play better baseball, you get respect from people.”

 

Livan Hernandez: “We play hard. We’re a team. We play the right way, [and] we’re going to win some games.”

 

Adam Dunn: “We would have lost this game last year. It seems like we’re finding ways to win close games that in the past we would have lost.”

“You’re not waiting for something bad to happen. It seemed like last year, in a lot of situations, the feeling [was], ‘What’s going to happen now? Something bad’s going to happen.’ This year, it’s … the opposite. Something good’s going to happen. We just don’t know when or how.”

Matt Capps: “We’re resilient out there…We’re fighting all the way to the end. Even the games we haven’t come out on top of, we’ve been in situations in the seventh, eighth, ninth innings to win those ballgames… It’s just a matter of putting it together and maybe a thing or two will go our way.”

Nyjer Morgan: “There is no pressure or buildup on what it takes to play the game. We are professionals. Even the young Ian Desmond, he is a professional. Everybody has each other’s back. We are one cohesive unit, man. It basically started as a problem, but Rizzo is getting the right people in here.”

 

General Mike Rizzo: “In the past, it would have put us in a funk for days. It would have been, ‘We played well, but we lost. Let’s try again tomorrow.’ These guys work harder than I’ve seen during the four-plus years I’ve been here. They were visibly upset that they didn’t win that game. They probably should have won it. They blew the game, but they were going to do something about it. To me that was the most tell-tale sign that we had a different ballclub than we had in the past.”

 

The Minority Report: An in-depth look at the Nats’ Minor League system

The Nationals Minor League report (
The MLR 5.12.10.pdf) is a weekly window into the Nationals farm teams, with updated standings, league leaders, team and individual player stats, and the latest team and player news. 

This Week’s Top Headline

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF:  Syracuse RHP Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his second Triple-A start tonight at 7:05 p.m.  vs. Norfolk (Orioles). In his Triple-A debut last Friday, Strasburg fired 6.0 shutout innings of one-hit ball to earn the win. In six combined starts with Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg, he is 4-1 with a 1.29 ERA (4 ER/28.0 IP). Strasburg’s stingy .143 (14-for-98) batting average against is the second lowest in Minor League baseball among starting pitchers. Prior to joining Syracuse, he went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA (4 ER/22.0 IP) in five starts with Harrisburg.

 

***MASN will televise Stephen Strasburg’s 2nd Triple-A start tonight on tape delay immediately following the conclusion of the Orioles-Mariners game.

 


Chiefs 2.JPGTriple-A Syracuse Chiefs

International League North Division

18-12, 1st Place, 1.0 Game Ahead

 

DR. DREW:  In 11 combined appearances with Syracuse and Double-A Harrisburg, RHP Drew Storen owns a 1.23 ERA (2 ER/14.2 IP) and a 14.0/1 strikeout-to walk ratio (14 SO, 1 BB). Since joining Syracuse on April 29, he has allowed one earned run over 5.1 innings pitched (1.69 ERA) in four appearances. Storen was Washington’s 2nd selection in the first round (10th overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft and went 4-for-4 in save opportunities and recorded a 0.96 ERA (1 ER/9.1 IP) in seven appearances with Harrisburg.

 

JOEL THE PROPHET:  RHP Joel Peralta is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA (2 ER/14.1 IP) and a .184 (9-for-49) batting average against in 12 games. His eight saves in as many opportunities are tied for second in the International League and tied fifth in Minor League baseball. The Bonao, Dominican Republic native has fanned 16 and walked three, an average of 10.29 strikeouts per 9.0 innings and only 1.93 walks per 9.0 innings. Peralta was signed by Washington as a Minor League free agent on December 15, 2009.

 

THRILL OF THE CHASE:  2B/3B Chase Lambin‘s .343 batting average paces Washington farmhands and ranks fourth in Minor League baseball among switch hitters. He has hit safely in nine straight games and 23 of 27 games overall. Lambin signed with Washington as a Minor League free agent on January 7, 2010.

 

ATA(HUALPA) BOY:  Since surrendering three earned runs in 0.1 inning in his season debut, LHP Atahualpa Severino has allowed only one earned run in his last 15.0 innings (11 appearances). Overall, Severino is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA (4 ER/15.1 IP) in 12 appearances. Severino, 25, signed as a non-drafted free agent on February 13, 2004.

 


senators-new-logo 1.JPGDouble-A Harrisburg Senators

Eastern League Southern Division

13-19, 5th Place, 7.5 Games Back

 

VICTOR’S SECRET:  LHP Victor Garate has hurled 14.2 consecutive scoreless innings in his last 11 appearances. The 25-year-old owns a 0.57 ERA (1 ER/15.2 IP) in 12 games. His .115 (6-for-52) BAA ranks 8th among all Minor League pitchers and opposing left-handed batters are just 1-for-15 (.100) against him. Garate was acquired off waivers from Los Angeles-NL on September 2, 2009.

 

TOMMY BOY:  Last night at Altoona (Pirates), LHP Tom Milone pitched 5.0 innings of two-run ball in sleet and snow to earn his third win of the season. In three May starts, he is 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA (5 ER/16.1 IP). Overall, the 23-year-old southpaw is 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA (14 ER/35.1 IP) and a 5.0/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (30 SO/6 BB). Milone, selected in the 10th round of the ’08 Draft out of the University of Southern California and he led Washington farmhands with 12 wins last season.

 

START ME UP:  RHP Jeff Mandel allowed two runs and three hits in 7.1 strong innings on Sunday vs. Richmond (Giants). In six starts with Harrisburg, Mandel owns a 3.82 ERA (14 ER/33.0 IP). Mandel, 25, was a 2009 Single-A Carolina League All-Star last season with Potomac and following the season, Mandel played with the Phoenix Desert Dogs in the highly-acclaimed Arizona Fall League.

 


potomac nationals 1.JPGSingle-A Potomac Nationals

Carolina League Northern Division

14-18, 3rd Place, 6.0 Games Back

 

BURGESS KING:  OF Michael Burgess is 15-for-44 (.341) with six doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, eight walks and eight runs in his last 12 contests. In 31 games overall, Burgess is batting .286 with 10 doubles, three home runs, 22 RBI and 20 walks. The strong-armed outfielder is third in the Carolina League with four outfield assists. Burgess is a two-time Minor League All-Star (2008, ’09) and was drafted by Washington in the sandwich round (49th overall) of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

 

DR. KIMBALL:  RHP Cole Kimball leads the club with three wins and is a perfect 4-for-4 in save opportunities. In 13 appearances, Kimball is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA (5 ER/18.1 IP). Left-handed hitters are just 2-for-22 (.091) against him. The 24-year-old was Washington’s 12th-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

 


hagerstown suns 1.JPGSingle-A Hagerstown Suns

South Atlantic League Northern Division

16-15, T-3rd Place, 3.5 Game Back

 

STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES:  LHP Daniel Rosenbaum struck out eight in 7.0 shutout innings of four-hit ball but received a no-decision on Monday at Augusta (Giants). In seven starts, he is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA (9 ER/40.0 IP). The 22-year old southpaw has 36 strikeouts against seven walks (5.14/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio). Among Single-A South Atlantic League pitchers, he ranks ninth in ERA and tied for ninth in WHIP (1.00). Rosenbaum was selected in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of Xavier University (OH).

 

EVEN STEVEN:  INF Steven Souza ranks among the South Atlantic League leaders in runs (2nd, 26), RBI (t-3rd, 26), total bases (6th, 61) and slugging percentage (8th, .530). In his last 12 games, he is 16-for-41 (.390) with four doubles, two triples, one home run, 10 RBI and 10 runs scored. He has collected six multi-hit games in those 12 contests. Souza, 21, was Washington’s 3rd-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. 

 

DESTIN(Y) IS CALLING:  20-year-old OF Destin Hood is tied for third in the league with 41 hits and ranks fourth with a .336 batting average. He has hit safely in 24 of 31 games overall. Hood was selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and opened the 2010 campaign rated as the No. 10 prospect in the Nationals chain according to Baseball America.

Inside Pitch Live with closer Matt Capps


Capps and Dibble 1.jpgMatt Capps has been everything and more for the Nationals this season. He has provided stability at the back end of the bullpen and when he enters the game, you can put a Curly “W” in the books. He is 13-for-13 in save opportunities and sports a 0.98 ERA with 17 strikeouts. He was named the Delivery Man of the Month for April. He spent 20 minutes on Saturday in the PNC Diamond Club fielding questions from MASN Commentator Rob Dibble as well as fans for the second installment of Inside Pitch Live.

How are you enjoying your stay in Washington?

“I’m enjoying it. We’re still trying to get used to the city. It’s a little bigger city than what I’m used to, coming over from Pittsburgh and then I grew up in a small town. It’s a big city but I’m enjoying it.”

It’s Pups in the Park today and you have a few dogs right?

“I have three golden retrievers. Two of ours are English Cream so they’re as white as my pants. But they’re awesome dogs. I love them.”


Capps and Dibble 2.jpgHow much fun is it to be on a team that is winning?

“It’s been a lot of fun. And the most exciting part about it is I don’t feel like we’re playing good baseball yet. We were a couple of games over .500 a couple of days ago. And the exciting part about that is we’ve played how many games without Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup? And Adam Dunn is not hitting like we know Adam Dunn can hit. And our starting pitching hasn’t really stabilized itself yet. We’ve had some good performances, but as far as consistency with the guys we have and what they’re capable of, I don’t feel like we’ve hit our stride yet.”

Have you had the chance to see fans outside of the ballpark?

“My wife’s family was in town last homestand. We went out to dinner. Don’t tell the guys downstairs but we walked into an ice cream shop. Got some ice cream and I had some people recognize me… a lady recognized me, and I ended up talking to her and her family, what have you and just had a good conversation. They’re excited to have the team back in Washington. They’ve been following the team. From what everybody seems to be saying, everybody’s excited. You can kind of see the writing on the wall of what the Washington Nationals can do, with the guys who are coming and the guys who are here. Like I said, we hit our stride and start playing the way I think everybody here’s capable of playing and this could be a fun place to be.”

What’s it like throwing to Pudge?

“It’s pretty cool. I called my high school coach after the first bullpen [session] I threw in Spring Training just to tell him. This was my fifth Spring Training and I think that was the most nervous I’ve been all year was that first day when I got up on the mound… I look up and there’s Pudge Rodriguez standing there with a mitt. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was like, ‘Oh, man…’”


Capps and Kid.jpgHow nice is he as a teammate?

“He has confidence in you. When he comes out to the mound, I can tell by the way he talks to me, he knows we’re going to get the job done. But the most impressive part about him, there’s a reason why he’s played so long. The guy’s in phenomenal shape and the work ethic that he has, you kind of look at him when you walk into the clubhouse or the weight room, and you see a guy working like that, you think, ‘this guy’s been catching for 20 years in the Big Leagues and he’s working like that?’ He’s, what, 38 years old? I’m 26 years old. There’s no reason for me not to work harder than this guy. So he kind of pushes you in what he does away from the field, and the confidence he has in himself, and the confidence that he shows us, as pitchers–it’s a lot of fun to work with.”

You are the papa bear in the bullpen, how did that start?

“It actually started in Pittsburgh my rookie year. I got called up in 2005. ’05 was a fun year for me. I went to low Single-A ball to the Big Leagues in one year. So when I got to the Big Leagues, I was kind of overwhelmed. I’d never been to a Spring Training. I didn’t know many people on the team. One of the few guys I did know was Sean Burnett. He was on the DL at that point in time, in September of ’05. Part of his duties being on the DL, he wanted to come sit in the bullpen, well anytime somebody warmed up he had to bring them two cups of water. That just kind of carried over. My next year, Burnett wasn’t on the DL. He was done rehabbing. Me being the rookie, that was my job and it’s just something that’s kind of carried over. I know when I’m warming up, a lot of times I don’t want to leave the mound and go to the water cooler, so I kind of felt like if I did it for them, maybe they’d do it for me. So a little bit of selfishness in there. I’m not that nice of a guy (laughing).”

How are guys in the bullpen getting ready for Stephen Strasburg?

“We got a chance to see the guy in Spring Training. He is a phenomenal talent. Anytime somebody can throw 98, 99 miles an hour with a hammer of a curveball and a great changeup and a good feel for everything, you’re a little bit jealous .But we’re excited for him to get up here. I think he’s going to be an impact player from day one. There are a couple of other guys that get overlooked because of all the attention on Strasburg. But the most impressive part about him is the person he is. He’s in the weight room, he’s out running, he’s doing things in between starts. It’s not something you see every day. It’s kind of refreshing. Like I was talking about with Pudge, there’s a reason why he’s so successful. There’s a reason Stephen Strasburg is Stephen Strasburg. He works hard day-in, day-out. And he’s got the physical tools to go along with it. We’re very excited about him getting up here and kind of hoping that when he does get up here we can go to a more traditional seven-man bullpen.”


Capps and Inside pitch.jpgHow do you turn it on when you enter the game? Do you have a trick?

“No, I don’t. If anyone has any advice, please let me know. I try to be the same guy every day, no matter what happened the night before. If you walked into the clubhouse this morning, I don’t want you to see any difference in me whether I had a six out save and struck out six guys or if I blew a three run save the night before. I want to be the same guy every day. I try to do that with my routine.”

Happy Mother’s Day

A win today will give the Nats their fourth series victory at home–sixth overall–and put them three games over .500 for the second time this season.

 

The Nats bullpen is back at full strength after working with six relievers for the past eight games. The Nats selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Doug Slaten from Syracuse and designated left-handed pitcher Matt Chico for assignment.

 

In 11 appearances with Syracuse, Slaten worked 17.0 scoreless innings to earn the promotion. In those 17.0 innings, Slaten was touched for just 11 hits and issued one walk. He struck out 17.

 

The 30 year-old Slaten is 3-5 with 13 holds and a 3.68 ERA (33 ER/80.2 IP) in 126 career big league appearances spanning four seasons (2006-09) with Arizona. His finest season came in 2007, when he posted three wins, seven holds and a 2.72 ERA in a career-high 61 games to help the Diamondbacks earn a post-season berth.

 

Marlins (14-16):

1.    Chris Coghlan – LF

2.    Wes Helms – 3B

3.    Hanley Ramirez – SS

4.    Jorge Cantu – 1B

5.    Dan Uggla – 2B

6.    John Baker – C

7.    Cody Ross – CF

8.    Bryan Petersen – RF

9.    Anibal Sanchez – SP (1-2, 4.06 ERA)

 Nationals (16-14):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Ivan Rodriguez – C

7.      Roger Bernadina – RF

8.      Ian Desmond – SS

9.      Livan Hernandez – SP (4-1, 0.99 ERA)

Pups in the Park

Ladies, Gentlemen and poochies. That’s right, today Nationals Park played host to some canine companions during two exciting events: the second Pups in the Park and the third Annual Adopt-a-Pet.


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