Results tagged ‘ Craig Stammen ’

30 Players in 30 Days: Craig Stammen

60610-193 craig stammen.JPGCraig Stammen’s season was the definition of erratic–he moved from the Nationals’ starting rotation to the Minors then back to the Majors and finally to the bullpen. His games were nearly as unstable as his place on the pitching staff. At times, he looked commanding, while other times, he lost control. He did throw the ball harder this season, but a mildly faster fastball that averages around 90 mph and a tighter curveball, don’t always translate to immediate success.


Stammen started the season in rocky fashion, managing just 6.1 innings combined in his first two starts while giving up 11 runs and striking out just one. He immediately improved in his next two starts, this time going a combined 15.0 innings while giving up just five total runs and striking out eight.


Stammen was optioned to Triple-A ball to make room on the active roster for Stephen Strasburg on June 7. He went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three solid starts for the Syracuse Chiefs and returned to the Nationals starting rotation later that month. The move would last a little over a month, during which time Stammen went 3-2 in seven inconsistent games–the type that have defined his short career as a starting pitcher. In Stammen’s return on June 29 against the Braves, he pitched 7.1 innings of two-run ball, holding opposing batters to a .192 average to earn the win. But in his very next start on July 4, Stammen lasted only 3.1 innings before giving up seven earned runs, walking three and walking away with the loss.


Stammen was again taken out of the starting rotation on August 8, but this time he was moved to the bullpen, where he would remain, with moderate success, for the rest of the season. Unlike most starting pitchers, Stammen did not publically grumble about the move, saying, “I’m just Craig, a little old 12th rounder. It’ll be alright. Whatever they want me to do is what I’ll do. Start, come out of the bullpen, clean the balls off.” He previously worked as a reliever in the Minors and left the University of Dayton as the all-time saves leader. “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s not like it’s a demotion,” Stammen said of the move.


This is only Stammen’s second season as a Major League pitcher, so it is way too early to give up on him due to his lack of consistency. The Nationals do have use for him, but the question is, where? Will he pan out as a starter next year? Most likely, he will prove more valuable as a long reliever who may get called on to start from time to time if a vacancy in the rotation arises. 



Craig Stammen is back

Craig Stammen c.jpgCraig Stammen is back in the Majors and he will be asked to stop the Nats five game losing streak.


The Nationals recalled Stammen from Triple-A Syracuse and placed right-handed pitcher Tyler Walker on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 20, with a right shoulder AC joint sprain.


Stammen, who will get the starting nod tonight at Atlanta, went 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA during a three-start International League stint with the Chiefs.


The 26 year-old Stammen began the season with the Nationals and went 1-2 with a 5.43 ERA in 12 starts before being optioned to Syracuse following his June 6 start vs. Cincinnati. Five of Stammen’s 12 assignments rendered quality starts, but the Nationals went just 1-4 in those contests.


Stammen is 5-9 with a 5.23 ERA in 31 career starts with Washington spanning two seasons (2009-present).


The 34-year-old Walker is 1-0 with one hold and a 3.57 ERA in 24 games for the Nationals.

Walk this way and Lineups

Craig Stammen Ex. game.JPGIt is important to preface any baseball statistics or arguments made a half week into the season by saying they probably mean nothing and the records mean even less. The Pirates are undefeated and tied for the lead in the NL Central and the Dodgers are in last place in the NL West. Of course, you would rather be 2-0 than 0-2 but neither record wins a playoff spot. 

The Nats look to salvage game three of their opening series against the Phillies. They will count on 26-year-old Craig Stammen, who had an impressive spring to earn the third spot in the rotation and the Nats are hoping that the third game is a charm.

“Some of the hard work has paid off, but what you do in the spring doesn’t matter,” Stammen said. “All this stuff gets thrown out when the season starts. So I have to continue the success in April.”

For Stammen to have success against the Phillies’ lineup, he will have to pound the strike zone and limit free passes, something John Lannan, Jason Marquis and the bullpen has struggled with in the past few days.

Walk this way.

The Nationals pitching staff has struggled with their control in the first two games. They lead the Majors with 17 walks, nine walks in game one and eight walks last night. The Red Sox are right behind them with 16 walks but that is in three games. These high walk numbers might be more indicative of the two lineups the teams are facing–the Phillies and Yankees, respectively–but it is never easy to win a game when a team walks eight or more batters. Last year, there were 203 times that a team issued eight or more walks and the outcome is what you may expect. The teams issuing the walks went 55-148 (.271) in those games.

The Nationals won’t average eight walks a game but of the 17 walks: six were on full counts, two were on four pitches, two were intentional and five of the batters eventually scored. Pitching around a batter with two outs typically produces a different result than walking the first batter. Last night in the top of the ninth, the Nats intentionally walked Carlos Ruiz with two outs and the next batter, Ryan Madson, struck out. On the other hand, walking the leadoff hitter of the inning always seems to haunt teams. The Phillies leadoff hitter has been issued a free pass six times and they have crossed the plate four times. Walks aren’t runs but they lead to runs.

There are 11 teams that have surrendered 10 or more walks so far this season. Their combined record is 9-17. The 10 teams with the lowest walk totals are 16-7. These statistics aren’t trying to show a cause-and-effect–there isn’t one–and maybe there isn’t even a correlation. A team wins the game by scoring more runs than the other team–thanks John Madden–but walks help the other teams score more runs. It is that simple.

 Phillies (2-0):

1.      Jimmy Rollins – SS

2.      Placido Polanco – 3B

3.      Chase Utley – 2B

4.      Ryan Howard – 1B

5.      Jayson Werth – RF

6.      Raul Ibanez – LF

7.      Shane Victorino – CF

8.      Brian Schneider – C

9.      Kyle Kendrick – SP


*Kendrick had a stellar spring and allowed just four hits (0 BB, 0 R) over his first 9.0 innings. He gave up two earned runs or less in all seven of his appearances (5 starts).

*Kendrick replaced injured right-hander Joe Blanton (left oblique strain) in the Phillies’ rotation.

*To pitch to Howard or not is a tough question because Jayson Werth has been just as lethal against the Nats. “You are between a rock and a hard place with those guys,” Manager Jim Riggleman said.


Nationals (0-2):

1.      Nyjer Morgan – CF

2.      Cristian Guzman – SS

3.      Ryan Zimmerman – 3B

4.      Adam Dunn – 1B

5.      Josh Willingham – LF

6.      Willie Harris – RF

7.      Adam Kennedy – 2B

8.      Wil Nieves – C

9.      Craig Stammen – SP

*Guzman gets his first start at SS after pinch hitting for Mike Morse and playing right field last night.

*Pudge gets a break because of the day game after a night game.

Another day in paradise

Storen and Bruney.jpgThe Sunshine state definitely didn’t get its nickname on a day like today. The spring showers delayed the start of practice for the pitchers and catchers but it wasn’t too long before the sun appeared. Half the pitchers and catchers played long toss and the other half stretched on the main field. There were a handful of position players taking ground balls–Nyjer Morgan showed he could be a solid first baseman.


There is definitely an interesting contrast between work and play at Spring Training. For the most part, the veteran players know what they have to do to be ready when the season starts. Pitcher Craig Stammen said if you enter the Spring in-shape it is pretty easy. The younger players are just trying to soak it all in, ask questions and try to claim the few remaining roster spots. Spring Training is like the first 15 minutes of an NFL practice: stretching, drills and tossing the ball.


“Practice is pretty laid back,” Craig Stammen said. “This is about as hard as the first half of practice during high school football.”


“Spring Training is the best part of the year,” Willy Taveras said. “You practice in the morning and then you are done.”


“It was surprising to see how early the veteran guys get here and how hard they work,” Drew Storen said. “It’s not something I really expected and it’s something I learned from.”


Balester high knees.jpgTo say it is easy would imply anyone could do it. To say it is exhausting would be an exaggeration. It’s hard and easy at the same time–hard just to make it to camp, even harder to make it out and easy compared to running a marathon. Of course, everything is easy expect for what is difficult. Then again, to say anything is easy in baseball is a lie. What’s the easiest thing to do in baseball? I bet you were thinking… “Laying down a bunt.” Don’t be fooled. I just took a crash course in bunting from Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein and realized there is nothing easy about it. Even if you properly position yourself, the thought of a 95 mph fastball in on the hands can leave a grown man’s pants wet.


“Everything looks easy on TV,” Eckstein said.


Don’t be fooled.


Line of the day:

 “Is it ok if I keep my shirt off for the interview?” the always funny and far from flashy Eddie Guardado said to a TV reporter. “You know everybody would like that.”


Numbers games:

It’s always interesting to see the numbers everyone is wearing. A lot of atypical baseball numbers make the way out of the wood work to accommodate the large number of players at camp. Thankfully they disappear when the season starts. Collin Balester is wearing No. 99 but he is game for rocking that number the whole season. Nats top catching prospect Derek Norris is wearing No. 62. Storen wore No. 26 for his introductory press conference, No. 17 in the AFL and now he is wearing No. 58. When he makes it to the Majors, don’t count on him wearing No. 58 and he won’t be wearing No. 26 now that Jesus Flores has claimed his rights to that number.


“I don’t know about the number 26 but hopefully something a little skinnier so it makes me look bigger,” Storen said. “These big numbers make me look skinny. I need to find a slimmer number but as long as I have a Nationals jersey on it doesn’t really matter.”


Livo is back:

Livan Hernandez is a member of the Washington Nationals yet again. He rejoins the Nationals after going 9-12 with a 5.44 ERA in 31 starts last season with the Nats and Mets. After winning seven games in 23 starts for the Mets, Hernandez signed with the Nationals on August 25, and in eight starts, finished 2-4 with a 5.36 ERA in his second stint in DC. Hernandez recorded 18 quality starts in 31 assignments (58%) last season, including six in eight outings with Washington.


Happy Thanksgiving: Enjoy Your Pies

There isn’t a better way of saying “great job” or “welcome to The Show” than getting a shaving cream meringue pie square in the face. It screams good job, leaving both eyes squinting, stinging and blurry to make sure you remember you were important tonight. It is the single game version of the playoff clinching celebratory champagne shower.

j. d. martin pie 2.JPGThe sour taste in the mouth and tears in the eyes are imperative, they are the robust rewards to make sure you –yes, you–know you won the game. It doesn’t taste like key lime or pumpkin pie–quite the opposite–but the shaving cream pie is a tasty treat in its own right.

Pieing has taken place in baseball for a while but there isn’t a documented beginning of the tradition. On the other hand, there is a start date for the pieing practice this season for the Nats. It began on April 20th after Jordan Zimmermann recorded his first Major League victory. Starting pitcher John Lannan is the Nationals pieing practitioner.

“I was the only pitcher in the starting rotation that wasn’t a rookie, so I took that role because of that fact,” Lannan said. “I get along with them so well that I want to be the guy that says here is a pie in the face. You did a good job. Welcome to the Big Leagues.”

Jordan ZimmermannFirst start, first win and victim No. 1. Bam. As Zimmermann finished his post-game interview with Debbi Taylor, Lannan with teammate Scott Olsen emerged from the steps of the dugout. Taylor slyly stepped out of the way and as Zimmermann turned around to walk into the clubhouse, Olsen delivered a devastating Joe Louis left-hook that had Zimmermann looking like baseball’s version of Two Face. Zimmermann tried to avoid the second pie–a half hearted run along the warning track–but Lannan reared back, grabbed his right shoulder and made sure the left side of his face felt the fury too. A typically emotionless Zimmermann beamed ear to ear in a post-game interview. 

“That was definitely shaving cream,” said Zimmermann that night. “It stung a little bit but I will be just fine.”

It didn’t stop there.

Craig StammenWelcome to The Show. Bam. Stammen had just pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing zero runs on six hits to get his first Major League victory at Yankee Stadium and handed the Nats a series victory over the Bronx Bombers. That has all the credentials for the pie platter. As Taylor distracted Stammen with a few post-game questions, Lannan locked in on his target, pitching a perfect pie game to the face has never been a problem.

Lannan isn’t known for his ninja like skills but he has an uncanny ability to successfully throw pie strikes each time.

“Debbi makes sure the interviewee is facing the field,” said Lannan conceding that Debbi is in on the pie prank. “So I come up through the stairs very secretively. I try to do it half way through the conversation because they know it’s coming but they forget because they are focusing on the question.”

garrett mock pie 3.JPGGarrett Mock
Your five o’clock shadow is showing–here let me help you. Bam.

The next day… J.D. MartinShaving cream is a great way to cool down. Bam.

Ross DetwilerYour 13th Major League start was memorable. Bam.

“I change it up,” Lannan said. “I do a little splatter. I do a little rub in the face and make sure it gets everywhere. My main goal is to make sure Debbi Taylor doesn’t get any shaving cream on her clothes.”

How can you get mad at someone who is that courteous? You can’t.

Lannan might have to change his tactics in 2010. Players adapt. Players get smarter. Players find a way to avoid the inevitable. Of course, not if you are always one step ahead of them.  He can always take a page out of the Mark Lowe pieing text book–it’s not for sale and I guess it’s not actually a book but it’s on YouTube.

Last year, Seattles’ Mark Lowe pied the usual culprit J.J. Putz after he made his first start off the disabled list. During his post-game interview in the dugout, Putz constantly looked over his shoulder expecting a pie in his face. Lowe took the U.S. Army Rangers approach to pieing–attack when they least expect it. When Putz made it back to his locker, he thought he had all his bases covered to prevent a pieing. 

“You guys need to make a wall so no one can get in here,” Putz said to the media members circled around him.

It turns out the Great Wall of China couldn’t have stopped Lowe. He was already inside the circle, nestled nicely in the cozy confines of Putz’s locker behind his shirts. Lowe emerged as Putz was answering his first question. We missed you… so here is a pie to your face. Bam.

“Welcome back big guy,” Lowe said.

Pieing is a treat best served quickly, unexpected and with shaving cream right between the eyes. Whip cream would make too much sense and actually taste good.

Lannan eventually worked outside of the pitching rotation. If your reputation is the “pie person”… you might as well make it a reality.

“Once I took over as the pie guy I had to get Justin Maxwell,” Lannan said, “after he hit the walk-off grand slam in the final home game.”

Justin Maxwell… that was an amazing way to close out the season at Nationals Park. Bam.

justin maxwell pie 1.JPGHis pie days are by no means done, they might just be starting. There isn’t a hit list or wish list, just a few people he might be pieing soon… Stephen Strasburg.

“I am going to throw a 100 mph pie at his face,” Lannan said with a smile. “I am just kidding. Hopefully I get to pie him this year.”

Nationals volunteer at Food & Friends

Nationals pitcher Craig Stammen and 30 front office employees volunteered at Food & Friends yesterday. Along with volunteers from other organizations, the group helped prepare some of the 700 turkey boxes Food & Friends will deliver to their clients for Thanksgiving–people with life-challenging illnesses who may not otherwise be able to host Thanksgiving dinner for their families. The Nationals staff also helped to sort donated food and label pre-made meals for Food & Friends beneficiaries.


Stamman F&F 4 (Stammen).jpg“It was a lot of fun, I’m glad a lot of us from the Nationals organization came out here and do a little good for the community,” Stammen said. “We all get to go home and do our Thanksgiving. It’s good that we can provide that for some other people.”


Stamman F&F 1.jpg
Stamman F&F 2 (vern).jpgVolunteers helped in the kitchen, preparing turkey, chopping veggies and boiling potatoes. Each turkey box serves four people and includes a 10-12 pound turkey, sides and two pies.


“Food & Friends is delighted to partner with the Washington Nationals,” Executive Director Craig Shniderman said. “Not only are the Nationals, and their staff, a first-rate baseball organization, but they are also staunch supporters of their community. We so appreciate their consistent volunteerism with Food & Friends.”


Stamman F&F 3 (employees).jpgInteresting facts:

  • The organization began in 1987 and serves close to one million meals a year to 1,400 clients throughout Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia area.
  • They rely heavily on volunteers – approximately 13,000 give their time each year.

30 Players in 30 Days: Craig Stammen

Craig Stammen

The Nationals relied on their young guns all season long–they knew there would be growing pains and there were. Craig Stammen made his Major League debut on May 21 against the Pirates and went on to lead all Nationals rookies with 19 starts. He went 6.1 innings in that first start with three strikeouts and four earned runs. He received the no-decision in the 5-4 victory. He was one of three Nationals–Jordan Zimmermann and J.D. Martin being the others–to make their debut this season as a starter. The Nationals led the National League with 95 starts by rookie pitchers. That’s more than the Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Yankees, Pirates, Giants and Cardinals combined. Those teams only had 75 starts by rookies collectively–still 20 short of the Nationals.

A pitcher’s first Major League win is always a memorable moment but Stammen made it a magical moment. On June 18 at the new Yankee Stadium, Stammen kept the Bronx Bombers bats at bay pitching 6.1 scoreless innings. The win secured the series victory over the Yankees.

Stammen was drafted by the Nationals in 2005 and slowly worked his way up to the Majors. Before his call up this year, he pitched seven games for Triple-A Syracuse and was named the Syracuse Pitcher of the Month for April. In that time, he went 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA and .205 BAA in four starts.

Stammen struggled at times, like all rookies, but pitched well in July. If Stammen can pitch in 2010 like he pitched in July of 2009–2-2 with a 3.18 ERA (34.0 IP/ 12 ER)–he will be a force at the back end of the rotation. He also had a season-best K/BB ratio of 2.60 during that month too. The highlight of the month was on July 11 when Stammen threw a complete game in a 13-2 win at Houston. He scattered nine hits with two strikeouts and only one walk.

While Stammen didn’t have a winning record, he held his own in his first Major League season. Stammen did not get to finish the season and was shut down in September due to bone spurs in his elbow. He had arthroscopic surgery and should be fully recovered by Spring Training 2010.


Craig Stammen Final Major League Stats



































Craig Stammen Final Minor League Stats

































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Lannan and Stammen Bring Joy to Guests at the Children’s Inn

Lannan Cannons 7 c.jpgNationals pitchers John Lannan and Craig Stammen visited with 10 children and their families at The Children’s Inn at NIH yesterday, their first visit to the facility which houses children receiving treatment for life-threatening diseases at NIH. The Inn was decorated for Halloween–some children already in their costumes for the evening’s Halloween party–and an air of excitement surrounded the day’s activities.

“Our mission is to take kids minds off of why they come here,” said Meredith Daly, a Media Relations Coordinator at the Inn. “They come here for really difficult journeys, they’re going through life-threatening illnesses and if we can raise their spirits and make them feel a little bit better when they come, we’ve done our job.”

Lannan Cannons 1.jpgLannan partnered with The Children’s Inn through the Lannan’s Cannons program, created mid-way through the 2009 season, in which he hosted children and their families from the Inn for a day of fun at the ballpark. Along with tickets and food vouchers for the game, John named The Children’s Inn his beneficiary for the $7,500 donation he received when he was nominated for the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award. The visit began with a check presentation to the Inn in front of the fireplace.

Lannan, Stammen and the kids then settled in for a reading of everyone’s favorite baseball book: “Casey at the Bat”. The kids (and Stammen) listened intently as Lannan told them the story of mighty Casey up to bat with the game on the line. After hearing about baseball the kids were ready to enjoy the fall weather and play ball on the sports court. They lined up for a chance to throw to John and Craig. Everyone had a great time running and playing with the Major Leaguers.

Lannan Cannons 4.jpg
Lannan Cannons 2.jpg
Lannan Cannons 3.jpg“Anything like this makes the stay that much easier and keeps the days a little bit more optimistic and more upbeat,” Colleen Paduani said, the mother of Quinn (Minnie Mouse) and Declan. “The Inn is the greatest place to get away–almost like a vacation when it comes to the kids. There’s just so much stuff going on here it makes it not so bad. It’s like a second family.”

Lannan Cannons 6.jpgWhen the children had their fill of the outdoors they returned inside to find “Screech” waiting for them with Build-A-Bear Screech dolls and baseball cards for everyone. The players and Screech signed autographs and talked to the kids a bit longer before it was time to get ready for the evening’s Halloween party.

Lannan Cannons 8.jpg“This whole thing sparked up during the middle of the season. I’ve been trying to come out here the whole year,” Lannan said. “It’s just great that I was in the area and I was able to come out here and see the kids. They came to the games and supported us. I want to come here today and show our support for them. Overall, it was a great visit.”

Lannan Cannons 5.jpg“It’s good we can come out here when the season’s over and connect with the kids, get out there on the playground and have a taste of fun,” Stammen added. “It’s great to help out the community when we get helped out on the field.”

Lannan and Stammen walked with the kids to the Halloween party at NIH’s main building and spent time greeting patients, playing games, being wrapped up like mummies and celebrating with the group.

Lannan Cannons 9.jpg“It keeps you humbled,” Lannan said. “It keeps you grounded. I’m grateful to be in a place where I get to give back. They are sick–I’m glad I can be here and have fun with them.”

Lineups for 7/26



Cabrera – SS

Venable – CF

Headley – LF

Kouzmanoff – 3B

Blanks – RF

Salazar – 1B

Rodriguez – 2B

Alfonso – C

Gaudin – P




Harris – CF

Johnson – 1B

Zimmerman – 3B

Dunn – LF

Willingham – RF

Bard – C

Gonzalez – SS

Hernandez – 2B

Lannan – P


Did you know: Last night’s game against the Padres was the third time that Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn homered in the same game this season. It was the first game that they both hit home runs since May 9 at ARI.


Last night’s 13 runs scored was a Nats (2005-present) record for runs scored in a home game. The last time a Washington team notched 13 runs in a game was back on April 7, 1970 when the Senators beat DET 14-4.


Capture the Caption: Submit your caption to or in the comments section. The winning caption receives a free Nationals beach towel.


And the winning caption is… “Flat Stanley goes to Washington.”

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Nats doomed by rain… again

dunn homerun.jpgThe Marlins beat the Nationals last night 7-5 in a rain-shortened game at Land Shark Stadium. While the Nats looked strong on the offensive end, they ran into trouble with their bullpen and defense. Adam Dunn inched closer to home run 300 with a two-run blast in the fifth to give the Nats a 5-1 lead. He sits on 298. Starter Craig Stammen looked strong pitching, and helped his cause by driving in two runs on a single in the fourth, but he faltered in the sixth when the Marlins cut the lead to 5-4 on a home run by Hanley Ramirez. In the seventh, Ramirez again did some damage with a two-run, two-out single with the bases loaded. Jorge Cantu hit an RBI base hit before the game was suspended due to rain.

“It couldn’t happen an inning before?” Dunn said. “You’ve gotta think the baseball gods really do hate us.”

In other Nationals News:

More details about yesterday’s trade


– A look at the Nationals ever-changing bullpen

– Newly signed Kobernus a steady, quality player