Results tagged ‘ Stephen Strasburg ’

Nationals’ aces fill up NL Cy Young ballots

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by Mike Feigen

It came as no surprise that Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers earned the National League Cy Young Award Wednesday, unanimously capturing all 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. After all, the southpaw led all of baseball in ERA, wins, complete games, WHIP and FIP (fielding independent pitching).

cyyoungHowever, down the writers’ ballots, another storyline emerged.

Three members of the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation — Jordan Zimmermann (5th), Doug Fister (8th) and Stephen Strasburg (T-9th) — finished in the top 10 of the voting, making them the only team in either league to achieve that distinction in the past three years.

Zimmermann, 28, went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA in 199.2 innings in 2014, concluding the season with the first no-hitter in Nationals history. The 6-foot-2 right-hander added a brilliant first-round performance in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, surrendering just three hits in Game 2. In total, Zimmermann allowed a total of three hits to the final 62 batters he faced dating back to his September 20 start against the Miami Marlins.

Fister, acquired last offseason in a deal with the Detroit Tigers, lived up to his billing as a dynamic, big-game pitcher. Standing 6-foot-8, the lanky right-hander used his power sinker and array of off-speed pitches to keep hitters off balance all season. Fister led the Nationals in ERA (2.41) and wins (16) during the regular season, then added a victory in Game 3 of the NLDS against Madison Bumgarner and the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

If not for Zimmermann’s late-season heroics, Strasburg would have easily finished the season as the Nationals’ hottest pitcher. The 26-year-old righty went 7-2 in August and September, including a 3-0 record with a 0.00 ERA over his final three starts of the season. In those contests, the right-hander allowed 10 hits and three walks over 20.0 scoreless innings, striking out 19.

Including Tanner Roark (15-10, 2.85) and Gio Gonzalez (10-10, 3.57), the Nationals owned one of the finest starting rotations in all of baseball, with all five primary members deserving recognition for their excellent 2014 campaigns. Factoring in the excellent bullpen performances from relievers such as Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, the entire staff led baseball in ERA (3.03), FIP (3.18), fewest home runs per fly ball (7.5%) and lowest walk rate (2.15 per 9 innings). The team also set a Major League record by striking out 3.66 batters for every walk issued, the best ratio in history.

With Zimmermann, Fister and Strasburg all earning BBWAA votes, the result doubled the number of times Nationals pitchers have received Cy Young votes since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005. Previously receiving tallies were Chad Cordero (5th, 2005), Gonzalez (3rd, 2012) and Zimmermann (7th, 2013).

Inside the Numbers: Starting Rotation

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by Mike Feigen

startersnldsWhen the Nationals take the field for Game 1 of the National League Division Series this Friday, whichever pitcher Matt Williams entrusts with the starting assignment will give the team a tremendous chance to win.

That’s what the eye test tells us.

Fans of the Nationals saw Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark and Gio Gonzalez win game after game — or at least help the club earn win after win — throughout the regular season. Those core members of the starting five owned a collective record of 69-42 (.622) and the Nationals went 94-55 (.631) when one of them received the ball.

However, wins and losses really don’t tell a precise story of how well a pitcher performed. Too many external factors come into play in each win and loss, such as run support, batted ball luck and bullpen performance.

Instead, we look at the types of things a pitcher can control, such as walks and strikeouts. In the case of the 2014 Nationals, no pitching staff did it better — in the history of baseball.

This season, Washington pitchers struck out 1,288 opposing batters and walked 352. That’s a ratio of 3.66-to-1, a better rate than any of the other 2,391 teams to play a full season of baseball since 1901.

In fact, only 60 other teams in history had even managed a 2.66-to-1 ratio, underscoring just how well the Nationals struck batters out and limited free passes.

But the 3.66-to-1 figure only scratches the surface.

When considering only starting pitchers, the Nationals’ figure leaps to an astounding 4.05-to-1. And when excluding the 13 spot starts posted throughout the year by Blake Treinen, Taylor Jordan and Taylor Hill — leaving just the core five of Zimmermann, Strasburg, Fister, Roark and Gonzalez — the limits of the statistical stratosphere are tested.

The final ratio? An incredible 4.30-to-1.

So, when the going gets tough and runners are on base in the postseason, Williams, pitching coach Steve McCatty and the rest of the Nationals have the numbers on their side to back up what we’ve seen in the regular season. Notching a timely strikeout instead of issuing an inopportune walk can make or break a team in October — and one team is better equipped to do it than any other.

 Name K BB K:BB ratio
Zimmermann 182 29 6.28
Strasburg 242 43 5.63
Fister 98 24 4.08
Roark 138 39 3.54
Gonzalez 162 56 2.89
TOTAL 822 191 4.30

Nationals Game Notes — June 4 vs. Philadelphia Phillies

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Game #57: Washington Nationals (28-28) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (24-32) | 7:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-4, 3.15 ERA) vs. RHP AJ Burnett (3-4, 3.79 ERA)
Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA (1 ER/17.0 IP) in a pair of home starts (one BB, 19 SO in 17.0 inn.) against the Philadelphia Phillies last season.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN and WUSA
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

With Ryan Zimmerman in the starting lineup this season, the Nationals are 7-4 and average 6.3 runs per game (69 runs, 11 contests). In 45 games wihout Zimmerman, the Nationals have averaged 3.6 runs per game (160 runs, 45 games) and are 21-24.

Here are the lineups for tonight’s match-up:

NATIONALS (28-28)

2 Denard Span (L) CF
6 Anthony Rendon 3B
28 Jayson Werth RF
25 Adam LaRoche (L) 1B
11 Ryan Zimmerman LF
40 Wilson Ramos C
20 Ian Desmond SS
8 Danny Espinosa (S) 2B
37 Stephen Strasburg RHP

PHILLIES (24-32)

11 Jimmy Rollins (S) SS
26 Chase Utley (L) 2B
3 Marlon Byrd RF
6 Ryan Howard (L) 1B
51 Carlos Ruiz C
9 Domonic Brown (L) LF
17 Reid Brignac (L) 3B
2 Ben Revere (L) CF
34 A.J. Burnett RHP

Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Nationals Game Notes — May 19 vs. Cincinnati Reds

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Game #44: Washington Nationals (23-20) vs. Cincinnati Reds (19-23) | 7:05 p.m. | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (3-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Leake (2-3, 3.09 ERA)
Both Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (No. 1 overall, San Diego State) and Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander Mike Leake (No. 8 overall, Arizona State) were Top 10 picks in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

The Washington Nationals have received more home runs from their middle infielders (15) than any other team in the Major Leagues. The Colorado Rockies rank second with 14.

Here’s the breakdown:

Second basemen: 7
Danny Espinosa: 6, Anthony Rendon: 1
Shortstops: 8
Ian Desmond: 7, Zach Walters: 1

Here are tonight’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

Stephen Strasburg stars in ‘This is SportsCenter’ ad

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Washington Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg stars in a brand new ‘This is SportsCenter’ ad, which debuted on Sunday night.

The ad, which was filmed in January, features the Nationals’ ace hanging out in the lunchroom at the ESPN headquarters while D.C.-area native Bram Weinstein searches the freezer frantically for his lean cuisine.

We won’t give away any more, just take a look for yourself:

Nationals Game Notes — May 7 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

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Game #34: Washington Nationals (18-15) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (19-15) | 1:05 p.m. ET | Nationals Park
Pitching Match-Ups: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Haren (4-0, 2.39 ERA)
Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren spent the 2013 season with the Washington Nationals. Haren was 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA but posted a 3.29 ERA in his final 15 starts.
Radio: 106.7 FM / 1500 AM, also on nationals.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv)
TV: The game will be televised on MASN, WUSA9 and MLB Network
Live Statsnationals.com

Of note:

The collective Washington Nationals bullpen ERA of 2.15 (26 ER/109 IP) makes Matt LeCroy’s bullpen one of just three in all of Major League Baseball currently sporting a sub-2.50 ERA this season.

Only the San Diego Padres (1.87 ERA) and San Francisco Giants (1.88) have posted better marks.

Here are today’s game notes, courtesy of the Washington Nationals PR department. Enjoy!

 

Highlights from a sweep-clinching victory

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by Amanda Comak

“I don’t need to go out there and trick guys, and I don’t need to go out there and be perfect. I’ve just got to attack the strike zone, let my stuff work and get much better results that way.” — Stephen Strasburg after tossing 6.2 innings of one-run ball and striking out 12.

“To see him go out and execute it today, exactly the way he wanted to change and what he was going to mess with, was pretty good to see. That’s maturity. Everyone forgets how young he is. He’s going to keep on getting better and better, and today was proof of that.” — Ian Desmond on Stephen Strasburg

“This is the type of ball that we can play. You’ve got to keep tacking on runs late. These teams in our division, they can hit. So they’re going to be doing the same. But I think night in, night out if we come in here looking to outslug the other team, we’re going to be in good shape.” — Jayson Werth after the Nationals hit their second late-inning grand slam in as many games.

“We were already winning. ‘Come through’ is what Aaron Barrett did.” — Ian Desmond, when asked how he felt to ‘come through’ for the team with his grand slam that blew open a close game, referencing Aaron Barrett striking out Giancarlo Stanton to keep it a one-run game.

“The next one better be in the dirt.” — Catcher Sandy Leon to Aaron Barrett after Giancarlo Stanton crushed a slider foul. Stanton struck out on the next pitch.

Opening Day highlights

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by Amanda Comak

NEW YORK — Early Monday morning, Washington Nationals Manager Matt Williams shrugged his shoulders and issued a platitude about his nervous energy. “Opening Day,” Williams said a few hours before his first game as a Major League manager. “If you can’t get excited about Opening Day, something’s wrong.”

But almost as soon as the game began, excitement likely gave way to anxiety and stress. The Nationals’ first game of the season contained enough drama to fill a week’s worth of games, and while the victory — a 9-7 win in 10 innings over the New York Mets — was sweet, the prospect of at least 161 more ahead was perhaps the day’s most intriguing thought.

Through photos and videos, here are some of the highlights from a beautiful first day of the season:

Adam LaRoche gets the Nationals on the board with this lofty two-run home run.

Anthony Rendon’s first big hit of the day was this RBI-double.

Denard Span was in the thick of things all day, including on this game-tying double.

Anthony Rendon then gave the Nationals their 10th-inning cushion with this big three-run shot.

Here’s how the first Curly W of the season went into the books.

Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 in six innings of work. 

Daily Wrap: Zimmerman’s big day, Nationals win a challenge, the roster gets trimmed, & more

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by Amanda Comak

Stephen Strasburg took the mound Tuesday afternoon for his final tuneup before Opening Day at Citi Field. The Washington Nationals‘ ace was terrific in 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs off five hits and two walks. He struck out seven. The Nationals’ offense exploded for five runs shortly after Strasburg was touched for the Mets’ three, making those runs moot.

The Nationals won, 7-3.

Player of the Day: Ryan Zimmerman

072112-327 ryan zimmermanRyan Zimmerman looked more than ready for the regular season when he smacked a solo home run to center field in the eighth inning off Mets closer Bobby Parnell, but it was just part of a big day at the plate for the Nationals’ third baseman. On the day, Zimmerman was 2-for-4 with a two-run single that kicked off the Nationals’ five-run third inning, along with a walk.

With two games remaining in the Nationals’ Grapefruit League slate, Zimmerman is now hitting .325 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .575 slugging percentage. In 40 at-bats, Zimmerman has 13 hits, and five of those have gone for extra bases.

Quote of the Day: Denard Span on his catch in the eighth inning. Initially ruled a trapped ball, the Nationals used their challenge and instant replay overturned the call to rule it correctly as the third out of the inning. (Highlights below)

“All I saw was (Ian Desmond) and (Anthony Rendon) screaming for me to throw the ball in just in case they didn’t call it a catch. The runner was still going. But I knew I had caught the ball, (Jayson Werth) knew I had caught the ball, he was already in the on-deck circle. I think Desi looked back at me and asked me. I shook my head, ‘Yes’ (I caught it).

“As long as they’re going to get it right I think it’s worthwhile. It felt a little bit like NFL Sunday, just kind of waiting for the ruling on the field and everybody standing around… (but) I knew I caught it.”

Video Highlights:

Stephen Strasburg strikes out seven Mets in 5.2 innings.

Ryan Zimmerman launches a solo home run in the eighth inning.

The Nationals won a challenge and had a call overturned on Denard Span’s fabulous catch in the eighth.

Bryce Harper smashes a three-run home run off the flag pole in center field to give the Nationals the lead.

Notables:

The Nationals trimmed their roster to 28 on Tuesday afternoon, optioning right-hander Ryan Mattheus, left-hander Xavier Cedeno and first baseman/outfielder Tyler Moore to Triple-A Syracuse. The team also released veteran infielder Jamey Carroll, and right-hander Chris Young… Right-handed reliever Aaron Barrett was informed that he had made the Major League team… The Nationals closed out the home slate of their Grapefruit League schedule on Tuesday and will hit the road for their final two exhibition games in Florida. The team thanks the 77,564 fans who joined the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium this spring. The 5,540 per game attendance is the best in Nationals Spring Training history.

Daily Wrap: Nationals top Tigers, Strasburg reacts to Opening Day nod & more

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by Amanda Comak

VIERA, Fla. — Thursday afternoon started with a tremendous pitching match-up: Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg vs. reigning American League Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.

It ended with the Nationals taking home an 8-1 victory in which Strasburg continued his stellar spring and the Nationals’ offense rapped out five runs off seven hits against Scherzer — including a long home run to left center field by shortstop Ian Desmond.

Player of the Day: Second baseman Danny Espinosa

Washington Nationals v New York YankeesThere were plenty of candidates for the “Player of the Day” on Thursday. Jayson Werth went 2-for-3 with a double, Ryan Zimmerman smacked a triple and Desmond crushed his third home run of the spring. But the honor goes to second baseman Danny Espinosa.

Espinosa, who went 1-for-3 with a base hit, scored the Nationals’ first run of the day and played stellar defensively.

In the first inning — moments after an uncharacteristic fielding error by Denard Span allowed Ian Kinsler to reach base — Espinosa snared a high feed from Desmond on a Tyler Collins grounder. With Kinsler bearing down on him at second, Espinosa still managed to zip off a strong throw to Adam LaRoche at first to complete the double play.

An inning that opened with a baserunner off Strasburg soon turned into a frame in which the right-hander faced the minimum.

It was a day that continued the positive impression Espinosa has been making on manager Matt Williams this spring.

“(His approach has been) fantastic,” Williams said. “He’s eager to play every day, and it’s really hard to get him out of a ballgame, which is a very good trait to have. The numbers are misleading both ways in Spring Training and I’m encouraged by the way he’s going about it. It’s really good.

“I’m pleased with his approach, I’m pleased with his work ethic every day and the way he’s going about his approach within the game. Sometimes they fall, sometimes they don’t, sometimes you swing and miss. But as long as he’s going about it the right way, I think he’ll be just fine.”

Quote of the Day: Stephen Strasburg on earning his third straight Opening Day start

Williams announced Wednesday night that Strasburg would take the ball for the Nationals on Opening Day in New York. Strasburg was honored by the decision, but admitted he has bigger goals.

050412-197 stephen strasburg“I hope my career isn’t just a reflection of how many Opening Day starts I have,” he said after tossing five scoreless innings against the Detroit Tigers to bring his spring ERA to 0.64. “There are a lot of guys in this rotation who deserve it and I’m just the first one out. I think every game is going to be just as important.

“The biggest goal as a team is that we’re playing in the playoffs, and I want to focus on trying to make starts in the playoffs more so than just an Opening Day start.”

Video highlights: Did you miss any of the Nationals’ feature on MLB Network’s 30 clubs in 30 days? Catch up with all of the highlights right here.

Notables:

The Nationals trimmed their roster to 36 players in Major League camp on Thursday, optioning right-hander Ross Ohlendorf, catcher Jhonatan Solano, infielder Zach Walters and right-hander Christian Garcia to Triple-A Syracuse, along with reassigning right-hander Manny Delcarmen, first baseman Brock Peterson and infielder Will Rhymes to Minor League camp… The Nationals have just two games left at Space Coast Stadium this spring, playing Saturday against the Miami Marlins and Tuesday against the New York Mets… The team will finish the Grapefruit League slate with two road games, in Jupiter, Fla., and St. Lucie, Fla., against the St. Louis Cardinals and Mets, respectively, before heading north to face the Tigers in an exhibition game at Nationals Park on March 29.

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