Boy, am I glad that fool Terry Collins left Johan Santana, fresh off of major shoulder surgery, in to throw 134 pitches during his June 1st no-hitter. You don’t need to consult Stephen Hawking to figure that his season had nowhere to go but down from there, which it has, with a 13.50 ERA in July and 19.89 ERA in August. Wait. What is that? Some blogger in Tallahassee said back in June that people shouldn’t get their shorts in a bunch over a manager allowing a pitcher to do what he is supposed to do? Ahem. What can I say? The Nats had just shut out the Braves 2-0 behind seven superlative innings from Stephen Strasburg, so I was liable to say and do anything. Maybe that’s when I also bought the Robo Stir. Well, at least the yoke of having to stir my own food has finally be removed from around my neck!
Game ball(s): Mike Morse. He only got one hit on the night, but he made it count, launching a grand slam off of Santana which staked the Nats to a 4-2 lead which they never surrendered.
Goat(s): Chipper Jones. I know. Larry plays on the Braves and that’s not who the Nationals were playing last night. But he smashed another home run last night in Atlanta’s 4-3 extra-innings win over the Dodgers, making it three home runs in the last two games. Oh, and he is hitting .313 at the Geritol contemplation age of 40 and the Braves keep winning. Anytime now you can begin to break up like the Titanic.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Bryce Harper. His 2 for 3 night with a home run and 2 RBIs was quite the welcome sight, as he’s batted only .183 since the All-Star break. And that includes last night’s hopeful slump-buster effort.
Current Record: 74-45
That’s what Stephen Strasburg was this afternoon in shutting out the Atlanta Braves over seven innings, propelling the Nationals to a 2-0 win. Every pitch was bananas, leading to nine punch outs and zero walks, while allowing only four hits. When Stephen is on his game like he was today, it matters a heck of a lot less that the Nats didn’t do too much better against Brandon Beachy. Jesus Flores went deep in the bottom of the fifth and Xavier Nady doubled home another run for kicks and giggles in the seventh, accounting for all the offense Washington could muster and thankfully, all they would need to secure the victory.
Game ball(s): See, handing Gio the May MESPY was all a part of the strategy. You see how well Strasburg pitches when he is angry?
Goat(s): I’m going to veer off-course a bit here and say all of the critics of Terry Collins for allowing Johan Santana to throw 134 pitches in route to his no-hitter last night. I understand that Santana is coming off of major shoulder problems that cost him all of last season and if the Mets have any hope of continuing to battle for the NL East crown, they have to have Santana take the mound every fifth day. But I also don’t understand the obsession with treating pitchers with such kid gloves today. And for all the pitch counts, innings limits, boutique relievers, can anyone honestly say pitchers are staying healthier than 30-40 years ago? If the Mets want to try to give Johan an extra day before his next start, kudos to them. Probably the wise thing to do. But enough of everyone getting their shorts in a bunch over a manager allowing a pitcher to do what he is supposed to do, and in the course of making history to boot.
Bryce Harper is still only 19: Flores. Great to have him back behind home plate because without him, Washington is truly staring into the abyss at the position.
Current Record: 30-21