Tag Archives: 2012 MLB season

Should the Nationals Shutdown Stephen Strasburg?

I’ve never agreed with basketball coaches who remove their best player as soon as he or she gets into foul trouble. Two fouls in the first half? The coach calls for a sub almost reflexively. The thought is that if the player stays in the game, he might foul out and therefore not be available later. In other words, he won’t get to play as much as he usually does. But of course he might not foul out. By removing him for long stretches, the coach is guaranteeing he will miss significant minutes.

And that brings us to Stephen Strasburg, the 24-year-old star pitcher for the Washington Nationals. It had been speculated for months, but recently Washington general manager Mike Rizzo made it official: Strasburg will be shut down for the season after reaching an innings limit of approximately 160. Strasburg has thrown 145 innings to this point, meaning the first-place Nats won’t have their ace for the last 2-3 weeks of the regular season or the playoffs.
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A Rookie, a Wookiee, and a Snooki

I wonder what Matt Harvey was thinking. The 23-year-old pitcher spent his first day in a big league clubhouse yesterday, having been called up from Buffalo in preparation for his first major league start on Thursday. Did he look around Citi Field and ask himself, “What the hell did I get myself into?”

Other thoughts that may have passed through Harvey’s head:

There weren’t this many Storm Troopers in Buffalo.

I’ve never seen a Jersey Shore cast member do play-by-play before!

No rain delays in the big leagues? I better toughen up.
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Josh Outman? Not Quite

Pudge. Double X. Catfish. The Say Hey Kid. Crime Dog. The Big Unit. The Big Cat. Nails.

Part of me just wanted to list some of my favorite baseball nicknames. But I also wanted to point out that great players—and sometimes not-so-great players—often get nicknames because their given names don’t do them justice. While there aren’t as many nicknames as there used to be, a few players are lucky enough to have real names that are just as good—no player more so than Colorado Rockies pitcher Josh Outman. But, no player has failed to live up to his name quite like Outman this season.
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Youth, Innocence, and the Home Run Derby

Yesterday evening I texted my friend Eric: “Be honest, did you know the Home Run Derby was tonight? And are you excited at all?”

He responded by saying he had just found out when SportsCenter showed its Top 10 Derby moments. And no, he wasn’t excited.

If you had told the 10-year-old versions of Eric and me that we’d have that exchange, we would have…not believed you, that’s what!
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R.A. Dickey and the Knuckleball

R.A. Dickey would be a great story even if you stripped some of the elements that make him a great story. He is baseball’s leader in several categories, the likely Cy Young Award winner if the season ended today. His journey—on and off the field—is interesting and unique and full of turmoil, the kind of life that makes for a very captivating autobiography (which was published just before the start of the season). On top of all that, Dickey is the only pitcher in major league baseball who throws a knuckleball, a quirky, unpredictable pitch that, so far this season, has made the best hitters in the world look hopeless.
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Baseball Celebration Injuries

Tom Hanks told us there is no crying in baseball. Maybe there shouldn’t be any celebrating either. The latest ridiculous, celebration-related baseball injury involves Aubrey Huff of the San Francisco Giants. The 35-year-old first baseman sprained his right knee on Wednesday and is headed to the disabled list. Huff hurt himself while jumping over the dugout railing to celebrate Matt Cain’s perfect game. Earlier this month, New York Mets relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez injured his hamstring while running in from the bullpen to celebrate Johan Santana’s no-hitter. Ramirez also had to be placed on the 15-day D.L.

Let’s not forget what happened to Kendrys Morales in May of 2010. After hitting a game-winning home run, Morales jogged towards home, where his Angels teammates were waiting to mob him. His last step was a jump, and when he stomped on home plate he landed awkwardly and broke his leg. He missed the rest of the season and all of 2011.
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Johan Santana Throws First No-Hitter in Mets History

The video board outside of Citi Field after Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history.

The game ended and I had the urge to go to Citi Field. That’s where Johan Santana had just thrown the first no-hitter in New York Mets history, and I felt I should be there. It was like a pilgrimage, if a pilgrimage can include the subway. I took the N train to Queensboro Plaza, transferred to the 7, and rode the 13 stops to Mets-Willets Point. I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do when I got there.

As it turned out, I walked around the stadium, took a few pictures, and looked for discarded ticket stubs (I didn’t find any, though it was so windy that any that had been left outside the stadium may have blown halfway to Westchester). I heard a couple of guys talking about their co-workers who had left the game early because of the weather (too windy for them?). A vendor was selling, in his words, “no-hitter programs” for $5. They sell programs for each series, not each game, and $5 wasn’t a post-game discount, so if I want one I can get it tomorrow, when I’ll be there for the game. Of course, I wish I had been at this one.

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