Saturday, July 17, 2010 8:33 am
By Miss Chatter
On the 8th day of Strasmas my true love gave to me...
8 hits a hittin',
7 Ks a outin',
6 shutout innings,
4 runs a scorin',
3 RBI from Willingham,
2 innings from Storen,
and a great win in hot Miami!
Well hello there! (said in my best Old Spice guy but female voice) Nats baseball is back after the All Star break and so is MissChatter. Me. I have a hard time referring to myself in the third person. I took a bit of time away during the break to send my first-born to his inaugural summer camp experience (boohoo!), had my Jeep break down on the drive back, and attended to other assorted grown-up responsibilities. I did catch the 7th day of Strasmas from a North Carolina beach, watching on my iPhone while lifting wifi off some unsuspecting beach dweller who left theirs wide open, but had no way to post. I also wasted far too much time over the past week watching every personalized video response and trying to persuade the Old Spice Guy to do a Nats-centric video so I could incorporate it into a post, but sadly was denied! According to his claims, using Old Spice body wash gives men powers to wrestle jungle beasts and get accepted into lion dens, swan dive onto a chopper in a hot tub, and other amazing feats of unbelievability. Sounds like just what the Nationals needed as they began the second half of the season, right?
Well, maybe the Nats were also intrigued by Old Spice guy and stocked the clubhouse supply cart with pallets of Old Spice, because they certainly kicked off the second half in style. If the season was broken into two mini-seasons, opening day starting the first and the first game after the All Star break the second, then Stephen Strasburg was named the mini-season 2 opening day starter. Since he doesn't like a lot of attention, this post is not about him. (I suddenly have Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" stuck in my head... "you probably think this post is about you..."). Anyway...
The Nationals shut out the Marlins 4-0 to kick off the start of the 2nd mini-season of 2010. Strasburg didn't display a phenomenal performance in front of the fuller than usual stands at what's-it-called-now stadium (I know, Sun Life), but did his job by keeping the Fish scoreless through his six innings of work. He started out a little shaky, throwing 34 pitches in the first inning, which would have had him out of the game by the third inning at that pace with his 100 pitch limit, but of course he became more efficient and completed six innings at 99 or 100 pitches depending on which box score you believe.
Ah yes, the curious case of the missing pitch. According to Yahoo!'s box score, Strasburg threw 100 pitches, 63 for strikes. According to the official MLB box score, he threw 99 with 63 for strikes. I always thought Yahoo! received their stats from the official scorer, so this is bewildering to me. I recall at one point a batter called time and the pitch "didn't count", so I'm assuming that's where the discrepancy comes in. As of this morning, Yahoo! still shows 100 pitches. If you can't believe the box score, what can you believe? I feel like a world of assumed truths just collapsed. Now, the pitch was thrown, it just didn't count. So therefore, he did "throw" 100 in the literal sense.
With Strasburg still the pitcher of record and the bases loaded, Wilingham stroked a bases clearing double and took third on the throw to finally break the scoreless game open. The other first round draft pick from 2009, Drew Storen, showed off his mad skills and pitched two nearly perfect innings in relief of Strasburg. The two will forever be tied together, so I always find it a treat when they pitch in the same game. With a four run lead (not a save situation), Riggleman summoned closer (and All Star winning pitcher!) Matt Capps from the bullpen to close out the bottom of the 9th. Interesting.... I guess he didn't trust any of the other pitchers to finish it off and preserve the win for Strasburg?
So here we go... the second half begins... right now. Well, it began last night. The break works like a little reset button in the middle of the season and the Nats used the reset to their advantage. Stock up on the Old Spice (or whatever works) and see if the momentum of the first wins keeps rolling rolling rolling. Now where is my bouquet of roses, Old Spice guy? Hmmm?