Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stammen Stalls in Recent Appearances

Craig Stammen made his 8th appearance of the year in the first in this short two game series against the St. Louis Cardinals in Missouri on Monday night. Stammen faced a Cardinals club that has be struggling to produce much significant offense of late. So much so, that Cards Manager Tony LaRussa had reigning NL MVP Albert Pujols switch positions with Matt Holiday to bat in the clean up spot for the first time in nearly 7 years (May 30, 2003). Matt Holiday was batting just below .300, so LaRussa made the switch to try to get Holiday some insurance behind him. Turns out Pujols is just as dangerous in the clean up spot, but I’m sure no one thought he wouldn't be. He ended up with 3 singles in their 6-2 victory over the Nationals.

The Nationals have now lost 4 in a row on this road trip as they freefall back to earth after winning 5 of 6 just over a week ago to shoot them 5 games above .500. The team is now only a game above .500 at 20-19 with an offense that has almost completely stalled, not including their 14-6 trouncing of the Rockies last Thursday. The Nats have actually failed to score more than 3 runs in any outing since that game.

Just to illustrate the example: Ivan Rodriguez, just a few weeks ago, was batting over .400 and was one of the most remarkable stories in baseball. Since he went 4 for 4 against the Mets on May 10th, he has just 2 hits in 21 at bats (.095 average), dropping his average 57 points.

Stammen (1-2) got another loss, which is turning out to be conducive to his appearances of late. He gave up 4 ugly runs in the top of the first inning, and then calmed down for some efficient innings, and eventually made it 6 innings. But the damage had been done. The Nats have lost 4 of Stammen’s last 5 starts, and his ERA is still a very hefty 5.86. In his last 4 starts, Craig has failed to make it through the 7th inning once, and has only thrown a pitch past the 6th inning in one of those appearances.

In Monday’s appearance, Stammen threw 96 pitches in only 6 innings; in his last outing against the Mets he threw 100 pitches in a meager 5 innings. In his last two outings, he has 6 walks and 6 strikeouts. That’s hardly the ratio you want to see from your starting pitcher.

Stammen looks to be the easy pick at this point as the pitcher who will be sent down once Strasburg is ready to come up in a few short weeks. The weeks can’t possibly be short enough for the Nats, though. A few more weeks of struggles like these, and the excitement about their contending for a .500 record will be long, long gone.


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  2. Lets see some love for Bernie!!! We know that he has stellar defense, that is obvious. But he is hitting .306 and has an OPS of .828.

    Lets hear it 409!

  3. Your wish is my command, Mac. The only reason that I haven't posted on him yet is because all the other guys are doing it. I'm too proud to bandwagon. It'll come soon, I promise.