Game Guess #2 Self-Grade : D+. I get credit for knowing the Braves approach would cause Strasburg to go out early and The Maholm/Nats guess wasn't THAT far off. Really he was 10' ft on the Flores homer from a matching Strasburg in runs (though not performance). 4 runs in 7 is not great but it's allright and would win a few games. Still that only keeps me from failing. On the other side Strasburg was close to perfect (more on that in a minute) meaning that even though the Braves got him out early they only had one run in by the time they did it. Davey didn't try to save the bullpen. They all did great. So in the end a blecch guess.
Last nights game was all about Strasburg. He dominated and the fun part about it is that it felt like 90% of what he can do. The Braves still wore him down and in that last inning you definitely saw some wear. He threw 94 pitches over 6 and 31 balls. That's an excellent ratio but Strasburg, when he's completely on his game, will only throw 25-30 balls and most will be when and where he wants them. When he is completely on his game Strasburg should beat ANY team, I don't care how good offensively they are or how much they try to work him.
Gio is very good. Zimmermann is very good. Neither is as good as Strasburg. He can do everything right. On any given night I think he can combine Zimmermann's control, Gio's strikeout ability, and Detwiler's GB tendencies. Hell, I think he can be better than all 3 at each. And he's over 2 years younger than any of them.
Which is why the shutdown is maddening to a lot of fans. You can't replace something like that. And yet, what do you do? We know nothing. We don't know how much pitching Strasburg beyond 180 or so innings will effect his arm. We don't know how much losing Strasburg for the playoffs will effect the Nats chances at winning. No idea. All we know are the vague truths. Throwing more will increase his chances of being hurt. Strasburg pitching will increase the Nats chances of winning any series they are in. But because there are no certainties - there can be no "correct" answer and this argument can go on and on and on...
Kris Medlen has been great for the Braves since being extended into a starter. There's very little to pick at in his stats. He's only given up 2 XBH, and struck out 22 in 25 and 2/3 innings. But again the last three opponents were the Astros, Mets, and Padres. What bothers me about Medlen is that his last 3 starts his pitch counts has gone up from 79 to 88 to 104. 271 pitches, about as many as he threw in the entire month of July and that includes his first start. That has to have some effect on someone who hasn't thrown that many pitches in a game in over 2 years. If he's going to blow up, a game away from home, versus the second decent offense he's started against (and the first in 3 starts), after a long start, is as good a guess as any.
Medlen has thrown 4 games vs the Nats. The first two they hit him pretty well, the second two they didn't hit him at all. But these were all in relief so I don't put much stake in them.
Detwiler hasn't been great the past two games, one of those being the Mets who as we've said up there - not impressive. Ross's Ks are way down and that's an issue. His control is good but not special like ZNN. He's adept at getting ground balls and thus not giving up
homers, but the end result is teams put a lot of balls in play. If he doesn't get the strikeouts, that's that many more balls in play. Eventually those balls will find holes and some runs will come. Not alot, but some. If he was on a team other than the Nats, with their fantastic infield D, I wonder what he'd be like. For the Nats his starter ERA is 3.50. That's feels about right.
Detwiler's faced the Braves 3 times this year. The first one was bad and sealed the deal for Wang to take over. The second one was a lot like Maholm's start yesterday. Not terrible but a big 2 out, 2 run homer late made it seem worse than it was. The third start was the opposite, not great, but the hits were scattered and thus it looked better than it was. Short of it - he pitched like you'd expect.
You can't count on scattering. Ross is going to give up hits, and isn't the best but he's good, say ~3 runs, 6-7 innings. It's more than enough. Medlen, tired from the big increase in innings, gets hit hard and is out early. 6 runs 3 innings, something like that. The Nats don't necessarily pour it on but they tack on a few more, while the Brave score a meaningless run or two against whoever Davey wants to soak up the back 3 innings. Nats sweep and start drafting designs for a pennant.