Lesson One: As the Nats relief pitcher Blevins walked off the mound after the top of the 12th inning (having shut down the Braves offense), I was getting excited because the Nats had their 3,4,5 hitters coming up to face a rookie (Ryan Buchter) who had never pitched in the bigs! And to top that off he was a lefty!! The Nats hitters tend to feast off southpaws:) What happened? Well, the “face of the Nationals” hit into a double play to force a tired Blevins into having to pitch a second inning. We now know what happened next.
Lesson Two: Nationals head-case numero uno, Stephen Strasburg, began his start as he ended it by throwing WAY TOO MANY FASTBALLS! He has what may be the best change-up in the business, but I found myself scratching my head in wonder after the first inning, sensing impending doom as Stephen stuck to his fastball against a team that has some hitters who can do major damage against that pitch. The Braves 3,4,5 hitters hit .388 in the game. So when the media asked Stras “why of why so many fastballs tonight,” he threw them a curve implying that was the game plan! Manager Matt was then compelled to publicly state that “he who holds the ball decides what to throw.”
So this is my bottom line assessment of that sad 13-inning game.