Posted June 25, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Every time since May 20 that Stephen Strasburg has taken the ball, he's won a game for the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy hasn't had any starter win a game in three weeks.
Making his first appearance against the Rockies, Strasburg will try to become the first Nationals pitcher to win seven consecutive starts Monday night at Coors Field.
Washington (41-29) is in first place in large part because it has the best ERA in baseball at 2.95. Strasburg (9-1, 2.46 ERA) is the unquestioned ace of the staff, striking out 54 and walking 10 since his last loss.
The right-hander, who leads the majors with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, fanned 10 and helped the Nationals end a four-game losing streak with seven innings of two-run ball in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay.
"He seemed to get stronger as the game went on," manager Davey Johnson told the Nationals' official website. "Great seven innings. He's a true No. 1, and he's still learning. I think the best is yet to come with him."
That does not bode well for a Rockies team that's dropped 14 of 17, going 3-6 on its longest trip of the season.
Heading back to Denver for seven games isn't likely giving the team much consolation. Colorado (27-44) is in the midst of a six-game skid at Coors Field, the team's longest home losing streak since dropping its final seven last year.
Giving the ball to Jeff Francis (0-1, 8.56) is certainly no guarantee that the Rockies will avoid matching that slide, but he might give them as good a chance as any other starter to get back into the win column. The left-hander has shown steady improvement in three starts since returning to Colorado as a free agent June 9, and he's started two of the team's three victories since June 4.
That was the day the Rockies last had a starter win a game, as Christian Friedrich defeated Arizona. If Francis is going to pick up his first victory of 2012, he'll have to be efficient after Tracy decided last week to go with a four-man rotation.
"We don't care if it's getting blown up (in the media) or not," Francis told the Rockies' official website. "If there's a way that we can make it work, then we're gonna do it."
Francis will likely need to do a better job against Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman than Rockies pitchers did last season, although Colorado won four of seven meetings with Washington.
Morse hit .464 (13 for 28) with a homer and seven RBIs in those contests, while Zimmerman was 10 for 26 with five RBIs.
Zimmerman, a career .348 hitter against Colorado for his highest average against any team, got a cortisone shot in his sore right shoulder before going 2 for 4 with an RBI in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Baltimore.
"We just decided that would give me a chance to continue to play and not miss any more time," said Zimmerman, who is batting .223. "It took that pain and pressure away from me that has been bothering me for a while."
While the Rockies' pitching has struggled mightily, the team got good production from infielder Chris Nelson and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez on its recent trip. Nelson hit .355 (11 for 31) with three homers and nine RBIs while Gonzalez was 11 for 29 with a home run.
BEST OF MAXIM
Colorado's Marco Scutaro has walked off the field under his own power after being hit in the helmet by a fastball from Washington's Stephen Strasburg in the sixth inning Monday night.
The Colorado second baseman was hit by a 95 mph pitch from Strasburg, the ball loudly ringing off his helmet, one pitch after Dexter Fowler hit a triple.
Scutaro got up quickly and stood while...
"We need to score more. That's not in question." (Ryan Zimmerman, via NatsInsider, 6/24/2012)
Peter Angelos's team beats Ted Lerner's team in 2012 Battle of the Beltways. MASN-Nationals battle still undecided. Smart money is on Lerner for that one.
Orioles 2, Nationals 1 (Sunday): Seems only fitting that the only run the Nats could muster was...
Maybe the Nationals won't be losing Ryan Zimmerman again after all. Earlier in the weekend, manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals might have to give the third baseman
another cortisone shot for his inflamed right shoulder and possibly a spot on the disabled list once more. But Sunday, Zimmerman said that might not take place. The third baseman got a cortisone shot before...
With the incredible Washington Nationals starting pitching staff this season, many have completely forgotten about John Lannan toiling down in Triple-A Syracuse. A few doubleheaders are coming up in the next couple months for the Nats, so it’s probably about time to remember that he’s there.
Lannan struggled through most of the season in Syracuse, posting a 4.66 ERA and a 1...
Edwin Jackson’s major league career has been irregular to say the least. Since his debut in 2003 at the young age of 19, he has played for seven teams in his first ten seasons. In addition, he has spent his past two seasons with three different teams. Last year he even helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to the their eleventh World Championship before being released back...
Denver, CO – Jeff Francis threw only 66 pitches through 5 innings to out duel the Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg. Francis did not get the win but stepped up to limit the Nationals to 2 runs and only 5 hits. Francis baffled Washington’s phenom Bryce Harper, striking him out twice on a wicked tailing … Continue reading »
This turned out to be the Washington Nationals pitching podcast for the most part. We spent quite a lot of time talking about Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang, but even more time talking about the bullpen, including Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, and Cole Kimball. We also hit the trade deadline a few weeks early.
So the Denver Beer Co. will have its "Clown Question Bro" beer ready just in time for the Nationals arrival in Denver on Monday. And there's the logo, above, apparently just released...
So is the trademark Harper applied for for the phrase "that's a clown question, bro" only for "wearing apparel" (shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets,...
Edwin Jackson took a one-hitter into the seventh inning, Adam LaRoche homered, and the Washington Nationals beat rookie Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Saturday night.
Michael Morse had two hits and scored a run for the NL East-leading Nationals, who improved to 10-7 in interleague play and 2-3 against Baltimore.
Adam Jones hit his team-high 19th home run for the...
The Washington Nationals entered Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles looking to go 4-0 in rubber games this season. All the way into the eighth inning, the Nats looked to have it in the bag when a rare bullpen foul up cost the Nats the game. I’m not blaming this one on them, though.
Ross Detwiler did what he needed to in his first outing since returning to the starting...
The Colorado Rockies are reassigning pitching coach Bob Apodaca to special assistant to general manager Dan O'Dowd at Apodaca's request.
Apodaca approached O'Dowd on Tuesday and asked for the change, Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Bullpen coach Jim Wright and Triple-A pitching coach Bo McLaughlin will serve as co-pitching coaches for the remainder of the season. McLaughlin...
Colorado Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca asked to be re-assigned on Tuesday, and he will now do special assignment work for the Rockies. The Rockies rank last in the Major Leagues in earned run average, runs allowed and opposing team's batting average, but the Rockies insisted that the move was initiated by Apodaca. Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd told the Denver...