Nationals reliever Craig Stammen has been diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon and will undergo surgery that’s expected to end his season.
Stammen was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with what the Nationals called forearm tightness. While not a big name, Stammen has logged 70-plus innings in each of the past three seasons and has a 2.80 ERA since shifting to the bullpen full time.
As for possible bullpen help … Rafael Soriano is still available as a free agent, but there’s been zero indication that the Nationals are open to bringing their former closer back even in a setup role.
Nationals reliever Craig Stammen is headed to the disabled list with right forearm tightness and the team has called up Taylor Jordan from Triple-A to replace him in the bullpen.
Stammen has been an underrated part of Washington’s relief corps, posting a 2.80 ERA and 237 strikeouts in 257 innings since shifting to the bullpen full time. He logged 88, 82, and 73 innings during the past three seasons.
Jordan has thrown 77 innings for the Nationals, but they all came as a starter in 2013 and 2014. He’s posted consistently strong numbers in the minors as a starter, but it’s unclear how much manager Matt Williams will trust him in a key bullpen role.
Baseball’s new pace of play rules were officially announced on Friday. Among the changes: batters will be expected to keep one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a handful of events occur (such as swinging or bunting); a stricter timing of breaks between innings and pitching changes; and managers can issue a replay challenge from the dugout. Craig went over the changes in much greater detail here, so make sure you check that out.
With players reporting to camp, some of the various writers decided to collect some opinions on the new changes from those affected by it most. Here’s a sampling from the Nationals and Brewers, via Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post and Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, respectively.
- Craig Stammen, RP: “It’ll be a good thing. I don’t think it’s a big deal to speed the process up a bit instead of just jacking around wasting time.”
- Casey Janssen, RP: “To say that a certain pitcher has to run with a certain tempo to get to the mound so he gets his allotted warm-up pitches is such a silly rule, especially if at the end of the day you want to make sure he’s loose so he doesn’t get an arm injury.”
- Jonathan Lucroy, C: “It bothers me to see that because as a hitter when you rush in the game of baseball, it’s not going to work out. I like taking my time, relaxing, gathering my thoughts. This game is tough enough without being up there rushing.”
- Kyle Lohse, SP: “I understand trying to speed up the game. I mean, I don’t like sitting through a 3-, 3½-hour game on the bench. I get on some of our younger pitchers when they take too much time in between because you should already have an idea of what you want to do.”
The second game of the NLDS between the Giants and the Nationals is now in the 18th inning, becoming the second-longest playoff game in playoff baseball history. Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS between the Astros and Braves, won on a one-out walk-off home run from Chris Burke in the bottom of the 18th, was the only playoff game to go longer.
A long time ago, the game appeared to be in the bag for starter Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals, but the Giants rallied with two outs in the ninth to tie the game at 1-1, and the game has remained scoreless ever since.
Yusmeiro Petit has pitched six shutout innings of relief for the Giants, following scoreless frames from Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, and Santiago Casilla once it got into extra innings.
On the Nats’ side, they got scoreless extra-inning relief from Tyler Clippard, Matt Thornton, Jerry Blevins, Craig Stammen (three innings), Rafael Soriano, and Tanner Roark. Roark is back on the mound for the start of the 18th inning.
The Washington Nationals have announced their roster for the NLDS against the Giants. It breaks down thusly:
Twelve pitchers, including Rafael Soriano who had a 7.56 ERA in September and has looked awful in low-leverage situations. But no Ross Detwiler. Also: no Scott Hairston, though he was pretty crappy in the second half so it makes some sense.
Not that these are huge issues. If it comes down to a situation where having Ross Detwiler is important, a lot of things have gone wrong for Matt Williams before then. And it’s not like Kevin Frandsen can’t do most of what Hairston would likely be called on to do in a playoff game.