Get To Know A Series: Philadelphia Phillies


Washington Nationals (16-12) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (13-13)

2014 Head to Head Record: (0 – 0)
2013 Head to Head Record: 11-8 (Washington)

Friday, May 2, 7:05 p.m.

Stephen Strasburg (4.24 ERA, 2.31 FIP, 14.03) vs. Cliff Lee (3.29 ERA, 2.11 FIP, 8.78 K/9)

Saturday, May 3, 7:05 p.m.

Tanner Roark (2.76 ERA, 3.44 FIP, 7.16 K/9) vs. AJ Burnett (2.15 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 6.69 K/9)

Sunday, May 4, 3:05 p.m.

Gio Gonzalez (3.25 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 9.5 K/9) vs. Cole Hamels (6.75 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 6.75 K/9)

Of the unholy trinity of teams Nats fans might believe are rivals, the Braves and Cardinals came after original sinners: the Phillies. It wasn’t just watching them win a World Series in 2008, or getting back to the World Series in 2009. It wasn’t that they routinely handed it to Washington (which they did. 27-9 over those two seasons). It wasn’t frustrating game after game of not getting hits against the likes of Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee.

It was the phans. It was the legion of Phillies fans that seemed to have come from nowhere and begin to throw everything they could in the face of a struggling and still very small fan base. It was April 5, 2010. The single worst Opening Day of my life. 35,000 Phillies fans in Washington making it impossible to remotely enjoy what is our most sacred of days in the baseball calendar. Beer tossing, finger flipping, loud cursing party busses full of Philadelphians taking every opportunity to pretty much take a dump over the 10,000 of us who bothered to come to the game.

It was the nadir of Natstown, hands down. Kids who get bullied sometimes start walking home a different way from school, and so to did lots of Nats fans start avoiding the Phillies series. It is both a bit of genius, and entirely mortifying, that the Nats PR group had to have a “Take Back our Park” series to convince Nats fans to show up to these games. By the time you are invoking Take Back the Night you know you have a fan problem.
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Tipping the Pitch: The Fastball. Two-seamers and Four-Seamers

Fastball.  Off-speed. Slider. Pitchers come with more than a handful of different types of pitches, and whether on TV or in the stands it can be hard to identify which is which and what is what.  “Tipping the Pitch” will profile different pitches from time to time so that you’ll know your change-up from your cutter in no time!  

All baseball pitching starts, and ends, with the fastball.  For as long as boys and girls have been throwing  balls at sticks, they were throwing them as hard as they could to get it by the bat.  Throw it hard.  Throw it fast. Throw it faster than the batter can get the bat around to the ball. Whiff – strike 3, you’re out.

What’s more, if you throw a good fastball it can make all your other pitches better.  If batters have to think about your fastball coming right down the pipe, it makes the batter less prepared for pitches that are slower or break in/out from the plate as seen in other pitches.  But first things first – like all good pitchers, we have to establish our fastball before we can get to the other stuff.  There are many types fastballs, actually – two of which  will be on display in Sunday’s finale with the Braves.  So let’s get started.

So How Fast is a Fastball anyway?

A fastball doesn’t actually have to be a particular speed. Some folks throw their fastball in the high 80MPH range. Stephen Strasburg throws his in the mid to high 90MPH range. Most things I’ve found indicate the average speed is about 88-90MPH.

But Aren’t There Different Types of Fastballs?

Yeah, there are.  Today, though, we are going to stick with the basic fastball (also known as the Four-Seam fastball) and the Two-Seam fastball (just to give you something to compare it to).

Okay, Tell me About the Four Seamer.  

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A Collection of Unscientific Nationals Prediction Like Things

We Kid Because We...Love?

We Kid Because We…Love?

All week we’ve been talking about how predictions work and how you can, pretty accurately, take a stab at just how well a team might do (if, of course, you can figure out how many runs they’ll score/give up).

What follows flies completely in the face of al of that.  While I don’t think I can get away with talking about predictions all week and not stick my own neck out there, I can forewarn you that this is a totally unscientific, gut-checking style of prediction.  There are no stone-cold lead pipe locks, bold predictions when we get back from commercial.  These really are just a bunch of thoughts I have for the season this year.

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Holding Court: Stephen Strasburg and the Battle of Clearwater

Welcome to a new feature on, “Holding Court.”  Written by Court Swift (@RCourtSwift) one of the most knowledgeable Nationals (and everything) fans I know.  He’ll be writing a columns for us that not only get you up to speed on some baseball things, but also offering his sage like opinion on those same topics.

On March 6th, I believe Stephen Strasburg hit Chase Utley on purpose. After watching his latest start against the Astros, I’m even more convinced.

The consensus about the incident is this: Strasburg hit Utley by accident then Roy Halladay hit Tyler Moore in retaliation. Both pitchers denied throwing at guys on purpose (as well they should, lest they be disciplined) but Roy did his with a smile and a wink and then went on to talk about how it’s not so bad to hit people. Strasburg also denied – without a smile – and it seems most have taken him at his word. But he added one little unprompted sentence that I found interesting. He said, “I don’t have any reason to throw at him, do I?”

Why yes, Stephen, yes you do.

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Episode 3: Pitching!

Episode 3

It’s a jam packed episode loaded with a Nats Week in Review, Cole Hamels & Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth’s Broken Wrist, “Get to Know a Nat” Stephen Strasburg, Dwarfs in the batter’s box, and your listener feedback!  Plus, Susan and Frank give you the ins and outs of pitching, including some of the guys who pitch for the Nats, how to tell your slurve from your cutter, and just how many baseballs can you fit in a strikezone?

(The Web Site we Used When Discussing Pitch Types)