Nationals pitchers Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, and Jordan Zimmermann have all spoken before about their intent to pitch to contact. Although they may strike a lot of guys out, particularly Strasburg and Gonzalez, the goal is always to get out of an inning on as few pitches as possible.
The pitchers themselves may have already made it clear, but team pitching coach Steve McCatty has a new word to describe getting an opponent to swing and miss:
"Strikeouts are bull," he told Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports. He said it's the easiest way to burn up pitches and that pitch counts will multiply fast.
Carpenter notes the glaring fact about McCatty's comment, that Nationals' pitchers still strike out more than most despite their pitching coach's wish. Strasburg is tied for first in the MLB with 128 strikeouts and Gonzalez ranks seventh with 118. They have the two highest strikeout per nine innings rates in the National League with Strasburg at 11.64 and Gonzalez at 10.45.
By McCatty's comments it would seem Jordan Zimmermann is his most prized pupil. The National's number three starter is tenth in the majors with a 2.61 ERA despite striking out only 74 batters in 110.1 innings. That is the second fewest strikeouts among pitchers in the top ten of ERA. Zimmermann gets players out without having to get three strikes and as a result has lasted at least six innings in each of his 17 starts this year.
Whatever the Nationals are doing as a team, however, is working as they hold the league's best overall ERA of 3.20 at the All-Star break. Maybe McCatty is trying to be creative to find something his players can improve on.
For more on McCatty's comments and a nice breakdown of the strikeout's worth, read Carpenter's piece here.
The Washington Nationals avoided arbitration and agreed to one-year deals today with Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Tanner Roark and newly acquired catcher Derek Norris.
If team's and players didn't agree to contracts by today's 1 p.m. ET deadline, an independent arbitrator will rule on the contract at a later date and decide how much the player will play for in 2017.
Harper and the Nationals agreed to a $13.625 million deal, which was significantly more than the $9.3 million contract that was projected by MLB Trade Rumors. Last season, coming off his 2015 MVP campaign, Harper made $5 million. The 24-year-old will be a free agent after the 2018 season.
Harper is coming off a disappointing season by his standards, in which he hit just .243 with 24 homers, which was way down from his total of 42 dingers in 2015.
According to multiple reports, Rendon signed for $5.8 million, Roark signed for $4.315 million and Norris' deal was for $4.2 million.
Roark made just $543,400 last season, which he vastly out-performed. Roark was one of the most consistent pitchers in the National League last year as he won 16 games and posted a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings of work.
With today's signings, all of the Nationals' arbitration-eligible players are under contract for 2017.
Related: Tanner Roark to replace Max Scherzer on World Baseball Classic roster
Nationals star Bryce Harper has a bold fashion sense, that's for sure. Just take a look at that hair. But he a more romantic fashion risk for his own wedding with a custom suit jacket.
He opted for a navy blue tuxedo with black piping. It was the lining that really stood out as special.
If you look closely, you'll see photos of Harper and his wife, Kayla, decorating the lining of the jacket.
There's also the date of wedding and script reading "Mr. and Mrs. Harper."
He credited the makers of his tuxedo, Stitched, in the tweet.
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