Results tagged ‘ Craig Stammen ’

In unfamiliar one-out role, Detwiler, Stammen excel

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — For most of the season, Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen have been long men out of the Nationals’ bullpen. It’s a role that almost always requires at least an inning of work and often asks for more.

But on Tuesday night, when Nats manager Matt Williams needed two outs to end the eighth inning, he called on Detwiler and Stammen for a batter apiece against the meat of the Braves’ lineup. With a two-run lead and a runner on, the left-handed Detwiler whiffed Freddie Freeman, and the right-handed Stammen did the same to Justin Upton. They passed the baton to Drew Storen, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth to lock down a 6-4 victory.

“Those two guys have been really our longer guys this year, and they came in and got the guys they had to get,” Williams said.

A starter for much of his career, Detwiler’s only other one-batter appearance came on Aug. 4, when he gave up a single to the Orioles’ Nick Markakis. Only three times in 41 outings had he pitched less than an inning.

Stammen has served as one of baseball’s most durable bullpen arms, leading all MLB relievers with 73 appearances of at least two innings since 2010. Until this week, he hadn’t made a one-batter appearance all season.

But with Storen at least temporarily taking over for Rafael Soriano at closer, the whole relief corps has been shuffled. Combined with an 11-man bullpen thanks to expanded rosters, Williams has the need and ability to alter his usual deployment of pitchers.

In Monday’s eighth inning, lefty Matt Thornton gave up a two-out RBI single to Freeman before Stammen preserved a one-run lead by retiring Upton. A day later, Detwiler got ahead of Freeman 0-2 before finishing him off with a rare curveball. That brought on Stammen for another confrontation with Upton in an unfamiliar role.

“It’s obviously harder to get more outs,” Stammen said. “What I’ve done most of the season is get six, seven, eight outs if I had to. Getting one out’s a little simpler, but you also know it’s do-or-die, so if you don’t get that guy out, it’s not like you get three or four other guys to try to get out. So you’ve just got to execute your pitches — nothing really changes — execute your pitchers and go back to what you’ve always done and be yourself.”

Stammen had worked Upton with sinkers on Monday, so this time he got ahead 0-2 with a pair of sliders, buried two more sliders in the dirt to even the count, then put the Atlanta cleanup hitter away with two sinkers.

His unusually short, but effective, night was over.

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Stammen snaps out of slump at crucial time for Nats

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Craig Stammen has established himself as a valuable piece of the Nationals bullpen over the past few seasons, the rare reliever capable of eating innings like a long man and with the effectiveness of a set-up man. From 2012-13, he threw 170 innings for Washington with a 2.54 ERA and 166 strikeouts.

For almost the first three months of 2014, it was business as usual for the right-hander, who had a 2.52 ERA in 23 outings through June 24. Then, things hit a snag: a stretch of 10 games in which he was torched for 14 earned runs on 26 hits in 16 innings. He took two losses, posted a 7.88 ERA and allowed a batting line of .388/.431/.597, as his work became infrequent.

But Stammen found himself at a critical time for the Nats on Thursday, pitching the final three scoreless innings of a 5-3, 13-inning walkoff victory. He allowed one hit, issued two walks (one intentional) and struck out two. It was his seventh career relief appearance of at least three scoreless frames, and third this year.

“It’s very valuable to have a guy like him, that can go that many pitches and run you through some innings and keep them where they’re at,” manager Matt Williams said.

Stammen’s outing not only gave the Nats the chance for a dramatic win, but also spared Williams from having to burn his final reliever (Ross Detwiler) and possibly a starting pitcher ahead of a crucial weekend series in Atlanta.

“It was just one of those things, I felt a little bit more comfortable out there,” Stammen said. “I’ve been working on a few things that kind of clicked. Made some good pitches, got some outs early, gave me a little bit of confidence that I could keep going.”

Stammen relies heavily on his sinker and threw it 27 times in 43 pitches Thursday, not counting the intentional pass. Starter Jordan Zimmermann called the pitch “really nasty,” and Stammen agreed he had it going.

“That’s my bread and butter,” he said. “When it’s working, I usually have decent success, and for the past couple weeks it might have been struggling, but you just keep going after it and do the best you can, and hopefully it comes back.”

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

Nats bullpen strong again, but eventually snaps

By Andrew Simon

WASHINGTON — Nationals relievers came into Friday with a 2.56 ERA that ranked first in the Majors, and after Drew Storen surrendered a leadoff double to the Braves’ Tommy La Stella in the seventh inning, the bullpen set down the next 18 in a row.

That performance set the stage for Washington to rally and send the game into extra innings, but eventually, manager Matt Williams found himself backed into a corner.

When the 13th inning rolled around, Williams already had used Storen, Craig Stammen, Rafael Soriano, Tyler Clippard and Jerry Blevins. His options at that point were to send Blevins out for a second frame, use rookie Aaron Barrett for a fourth consecutive day or turn to Ross Detwiler, who threw 45 pitches on Wednesday and has allowed 16 runs and 35 baserunners in his last 16 2/3 innings. As such, Williams admitted he felt he needed to stick with Blevins.

“You could go to Barrett four days in a row, but that’s dangerous,” Williams said.

A second inning probably wasn’t ideal for Blevins, either. The lefty had allowed a run on three hits in two-thirds of an inning on Thursday, throwing 18 pitches and taking a comebacker off his knee. He then used another 12 pitches during a 1-2-3 12th inning on Friday.

Blevins issued a leadoff walk to B.J. Upton, then gave up two consecutive hits and eventually two runs. Still, he didn’t offer any excuses.

“Everybody’s tired,” he said. “We’re in the 13th inning. Their guys have been going the whole time our guys have. Gotta step up, but I didn’t get the job done. Gave up a couple runs, didn’t get it done.”

Looking ahead, the bullpen could be in some trouble for the rest of the series if it needs to soak up significant innings. Blevins and Stammen both have worked on consecutive nights, while Clippard, Soriano and Barrett have pitched in three out of four. That leaves Storen and Detwiler as the freshest arms available, barring a roster move.

Follow Andrew Simon on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.

 

Nats’ Stammen willing to start — if needed

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said there is a possibility that reliever Craig Stammen could start Sunday’s game against the Brewers, and Stammen said he willing to take the ball if needed.

Stammen hasn’t started a game since late last year when he was pitching for Triple A Syracuse. When he was returned to the big leagues last September, Stammen worked out of the bullpen and allowed a run in 10 1/3 innings.

The Nationals need a starter because Johnson doesn’t want to use Jordan Zimmermann on short rest. Zimmermann pitched the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

“I’ll do whatever they tell me to do. That’s what I am and what I have to do. If he asked me to start, I definitely take the ball,” Stammen said. “I’ve done it before so it’s not like it’s the first time  I’ve started a game. But it’s been a while. So I guess It will be a little exciting for me. It will be fun.”

Stammen has been a valuable reliever for Washington this season. He has appeared in 53 games and has a 2.39 ERA. Johnson has used Stammen in every situation as a reliever except for closing games.

“It has been a good season thus far,” Stammen said. “We really didn’t know coming in how it was going to go. I pitched as well as I could have pitched last September. It kind of carried over this season – a lot of confidence. It has gone well.

“I like pitching as much as possible and Davey has put me in good spots for me to succeed. I’ve done as well as I good. I try to help this bullpen as much as possible.”

Stammen to the bullpen

With right-hander Jason Marquis being activated today, Craig Stammen will go to the bullpen. I also learned no one will be sent down to the Minor Leagues. Someone will go on the disabled list. Ill have more on that later on MLB.com.

Riggleman names four pitchers for rotation [updated]

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman named four members of his rotation Monday. He said John Lannan, Jason Marquis, Craig Stammen and Livan Hernandez will be the four pitchers in that order. 

The order of the rotation was first reported by MLB.com on Sunday. 

Lannan will be the Opening Day starter against the Phillies on April 5 at Nationals Park. Marquis, Stammen and Hernandez will soon follow.

“I know they can pitch,” pitching coach Steve McCatty said. “We are not going to be the 96 mile an hour, jet blowing, No 1. Type starters who are 6-foot-6, but we have guys who sink the ball.

“When you have guys who can throw it up there and have some sink, throw strikes, mix in their off-speed pitches and compete, you know you have a good chance. Yes, I’m happy with [the rotation].”

Of the four starters named, Stammen and Hernandez appeared to be longs shots when Spring Training began. 

Stammen had bone ships removed from his right elbow last September and it appeared he would start the season in the bullpen or be sent down to the Minor Leagues. It turned out he was the second-best pitcher behind Stephen Strasburg. Stammen allowed five earned runs in 14 1/3 innings and struck out 10 batters.  

“The spring has gone well, so far,” Stammen said. “I came in healthy. My arm has felt really good the whole time. I had some success on the mound. Some of the hard work has paid off, but what you do in the spring doesn’t matter. All this stuff gets thrown out when the season starts. So I have to continue the success in April.”

Hernandez didn’t come into camp until late February and had to get into pitching shape. His first start wasn’t until March 14, but the late start didn’t hurt him as he allowed two earned runs in eight innings. 
      
“I feel really happy. I worked hard since I came to Spring Training,” Hernandez said. “I came to Spring Training knowing I could still pitch and help the team win.”                  
                  
The team must decide on who the fifth starter will be. Garrett Mock, Scott Olsen and J.D. Martin are competing for the final spot.

Not long ago, Mock was considered part of the rotation, but he has given up five runs in his last nine innings. That’s not including the disappointing outing last week against the Minor League Astros in which he gave up three home runs.

Olsen knew Sunday was his last chance to prove to the Nationals that he should be in the rotation. It turned out Olsen made the team’s decision even tougher in a 9-3 victory over the Braves. 

Olsen pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up one earned run on seven hits. He struck out four and walked none. It was Olsen’s best outing of the spring.

As for Martin, he gave up five runs in five innings against the Tigers last Thursday. The first inning was Martin’s only bad inning as he blanked Detroit in the next four frames.

The last time Martin pitched in a big-league game prior to that game was March 10 against the Cardinals. Rainouts and too many pitchers in camp were the reasons Martin didn’t see action until Thursday.

But it wasn’t like Martin was rusty. He pitched in simulated games and on the Minor League field.

Stammen willing to be reliever for Nationals

Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen will be one of the starters competing for a spot in the rotation next year, but the team has not ruled out putting Stammen in the bullpen.

What role Stammen would have in the bullpen is not known. He would be considered an upgrade if he were in the bullpen. Stammen has experience out of the bullpen, making 20 relief appearances during his Minor League career. 

“Whatever they want me to do, I will do,” Stammen said. “I want to go into Spring Training and show them what I can do. They will decide what they want from there. I’ve also proven that I can get guys out and I can get guys out as a reliever.”

Stammen played all season with bone spurs in his right elbow, but he didn’t shut it down until after Aug. 29.  He had arthroscopic surgery to remove the spurs a little over a week later.

Stammen, who will be staying in the DC area after the season to rehab the elbow, said he is ahead of schedule and hopes to start throwing a baseball in four weeks.

In 2009, Stammen made 19 starts, going 4-7 with a 5.11 ERA. He wonders what kind of year he would have had if he didn’t have the bone spurs in the elbow.

“Just the way I was going in every start wasn’t how I was accustomed to — compared to how I felt last year,” Stammen said. “I’m going to feel a lot better than I did last year. Throughout the week, I’ll be working on things to get better on the mound rather than just be out there to pitch. I’m optimistic to find out why happens next year.” 

Craig Stammen has surgery; Foli to be called up

Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Sunday morning. Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the team’s medical director, took bone chips out of the elbow.
Stammen is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

In other news, Triple-A Syracuse manager Tim Foli will be called up to the big leagues after the Minor League season ends on Monday. Entering Sunday’s action, the Chiefs are 75-66 under Foli. 

Stammen, Balester out for season

Nationals right-handers Craig Stammen and Collin Balester are out for the season. Stammen has a bone spur in the back of his right elbow, while Balester has a strain on his left side. Both players are expected to be ready for Spring Training.      

Stammen will have arthroscopic surgery on the elbow Sunday. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, the team’s medical director. Stammen started 19 games for Washington, going  4-7 with a 5.11 ERA.  

Stammen has been playing in pain the entire season, but he felt he could still pitch through it. Stammen was happy the injury wasn’t much worse.

“It’s a relief. It’s never good to have surgery. I guess it’s one of those things that comes up with pitching,” Stammen said. “I decided not to tell anybody about it for the whole season. I decided to pitch through it. I don’t regret anything for a second. I was lucky to take the opportunity when it was given to me.”

As for Balester, he will be shut down for two weeks before participating in baseball activities. By the time he is ready, however, the season will be over. Balester was 1-4 with a 6.82 ERA in seven big-league starts.

The Nationals don’t need a fifth starter until the Sept. 12 against the Marlins. So the plan is to call up another starter until the season is over for Triple-A Syracuse.  

Stammen has MRI on right elbow

Nationals right-hander Craig Stammen had an MRI on Thursday to determine the seriousness of his right elbow injury. He hopes to get the results on Friday.

Stammen said via phone that he has had elbow soreness throughout the 2009 season, but that didn’t stop him from making 19 starts and wining four games.

“It has been going on the whole season. It was something I was able to pitch through. It wasn’t bad to where I couldn’t pitch,” Stammen said about the elbow. “When it was time for me to get the ball, I was going to take it, no matter what was going on.

“They have to tear me away from the mound. They did this week by not letting me pitch tomorrow. I could still pitch tomorrow.”

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