Until now, Stephen Strasburg (1-4, 3.16 ERA)had never lost four games in a row. Other than opening day, he has yet to pitch the dominant way he is capable of. He is opposed by Braves rookie right-hander Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.48), who the Nationals knocked around early on April 12 and then settled down.
Retired Braves great Chipper Jones was in the Nationals clubhouse on Monday afternoon, walking in and saying, “I’ve never been in here. This is nice.” He chatted with Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and needled Bryce Harper. Then, he and close friend, former teammate and slumping first baseman Adam LaRoche, who 0 for 26, watched film of LaRoche’s swing in the tunnel next to the clubhouse. “I saw Chipper earlier, and he was going to talk to his good buddy, Adam LaRoche,” Manager Davey Johnson said, with a laugh. “I said: ‘Get him feeling good, and then I’ve got a couple more guys you can talk to.’”
In modern sports, it’s more commonplace for opposing players to fraternize, as free agency and modern technology have made it easier to be friends off the field. Jones was solely lending a hand to a very close friend. He visited and talked with Braves hitters earlier, too.
“I talked to Al Kaline one of my first years and anything he had to say, I was like a sponge,” Johnson said. “He gave me a few tips, and they helped. Just talking to a great hitter, after you leave the conversation, you feel like you’re better. I mean, every conversation I had with Ted Williams when he was managing the Senators, I’d go out and get two or three hits. I think it’s great. I think today more players do talk more so because of the phones and the text and all that stuff. But I think it’s good.”
The lineups are here. As always, talk about the game here.