Strasburg and Lobaton building chemistry, helping produce success on the hill

Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton said it was difficult to get to know Stephen Strasburg early in the season. But now that they have had three or four games working together, they are slowly building chemistry and trust.

That bonding played an important role in Strasburg's seven innings of shutout ball in an 11-1 victory over the Padres on Friday night.

"First time, it was kind of like I don't know how to go and talk to him in the dugout. He is a quiet guy, he likes to be alone," Lobaton remembered. "He likes to just talk to the pitching coach. In the beginning I was kind of like, 'Hmmm.' "

So Lobaton decided to reach out to his coaches and teammates about how to approach Strasburg. They said Strasburg "is quiet ,but he listens to you," Lobaton said. "So I was kind of like OK."

On Friday night, Lobaton and Strasburg met after San Diego got a man on base against the right-hander. The particular pitch choice they agreed to, the slider, twas turned into a base hit by the Padres.

Lobaton could tell Strasburg was upset. Lobaton went up to Strasburg and said, "My bad." Strasburg replied, "That is OK."

It was a critical moment in their relationship in terms of building mutual trust.

Lobaton conceded, "I don't know why I called that pitch. I got that in my mind that it can be good in that situation. It wasn't good."

Lobaton relayed that Strasburg said, "Yeah, I don't know why I threw that pitch so it is my bad, too"

"After that, we tried to be on the same page," Lobaton said. "After that, he did really, really good. I am happy for him, really happy for him."

Their communication has helped them build that respect and then they were able to roll to the victory.

"So, day by day, you be learning his attitude," Lobaton said. "It is nice. He is a good guy to talk (to)."

Strasburg said he respects how much time Lobaton puts into each start, focusing on each hitter they will face and breaking down how they will try to beat them pitch to pitch.

"It has been good, he really works hard," Strasburg said. "I think he has put in a lot of work in the video room getting a chance to know these hitters, especially coming from the American League. I like throwing to him a lot."

"All the pitchers here, they are good guys to talk," Lobaton said. "That is important for the catcher. I don't want the pitchers to be like just him and stay there and don't talk to the catchers. It is really important to communicate with the catchers. He is good with that. All the pitchers here they are really good with that."

Manager Matt Williams before Friday's game about how the relationship between Wilson Ramos and the Nationals pitchers is another reason he is missed right now as he recovers from a surgery to remove the hamate bone from his left hand.

But Lobaton has done a nice job of working on the chemistry he has with each Nationals pitcher as he gets more and more playing time. The relationship between the catchers and pitchers is another critical key to the Nationals' success as they try to get back on a roll while they wait for Ramos to heal.

Three or four times this year.

"First time it was kind of like, I don't know how to go and talk to him in the dugout, he is a quiet guy, he likes to be alone. He likes to just talk to the pitching coach. In the beginning I was kind of like, 'hmmm'.

Lobaton talked to coaches and teammates about how to approach Strasburg. They said Strasburg "is quiet but he listens to you," Lobaton said. "So I was kind of like 'OK'."

Lobaton and Strasburg met after San Diego got a base hit Friday night. On a particular pitch choice, a slider, that the Padres turned into base hit. Lobaton could tell Strasburg was upset. Lobaton went up to Strasburg and said "my bad" and Strasburg said "that is OK."

It was a critical moment in their relationship and trust. Lobaton conceded, "I don't know why I called that pitch. I got that in my mind that it can be good in that situation. It wasn't good."

"He said, yeah, I don't know why I threw that pitch so it is 'my bad' too," Lobaton said of Strasburg. "After that we tried to be on the same page. After that he did really, really good. I am happy for him, really happy for him."

Their communication helped them build that respect and then they were able to roll to the victory.

"So day by day you be learning his attitude," Lobaton said. "It is nice. He is a good guy to talk (to)."

Strasburg said he respects how much time Lobaton puts into each start and focusing on each hitter they will face and breaking down how they would try to beat them pitch to pitch.

"It has been good, he really works hard," Strasburg said. "I think he has put in a lot of work in the video room getting a chance to know these hitters, especially coming from the American League. I like throwing to him a lot."

"All the pitchers here they are good guys to talk," Lobaton said. "That is important for the catcher. I don't want the pitchers to be like just him and stay there and don't talk to the catchers. It is really important to communicate with the catchers. He is good with that. All the pitchers here they are really good with that."

Manager Matt Williams spoke in pregame Friday of how the relationship between Wilson Ramos and the Nationals pitchers is another reason he is missed right now as he recovers from a broken hand.

But Lobaton has done a nice job of working on the chemistry he has with each Nationals pitchers as he gets more and more playing time. The relationship between the catchers and pitchers is another critical key to the Nationals success as they try to get back on a roll while they wait for Ramos to heal.

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