Washington Nationals News: Strasburg appears to be regaining ace form


Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

Today’s Daily features two articles from Nationals MLB.com beat writer, Bill Ladson. In the first article, Ladson discusses how starter Stephen Strasburg appears to be regaining his ace form and overcoming the mechanical issues which doomed him in the early months of the 2015 season.

In the 10-year history of the Nationals, no player has ever faced as much scrutiny from the media and the fanbase as Strasburg. From the moment the Nationals drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, the flame-throwing right-hander was supposed to lead the Nationals’ rotation and put on a show each and every time he took the mound.

At times, Strasburg lived up to those expectations and even exceeded them. Last year he led the league in strikeouts with 242 and finished in the top-10 in Cy Young Award voting at the end of the season. Other times, however, Strasburg has struggled mightily on the mound and has earned more than his fair share of criticism, and no stretch of his career has been as bad as the first two months of the 2015 season.

Hampered by mechanical issues which many trace back to an ankle injury suffered during Spring Training, the right-hander had trouble locating his pitches and looked nothing like his old, dominant self on the mound. By May 29, Strasburg’s ERA was up to a shocking 6.55, and after leaving his start that day in the second inning, the Nationals placed the former ace on the disabled list with a neck injury.

Now, however, it looks like Strasburg is returning to his old self. As Ladson note in his article, the right-hander has dominated in his first two starts since coming off the disabled list, and the mechanical issues he showed in the first two months of the season are nowhere to be seen.

More from Nationals News

Strasburg has allowed one run in 12 innings since coming off the disabled list, striking out 15 batters along the way. His fastball has consistently clocked in the upper 90s and looks as powerful as it has since he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010.

He’s only been back for two starts, but as Ladson notes, the right-hander appears to be regaining his ace form. The Nationals can only hope that his early-season struggles don’t return and that he continues to improve as the team enters the second half of the season.

Also in today’s Daily, Ladson discusses how the Nationals’ bench has improved in 2015, and how it has played a key role in helping the injury-riddled Nationals earn and keep their spot atop the National League East.

Be sure to check out both articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tuned to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Stras appears to be regaining his ace form

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

PHILADELPHIA — Whatever mechanical issues Stephen Strasburg may have had, they are in the past. The proof came during the Nationals’ 3-2 victory over the Phillies in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.

Strasburg was solid in his second outing since coming off the disabled list. He pitched at least seven innings for the first time since April 19 against the Phillies, as he allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out nine batters.

At one point during the game, Strasburg looked like his old self, striking out five of six batters. He said he was working off his fastball. Read full article here.

Nats’ bench embracing ‘next man up’ mantra

(Bill Ladson, MLB.com)

NEW YORK — Injuries to Ryan ZimmermanJayson Werth and Anthony Rendon have forced the Nationals to rely heavily on their bench this season.

For the first time since 2012, the players on the bench have been productive fill-ins. Players such as Danny EspinosaClint RobinsonMichael TaylorDan UgglaTyler Moore and Jose Lobaton have contributed to a team that is on top of the National League East.

Of the players on the bench, Taylor is expected to see everyday action by next year, when he could replace Denard Span in center field. Moore is the only bench player left from 2012 (Espinosa was the regular second baseman that year), and he said it helps that the reserves are getting a chance to show their skills on a regular basis. Read full article here.

More from District on Deck