With Max Scherzer still on the injured list, Washington Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg needs to pick up the slack and step up.
Washington Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg had has an outstanding 2019 season. Strasburg is currently second in all of baseball with 14 wins to go with 175 strikeouts, and a 3.72 ERA.
Strasburg had an outstanding month of July, going 5-0 and giving up just four runs in 31.2 innings pitched. The 31-year-old lowered his ERA from 3.88 on June 27 to a stellar 3.26 on July 28 when he gave up one run in seven innings to the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Strasburg was slowly creeping his way into being considered as a strong N.L. Cy Young candidate.
The veteran was in one of the best stretches of his career, but then came his start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Strasburg had already faced Arizona once this season, and it was his worst start of the year. He went five innings giving up six runs on nine hits, including four home runs.
Last Saturday was more of the same in Arizona, as Strasburg tied his career-high giving up nine earned runs in 4.2 innings and three home runs. Washington lost the game 18-7 and lost a Strasburg start for the first time since June 15.
Now even the best have bad days, and it was unrealistic to believe Strasburg could continue his July stretch the rest of the season, so one bad game is not the end of the world. But as the Nationals start a huge series against the New York Mets Friday night, they need Strasburg to step up and set the tone in game one.
Since Max Scherzer hit the IL, Strasburg has stepped up and pitched like the ace he can be, but Friday night they need him to come out and deliver a “Scherzer-like” performance. The Mets trail the Nationals by just 2.5 games in the Wild Card, so a New York sweep could put them ahead of Washington come Sunday afternoon.
It is Stephen Strasburg’s job to ensure this does not happen, and come out and be the guy we saw all July on Friday night. Strasburg has done a great job in Scherzer’s absence, but this weekend will be a true test of whether he can step up and be the ace we all know he is capable of being.