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MLB Washington Nationals

SP Stephen Strasburg Must Fix Early-Game Struggles in Order to Win

Stephen Strasburg Nationals

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Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals struggles early in games. That has been the story of his season.

His outing Friday night against the Atlanta Braves was nothing out of the ordinary for him in 2014. Strasburg gave up two runs in the first inning and four in the second. Despite his ability to strikeout batters, Strasburg falls behind in the first two innings of his games.

During first innings this season, he is posting a 5.40 earned run average and has given up 18 runs. In second innings pitched, he also has a 5.40 ERA to go along with 17 runs given up. Once he gets through those two innings of pitching, he is fine, but that is often after the Nationals are left trailing.

Strasburg must learn to command batters from the start of his games if he intends to win. Despite having eight wins on the season, Strasburg has a win-loss record of 8-10. In terms of wins, he trails team-leading starters Tanner Roark and Doug Fister. Both Roark and Fister have 11 wins apiece.

Going into the final weeks of the season, Strasburg has to find a way to command hitters early. The Nationals will need all five of their starters at their best if they intend to win crucial games against division rivals. First place in the NL East is at stake and the Nationals must set themselves up for success starting with pitching. Strasburg leads the National League in terms of strikeouts, but needs to find a way to translate his strikeout ability into wins.

Harry Floyd is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @floydhe, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.