Pitching is the foundation of the Washington Nationals‘ success this season.
As a team that wins low-scoring ballgames, they rely on their starting pitchers to go deep and keep the offense within striking distance. Starters Tanner Roark and Doug Fister have been unexpected blessings to the Nats’ pitching staff. Both currently have 12 wins and earned run averages well under 3.00. Fellow SP Stephen Strasburg, however, has labored through the majority of his starts this season.
Strasburg came to the Nationals out of San Diego State and the team had every intention of making him the ace. While he has had flashes of greatness throughout his time in MLB, Strasburg has at least 10 wins in just one of his prior seasons in the majors. In the Nats’ successful 2012 season, he went 15-6. Currently, Strasburg is 11-10 through his 2014 effort.
His pitching is dominant at home, while he has struggled on the road. Despite being one of the league leaders in strikeouts, Strasburg’s wins are usually hard-fought. With his 11-10 record, he is posting a 3.49 ERA.
Strasburg is, however, 4-1 in his last six starts for the Nationals.
Since the team has found consistency in the rest of its starters, it hasn’t had to rely on just Strasburg to win games. The fact that he is settling into a comfort zone now is great news for the team. Strasburg will need to carry this new-found confidence into the final weeks of the season. He has all the tools to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, but must be aware of what he is doing right if he hopes to continue this success.
In four of his last six starts, Strasburg has given up either one or no runs. That is impressive and it is exactly the kind of pitching the Nationals want to see from him going into the playoffs.