- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
- U.N. rights chief: Flight MH17 downing possible war crime
- Attack on park in Gaza war kills 10, mostly children
- Calif. protesters to block Israel-owned ships at Port of Oakland
- Obama to give Africa $38M, but tells young leaders: Stop ‘making excuses’ for economy
HARRIS: Stephen Strasburg’s recovery from mental lapse a promising sign
Question of the Day
The first third of the season has seen a number of games the Nationals would like to forget. At the head of the list is likely the pre-Mother’s Day Meltdown. It was an 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on May 11 that dropped Stephen Strasburg’s record to 1-5.
The afternoon was notable not so much for the actual defeat as it was for the way it happened.
Strasburg was sharp early. A two-out error by Ryan Zimmerman in the fifth shouldn’t have been a precursor to disaster, not with the No. 8 hitter coming up. This is Stephen Strasburg we’re discussing. But it became a monumental disaster.
Strasburg walked Darwin Barney, who is hitting .200 this season and was lower than that at the time. Strasburg got ahead of pitcher Edwin Jackson 0-2, went to 3-2 and then gave up a two-run double (it is Jackson’s only hit this season). By the time that half of the inning ended, the Cubs were up 4-0.
Technically, none of the runs was earned since all four came after an error that would have been the third out.
In reality, they were all earned and the meltdown led to considerable discussion of Strasburg’s mental state.
As it turns out, he’s fine. Bad day, bad reaction, sure. But if what happened that day helped make Strasburg a better pitcher, a tougher pitcher, May 11 may ultimately go down as one of the team’s best days of the season.
Very high praise, considering Strasburg struck out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates in his debut in 2010 and looked absolutely brilliant in beating the Miami Marlins to open the 2013 season. He’s had a lot more good games than bad. Strasburg was an All-Star last season. The Nats are very happy they took him with the first pick in 2009, and they should be.
The only quibble with Desmond’s comment is he may have shorted Strasburg a game.
In three starts since May 11, Strasburg has gone eight, seven and eight innings. He’s given up one earned run each game. In those 23 innings, he has allowed 13 hits. He’s struck out 20. He’s walked six, though none came against the Phillies on a day when he had nine strikeouts.
Washington has won two of those games and should have won the other. That was the day the ball dropped behind Bryce Harper and led to a bit of a kerfuffle with closer Rafael Soriano.
Strasburg’s ERA during this stretch has fallen from 3.10 to 2.49.
The best part? There was yet another Zimmerman error in the start after the Cubs game. This time, it came with one out and loaded the bases. Strasburg looked at Zimmerman and appeared to be saying, “I got it.” Whatever he actually said, he had it. He finished the inning with a groundout and a strikeout and then threw three more innings. He induced seven groundouts in those innings, showing he can pitch efficiently and not just rely on his power.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Washington Times sports editor Mike Harris has more than 30 years experience in the business as a reporter, columnist and manager. He’s covered a wide variety of events including two Olympics, horse racing, auto racing, professional and college sports. E-mail him at email@example.com and follow the section on Twitter @WashTimesSports.
- HARRIS: Break but don't bend? Bryce Harper quandary rears its head again for Nats
- HARRIS: Offseason nothing to look forward to for Caps or Wizards
- HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they're no illusion
- HARRIS: Echoes of 1978 NBA champs in these Wizards
- HARRIS: Wizards have moved to head of D.C.'s class
Latest Blog Entries
- Gio Gonzalez living a dream by throwing bullpen sessions to ex-Yankee Jorge Posada
- Meet Connor Carrick, the youngster who played his way onto the Caps' final roster
- Go Aggies: Nationals notes and lineups for Sept. 14
- RG3: There is no conflict with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan
- Sunday Nats-Dodgers lineups and some thoughts from reliever Craig Stammen
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- D.C. police chief orders officers not to arrest legal gun owners carrying weapons in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- DeSean Jackson working on offensive cohesiveness with Redskins teammates
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq