Yeah, that was one of the headlines on Tuesday morning: "Strasburg Struggles." Except "Struggles" wasn't capitalized because nobody capitalizes headings anymore. But anyway, it's got to be tough to be a world class talent. You can't possibly live up to everyone's expectations and you can't escape even the slightest pimple. Did Strasburg struggle? Heck no. He did lose though thanks to terrible defense, poor relief pitching and no run support.
Strasburg's final line reads, 6.1 innings, six hits, three earned runs, two walks and seven strikeouts. Sounds like a solid outing to this Fan. But it was an even better outing than that sounds. Riggelman made a big mistake by not pinch hitting for Strasburg in the top of the seventh. He had a runner on third and he sent Strasburg up to hit. Strasburg had not given up a run to that point and the Nats hadn't scored either. How different would the news agencies read if Riggelman had done the right thing? Perhaps a pinch hitter could have gotten the run in and Strasburg would have been in line for the win. Or he would have had a no decision with no runs allowed.
But Srasburg hit or didn't and the inning was over. The big kid then promptly gave up two base hits to start the bottom of the seventh. He then walked a batter. But then he induced a perfect double-play ball to short and one run would have scored, but he could have gotten out of the inning without a lot of damage. But the shortstop booted it. It was a perfect double play ball! Geez.
That indubitably rattled the young pitcher and he gave up a sac fly (the bases were still loaded) and the defense let him down again. Nyger Morgan, doing his best B. J. Upton impression, threw to third instead of second and missed the cut off man on the deep fly to center. Instead of first and third with the double play still available, it was second and third. Strasburg was taken out and Burnett was brought it. Burnett hasn't been a good name for pitchers this week. This one gave up two straight hits. Everyone that Strasburg had on base scored and that was that.
And of course, the headlines read that Strasburg struggled. He didn't. He was let down by his manager, his shortstop, his offense and his centerfielder. The guy isn't perfect. But it looks like he sure has to be to get a win and to please everybody.