Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Needed a Curly W but laid an egg instead

August 4, 2019

Recently, I’ve posted about the Nationals’ lack of a fifth starter, and possibly a fourth starter – needs they chose not to address before the trade deadline. They got three relievers instead, but I was concerned that if our starter does something awful, the relief pitching won’t matter.

The poster child for that sort of disastrous start was Erick Fedde’s recent humdinger against the Braves, where he gave up nine runs by the fourth inning.

In that previous post, I said:

If we have a pretty much guaranteed loss every 5 games, we’d have to have perfection from our other starters, and that seems unlikely, too.

Well, I hate to be this correct, but here we are.

Stephen Strasburg – yeah, you read that right – our guy. Our ace. The man. He took the mound last night in Phoenix and pretty much immediately clucked like a chicken and laid an egg. Not a normal-sized chicken egg either. This was like those massive dinosaur eggs Wilma Flintstone used to fry up for Fred’s breakfast. The Nats got utterly destroyed by the Diamondbacks, 18-7.

Strasburg gave up nine runs in 4 2/3 innings. Sounds kinda familiar.

(I will note that brand new reliever Daniel Hudson came in for 1/3 of an inning and got a much-needed K when the bases were loaded, ending the inning. That was literally the only bright spot.)

The Nats used SIX pitchers. Well, no, that’s not quite right. The Nats used FOUR pitchers. Then, when it was already 11-4, Manager Dave Martinez apparently lost the will to live and sent in outfielder Gerardo Parra to pitch in the eighth.

Since we couldn’t beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on the field, I sincerely hope they played Parra’s walk-up music, Baby Shark, on an infinitely loop while he pitched. At least then both teams would have been tortured.

NS, that experiment didn’t pan out. Parra recorded zero outs and gave up five runs. Next, Martinez sent second baseman Brian Dozier out for a try. Dozier closed out the inning, but not before donating another two runs to the home town team.

So. What have we learned? Position players aren’t pitchers. Relief pitchers can’t fix disasters. And getting more than 86 wins looks very, very hard to do.