Jun 13, 2010, 2:35 AM EDT
Photo by Rachel Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
J.D. Martin couldn't do the job tonight. Now Stephen Strasburg must do it tomorrow.
CLEVELAND — Among the many tasks a ballclub asks of its ace is to take the ball when his team is in a rut and single-handedly end a losing streak. That's where the term "stopper" comes from, and right now the Nationals need one in the worst way.
Fortunately, Stephen Strasburg is on the mound for tomorrow's series finale against the Indians. Unfortunately, he's being asked to stop a losing streak in only his second career start.
Such is life when you're the most-hyped pitcher in a generation and you surpass that hype by leaps and bounds in your big-league debut by striking out 14 and captivating an entire city.
It may be unfair of the Nationals to ask Strasburg to take on full-blown ace responsibilities at this tender stage of his career, but they have no choice. They need a win tomorrow in the worst way, and their best chance of making that happen is another dominant performance from the 21-year-old.
"Good guy to have out there," Ryan Zimmerman said after Washington dropped a 7-1 ballgame at Progressive Field that was as lackluster a game as this team has played all season.
Strasburg certainly has the potential to turn in a better performance than J.D. Martin did tonight. Even though the right-hander came within one out of a rare complete game in a loss, he didn't help himself by giving up four runs in a span of seven batters in the second. Martin came after the Indians with first-pitch fastballs, and they pounced on him, stringing together five hits in the inning toRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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