Jul 31, 2013, 3:46 AM EDT
DETROIT — He had dominated one of baseball’s toughest lineups all night, but here stood Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday night, needing to execute one more pitch in order to escape a bases-loaded jam and keep the Nationals and Tigers tied at Comerica Park.
The count was 2-1 to Alex Avila, and Wilson Ramos called for a fastball down and away to Detroit’s .193-hitting catcher. Strasburg, though, misfired by a foot, leaving the 96-mph heater on the lower-inside corner, right in Avila’s wheelhouse. As the ball soared toward the right-field bleachers and the crowd of 41,880 rejoiced the grand slam, Strasburg could only soak it all in, mutter a couple of things and try to recompose himself and finish his evening.
The rest of the Nationals, meanwhile, could only take a deep breath and come to grips with their latest dose of stark reality: This 5-1 loss to Detroit, combined with the Braves’ lopsided win over Colorado, leaves them a full 10 games back in the NL East entering the final day of July.
“I really could care less what the Braves do,” shortstop Ian Desmond said. “We’re [three] games under .500. We’ve got to worry about ourselves. That’s first and foremost. And then the rest will take care of itself.”
It may not matter if the rest takes care of itself. The Nationals aren’t holding up their end of the bargain, and because of it they’re digging themselves into an even deeper hole.
NL EAST STANDINGS
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS
THE BASEBALL SHOW
ON THE RADIO
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Span likely out for season after latest injury
- Nats banged up in 4-2 victory over Padres, win third straight series
- Updated: Taylor leaves Nats-Padres game after colliding with wall
- Updated: Escobar leaves Nats-Padres game with injury
- Span sits to rest sore back; other Nats injury notes
- Nats aim for 3rd straight series win against Padres
- Around the NL East: Will the Mets ever lose again?
- Double play on 3-0 pitch kills Nationals' rally
- Gonzalez turns in uneven outing, drops third straight
- Furious rally falls short as Nationals lose to Padres 6-5