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Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 08/28/2012

Stephen Strasburg may be the right cure for a Nationals losing streak


The Nationals have not had many losing streaks this year, and Stephen Strasburg, Tuesday’s starter, is a primary cause. The Nationals had endured only six losing streaks of at least three games before their current four-game slide. Four of those streaks were ended by Strasburg alone.

On May 10, he snapped a three-game streak with a 13-strikeout, one earned run performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On May 20, a three-game skid and the Baltimore Orioles met Strasburg and ended with one earned run and eight strikeouts over five innings.

On June 2, following a three-game sweep at the hands of the Miami Marlins, Strasburg battled Atlanta Braves ace Brandon Beachy with a seven-inning, four-hit and nine-strikeout outing and ended another slide. On June 20, after a sweep by the New York Yankees and a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the right-hander struck out ten and gave up two runs over seven innings. See a trend?

Since then, the Nationals have had only one losing streak of at least three games, and that one was halted by John Lannan. In fact, Strasburg has the most wins following a Nationals loss of any starter in the rotation (eight) followed by Gio Gonzalez (six). In other words, more than half of Strasburg’s 15 wins have come after the Nationals lost.

Strasburg has insisted that he’s not the stopper of the rotation, that any pitcher is capable of snapping a cold spell. But he has pitched like a stopper. In those four starts that snapped a losing streak of at least three games, Strasburg has gone 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA, 18 hits allowed, six walks and 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.

When the Nationals have needed a big performance most, he has not let them lose. And on Tuesday, riding a four-game losing streak that featured plenty of mistakes and uneven play, the Nationals may need another recital to calm the frustration and get back on track. It may also help that Strasburg over his past four starts has allowed only 12 hits, four runs and struck out 29 with a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings and notched four wins. In astronomy, it would be said that the stars are aligned.

FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL

Bernadina is Nats’ muscle man

Lannan earns minor league honor

For Nats, the mistakes piled up

Boz’s chat had great perspective on all things Nats.

FROM TODAY’S POST

Jayson Werth came to Washington and said they would win soon. Can he say now, ‘I told you so’? writes Adam Kilgore.

A four-game losing streak does not mean the Nationals have lost it all, Tracee Hamilton writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Charlottes 6, Syracuse 2: Starter Tanner Roark allowed five runs, only two earned, over six innings. Atahualpa Severino tossed a scoreless inning and has a 2.49 ERA over 47 innings. Sandy Leon and Chris Marrero each drove in a run.

Richmond 8, Harrisburg 6: On rehab, Chien-Ming Wang allowed six runs, nine hits over five innings, with one walk and three strikeouts. Destin Hood drove in a team-high two runs.

Potomac was off.

Hagerstown was off.

Auburn 12, State College 1: Carlos Lopez went 3 for 4 with three RBI. Mike McQuillan, Estarlin Martinez and Carlos Alvarez drove in two runs. Pedro Encarnacion allowed only one runs on two hits over six innings.

By  |  07:30 AM ET, 08/28/2012

 
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