The last 18 innings Stephen Strasburg has pitched for the Washington Nationals, the team has scored a grand total of zero runs. His last three starts, this had translated into losses for the star rookie. However, a team determination and never-give-up attitude changed that yesterday when the Nats came back from being down 5-3 after the 8th inning and won the game 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th. It was Strasburg’s first no-decision of his major league career, and one he couldn’t be happier about.
The Nationals have not been very good lately. Their games have been riddled with errors and a dreadful offensive drought. The team seemed to have given up after a series of heartbreaking losses. That’s why they needed this game. It was important for Strasburg’s and the team’s confidence.
Strasburg, who had been pitching excellence but receiving no support from the rest of the team, needed to know that he could have an off day and the team would have his back. He needed to know he didn’t have to pitch a shutout for the team to win. He got that reassurance yesterday when Pudge Rodriguez hit his walk-off single.
The team needed to know they could come back. They needed to believe they could get themselves out of a hole and continue to play in the late innings. In the future, the team will look at this game and say “See, we’ve done it before, now let’s go out and do it again.”This timing of this game is significant too. Around this time last year, Jim Riggleman replaced Manny Acta as manager. After the All-Star break, which is next weekend, the team went on a tear. With the way things have been going for the Nationals lately, their due for some good fortune. Hopefully, the 4th of July magic can give them the spark they need.