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Nats’ disappointing start punctuated by Strasburg’s season-ending surgery

Martinez and dugout. Photo by All-Pro Reels. 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Stephen Strasburg will undergo season-ending surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome in his pitching hand as reported by Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports.

Strasburg’s short and troubled 2020 season comes to a close after going 0-1 in two starts with a cumulative 10.80 ERA. The second of those starts only lasted a total of 16 pitches against the Baltimore Orioles on August 14th.

The World Series MVP was previously on the 10-day IL following that abbreviated performance against the Orioles, wincing in pain after nearly every pitch. The club broached available options for the pitchers return, but on Friday Manager Dave Martinez announced that Strasburg in fact had carpal tunnel syndrome.

This news came just hours before the Nationals’ double-header against the Marlins on Saturday, in a series the Nats desperately need to capitalize on in order to salvage their season. The Nationals currently sit at 9-13, tied for last in the NL East with Philadelphia, looking to string together some results in order to climb up the standings.

The major themes in play for the Nationals struggles have been injuries and fundamental  mistakes in both base running and in-field defense. As often is the case, both act in conjunction. Just over a week ago newly acquired second baseman Starlin Castro broke his wrist on a fielding play, rendering him done for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Injury woes seemed to have come to a head after Strasburg was placed on the 10-day IL after Castro’s season-ending injury. Unfortunately for the Nats, the reality is they will also be without their talismanic starting pitcher for what will most likely be the remainder of the season.

As a result, the Nationals are bringing up reinforcements from their prospect pool. The main cause for optimism, as a result of these injury struggles, is the implementation of younger players in the lineup. The inclusion of players such as Luis Garcia and now right-hander Will Crowe, may be the ultimate prescription for the longterm health of the club.

As it stands, the Nationals will need to rely on the pitching prowess of Scherzer, Sanchez, and Corbin to shore up the rotation. It is undeniable that the loss of Strasburg will be hard to overcome. Dave Martinez will lean on Scherzer the most in particular. Mad Max has been up to his usual ways; 2 wins out of 3, 3.71 ERA, and 39 Ks (10th in MLB). In order for the Nats to repeat the magic of 2019 Scherzer, along with the rest of the rotation, will need to stay consistent and most importantly healthy.

 

 

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