Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg couldn't make it out of the fifth inning tonight.
So tonight's clunker by the Nationals rookie -- he was roughed up by the Marlins for six runs in 4 1/3 innings -- was a shock to everyone in attendance at Nationals Park and throughout the baseball world.
Once it was obvious, though, that Strasburg's right shoulder had nothing to do with this performance, attention could be shifted away from the pitcher's physical state and toward his mental approach to what just happened. And if his few past struggles are an indication of how he handles these things, the Nationals should rest easy and expect a big-time, bounce-back outing when Strasburg re-takes the mound Sunday afternoon against the Diamondbacks.
"He's a competitor," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "He expects a lot out of himself. I know he's going to be angry at himself. But this is a learning lesson for him. You've got to learn from your failures. That's how you get better."
As you'll read on CSNwashington.com, Strasburg has a strong (if brief) history of dealing quite well with adversity.