Stephen Strasburg hasn't pitched like an ace. I'm not saying that. But he's pitched very well. Using fancy stats you could argue he's been the most effective pitcher on the team (I won't do that but I will say that he's pitched as well as ZNN - just the team is finally scoring for ZNN) If you are going to rank the player-level reasons the Nats have started below .500 Strasburg's "issues" would be somewhere between #15-#20 probably.
And yet you get nonsense columns like this, basically blaming Stras for giving up runs in the first because the precious psyches of the Nats batters can't possibly handle the idea of scoring runs in a slump if they have to do it from behind.
Strasburg fell behind four of the first five Cards hitters, had to throw strikes on the hitter’s terms and saw the game lost when it had barely begun. The worst thing a team in a hitting slump can endure is an early deficit before it even gets to bat.The Fantastic Four could travel to the microverse and still couldn't build a violin small enough to play the sad song the Nats hitters deserve.
“You saw it. Weak contact, what can you do,” Strasburg said. Most pitching coaches of the last 100 years would say, “Throw strike one.” Then hitters will not get a free chance to look for a specific pitch in a particular zone and drop an ugly duck snort over the infield.THIS is the mindset of the Nats fan right now. It's getting ugly. It's getting to the point where you start to turn on someone because it has to be someone's fault. You can't just keep them off-balance, Strasburg! You have to get them all out all the time! Don't you see that's the only way!!!
You want to blame Strasburg, fine. He's not doing what he needs to. The blame right now is basically "Not Bryce, not Ross, not ZNN". But if he's your first target for blame, if the first place you go is your #1 pitcher because he's only pitching like a #2 pitcher, you really need to try again.