This headline is an idea that most any baseball fan would disagree with, myself included, except for last night. The loss of Strasburg did not deter the Nationals from winning against their division rival, the Atlanta Braves.
As the 40,000 fans were arriving at Nationals Park ready to see the phenom Stephen Strasburg in action, the young star was having trouble warming up. After a discussion with Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty and GM Mike Rizzo, the Nationals decided to scratch Strasburg from the start.
A wise decision, seeing as Strasburg is the future of the Nationals as well as possibly the future of the MLB. As disappointed as I'm sure all of these fans were at the sight of a non-Strasburg Nationals pitcher take the mound, they were still in store for a masterful pitching performance.
When the Nationals tabbed reliever Miguel Batista to start in place of Strasburg, I'm sure they were just hoping for him to keep the Nationals in the game until the rest of the bullpen could take over. I doubt they were expecting Batista to three-hit the Braves over five innings.
Batista stifled the Braves offense until he could hand the game over to his bullpen, where Sean Burnett, Drew Storen, and Matt Capps all pitched for the Nationals in the combined shutout.
Along with the baserunning performance put on by Nyjer Morgan in which he stole second, stole third, and scored on an overthrow by catcher Brian McCann, these fans did not go home without a show.
Instead of the 22-year-old known by almost every sports fan on the mound, there was a 39-year-old who some Nationals fans may not even know. But either way, the fans were there to see great pitching and that is exactly what they witnessed in the Nationals 3-0 win Tuesday night.