A moment of appreciation, please, for Miguel Batista. Given about 15 minutes notice that he'd be starting in place of Stephen Strasburg, who was scratched from tonight's game, Batista took the ball and has turned in an outing that Strasburg would be proud to have.
He allowed three hits and a walk in five shutout innings, striking out six, as the Nationals have a 3-0 lead on the Braves.
I know Batista's a popular whipping boy around here, and he's had his share of bad outings, but hating Batista amounts to a misunderstanding of what he's there to do. He's almost always going to be pitching in undesirable circumstances, either when a starter makes an early exit or in an emergency like this. And most of the time, he does respectable work, and takes the ball whenever he's asked. That's all you could want in a long reliever.
No more Strasburg news yet, but I'd guess we'll hear more after the game. If he can't pitch in the next week or so, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Nats shut him down for the year. They're not going to shut him down, go through a throwing program with him and bring him back for the final two months of the year, especially when he's got an innings limit.
We'll keep you posted on Strasburg developments. In the meantime, give Batista some credit.