Root for Hoo Over Strasburg

Cavs can save future of Nats franchise

For one game, at least, all Nats fans should be Cavalier fans. Even Hokies and Terps should hold their noses and become a Hoo for a day.

Why?  'Cause the fate of the Nats franchise -- its golden arm -- could be riding on their bats.

The Cavs take on Stephen Strasburg's San Diego State Aztecs in the first game of the NCAA regionals on Friday.  It's the first game of a 4-team double-elimination bracket that also features #6 seed UC Irvine and last year's champion, Fresno State.

Teams that make it to the tourney usually ride their starters hard.  And considering that SDSU is basically a .500 team when Strassy doesn't pitch, there's an especially large temptation to go to the whip.

Strasburg's certainly willing to put the team on his back:

"The coaches have been real good to me in terms of limiting my pitch counts, but it's the postseason now and I'm sure they know that I'm willing to do anything and everything it takes to get to the next (round)."

That should be a pretty chilling quote for Nats fans. The idea of him going out there and throwing 150 pitches in a game should scare the crap out of Mike Rizzo and Ted Lerner's accountants. There's the risk of injury while he's pitching, but many also believe that pitching while fatigued -- which often alters mechanics -- can lead to problems down the road.

Manager Tony Gwynn hasn't committed to throwing Strasburg against UVA. He's perhaps saving him for the second game, which would either be an elimination game or give them a great shot of making it to the World Series.

Either way, UVA is ready.  Their coach isn't intimidated.

"There's a lot of kids in the ACC that throw hard. There was a kid at Georgia Tech that hit 99 on the gun last weekend. We faced all those kids. Velocity isn't an issue for a team like us, facing the people we faced in the ACC. I don't want to say it's business as usual, but we definitely have an advantage facing the pitchers we've faced."

Nats fans certainly hope so. Hit him hard, and they can save him from himself.

Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  Go Hoos!

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