Shairon Struggles; Nats Lose

Does Martis have what it takes?

The thousands of fathers in attendance at Sunday's Nats game enjoyed the present the team gave them: a big, fat, stinky egg. 

After running off a highly improbable (OK, not literally) four in a row, the Nats reverted to form.  Bad starting pitching, bad Hanrahan, blah offense, and it added up to a 9-4 loss to the Jays.

Shairon Martis was the main culprit.  The slop-throwing righty just didn't have it.  He yacked up four runs in the first, and Manny Acta somehow nursed him through five innings.   Acta was rewarded with six total runs, and one measly strikeout.

For the year, Martis is up to a 5.13 ERA.  It's probably fair game to start wondering about his long-term potential.

Martis isn't striking anyone out.  He has a pitiful 3.35 K/9 this season.  You really like to see your starters on the north side of 6.  (And the closer to 9, the better!).

What that means is he's not missing bats.  He just doesn't have the ability to get the ball by the batter -- likely from the combo of so-so velocity and mediocre movement on his pitches. 

If a pitcher doesn't miss bats, it's hard for him to succeed long term, even if some might have short term success.  Because if he loses just a little speed off his pitches, or just a little bit of movement, those shots off the bat become rockets.  And no pitcher can afford to give up too many line drives.

He might be keeping batters off balance more often than not this season -- though yesterday was clearly a 'not' -- but it's hard to do that over a few seasons.

He had better strikeout rates in the minors, and he's going to need to find a similar level of performance if he's going to succeed.  Even the king of the righty junkballers, Livan Hernandez, was striking out 5-6 batters per nine.

Can Martis do it?  Nats fans better hope so.

Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He was thankful for the cooling breeze yesterday.

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