At the start of Saturday's game, hours after Stephen Strasburg was told his season would come to an early end, Mark DeRosa sidled up to him on the Nationals bench. DeRosa's contributions this season have been larger behind the scenes, a lesser-used veteran utility man who takes pride in stepping in and offering advice when needed. And at the moment, he knew it was his time to lend a hand.

For the first three innings or so, DeRosa, 37, sat next to Strasburg, 24, and told him to empty his heart if he needed. The Nationals' decision to shut down the right-hander this season has weighed on him, more so now that the team is in the midst of a pennant race and over the past few days.

"I just wanted him, if he had something to say, good, bad and different, to voice it," DeRosa said. "Because a lot of what is said to [the public] is filtered."