ATLANTA - JUNE 28: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals waits to pitch in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 28, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Winning game one of three in Atlanta with Ross Detwiler struggling on the hill puts Washington in a good position with Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the mound this afternoon in Turner Field and Gio Gonzalez set to follow tomorrow in the 8:05 pm EDT ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game. "It's big. I look at every game as being big," Davey Johnson said after the Nats were able to beat Braves' right-hander Tim Hudson, who'd historically caused the Nationals trouble. "Certainly going against arguably one of their best pitchers, and to jump on him in the first inning and hold on is huge," Johnson said, "So we'll see how it plays out, but I like the way we're set up."
Strasburg's looking to bounce back from two starts in which his work on the mound was overshadowed by post game revelations, first about an uncomfortable situation with some misplaced "Hot Stuff" and then in his last start concerns about a tight bicep...
The Nats' 23-year-old '09 no.1 overall pick pitched 9.0 innings total in his last two starts, throwing 81 pitches and striking out five in 4.0 innings against the Padres in which he gave up seven hits, four runs and two walks and 90 pitches in 5.0 innings against the Orioles in which he surrendered four hits, three runs, one earned and a walk while striking out eight O's batters. Davey Johnson chalked the bicep issues in his last start up to "fatigue or overwork" on Strasburg's part in preparing for his start after the frustrating outing vs San Diego. Strasburg said the same, telling reporters, including the Washington Times' Amanda Comak that it was just "normal fatigue" that's to be expected as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John combined with the results of overdoing between starts.
"'It's something I've just got to be smart about,'" the Washington Times' reporter quoted Strasburg explaining, "'(Overworking after a bad start) is the thing I need to change. I can't change my routine just because of an outcome.'"
Strasburg takes on the Braves tonight. Chipper Jones made headlines last night when he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Carroll Rogers that the Nats' right-hander has, "'... the best repertoire of pitches that I’ve seen on any one single pitcher.'" The 40-year-old, 19-year veteran (who's 2 for 4 with a walk and a K vs Stras) called the Nationals' starter, "a hybrid of Kerry Wood in his prime and [Justin] Verlander," while adding that Strasburg's change really sets him apart:
"'(Strasburg’s) is a 90-plus mph split that falls off the table. When you’re going up there getting geared up for 95, 96 mph and he throws you 90 and the bottom drops out of it, it’s a pretty lethal combination.'"
• Here's the lineup that will take the field behind Strasburg tonight after they try to give him an early lead like Ross Detwilter got last night in the top of the first:
#Nats Lineup: Espinosa 2B, Harper CF, Zimmerman 3B, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Nady RF, Moore LF, Flores C, Strasburg RHP— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 26, 2012