Atlanta Braves' lefty Mike Minor struck out the first two Washington Nationals' batters he faced in the fourth, but then walked Nats' starter Stephen Strasburg, issuing the opposing pitcher his first career free pass on a hot day in Atlanta in which the temperature on the field was reportedly around 120°. Danny Espinosa flew out to center in the next at bat, and Minor was through a 17-pitch inning at 68 pitches overall, one pitch more than the Nats' starter had thrown on the day. After slowly running out the fly on the basepaths, Strasburg went back to the dugout, but he didn't return to the mound for the bottom of the inning. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson came out to talk to home plate umpire Marvin Hudson and Nats' right-hander Chien-Ming Wang made his way in from the bullpen. Wang was given all the time he needed, leading Twitterers to believe it might be "exhaustion" on Strasburg's part which would qualify as an injury.
Strasburg was shown with glove on hand and hat on head on the Braves' broadcast walking down to ask Nats' pitching coach Steve McCatty what was going on only to discover he'd been lifted after just 3.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB's, 4 K's, 67 pitches, 37 strikes and three fly ball outs. As the Washington Times' Amanda Comak (@acomak) noted on Twitter, the word from the MASN broadcast was that Strasburg was suffering from issues with the heat:
The MASN broadcast said that Stephen Strasburg was "overheated." From the way he was acting, that makes a lot of sense. Seriously labored.— Amanda Comak (@acomak) June 30, 2012
• The Nationals made the official announcement that it was "heat-related issues" that ended Strasburg's day via the Twitter (@NationalsPR):
Stephen Strasburg left today's game with heat-related issues.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) June 30, 2012
• More info when it's available. Braves currently up 6-2. Join the GameThread HERE or scroll down...