"You can't hardly pitch any better than that," Davey Johnson told reporters after Stephen Strasburg's eight inning, 12 K performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates last week. Strasburg gave up just two hits and one earned run while he was on the mound, but he received no run support.
The Pirates led 1-0 after eight and added three more which were all charged to Drew Storen in the right-handed reliever's next-to-last outing before he was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse this past weekend. Johnson was asked that night if he thought Storen, the Nats' 1st Round pick taken eight spots after Strasburg was drafted no.1 overall in 2009, needed to go to the minors and sort things out.
"There's not a lot of better options right now as far as I'm concerned," Johnson said. "You try to do everything you can to make it easier for them to do the things you know they're capable of doing, and I felt like if we could stay close, he could hold us close, we would be in good shape. And I hate to waste the effort by Stras. I mean, that was a great effort."
A 1-0 game after eight was a 2-0 game quickly after Storen gave up a single, RBI double and a one-out intentional walk before recording a strikeout and leaving the mound with two on and two out. Fernando Abad came on and hit the first batter he faced to load the bases before have gave up a two-out, two-run single by Pirates' catcher Michael McKenry, which drove in the other two runners Storen put on. Strasburg wasn't concerned with anything other than the team getting the win, however, as he told reporters after his 20th start of 2013.
"I don't really care about the whole wins and losses as a pitcher," Strasburg told reporters. "I think we need to win some games and it's getting to the point where our back is against the wall and so we've got to do what it takes."
On the year, the 25-year-old Nats' right-hander is (5-8) with a 2.85 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 11 HRs allowed (0.80 HR/9), 38 walks (2.77 BB/9) and 127 Ks (9.27 K/9). While Strasburg has dominated the opposition at home in the nation's capital, the road hasn't been as kind to the Nats' starter, who has a 4.66 ERA and 4.49 FIP over 48 1/3 IP away from Nationals Park this season as compared to his 1.68 ERA and 2.51 FIP in 75 IP in D.C.
Opposing hitters have a .196/.250/.279 line against Strasburg in Washington. Away from his adopted home, he's held the oppostion to a .228/.335/.373 line. He'll be facing the 59-45 Detroit Tigers for the first time in his career on Tuesday night in Comerica Park. The Nationals, however, will be facing a familiar opponent on the mound.
Anibal Sanchez, who was traded to the Tigers from the Miami Marlins last July, has faced the Nationals 20 times in his major league career, going (8-1) with a 2.02 ERA, 8 HRs allowed (0.58 HR/9), 47 walks (3.93 BB/9) and 108 Ks (7.80 K/9) in 124 2/3 IP against the Nats. Sanchez is (5-2) with a 2.19 ERA, a 1.30 FIP, 12 walks (2.19 BB/9) and 69 Ks (12.69 K/9) in 49 1/3 IP in Detroit in which he's held opposing hitters to a .185/.241/.277 line...
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