[ed. note - "Every Friday morning throughout this season, hopefully, if they'll continue to have me, I'll be writing a post over at MASNSports.com's Nationals Buzz, "... as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest," writers to their site. All opinions expressed are my own... A sample follows... You can read the entire post HERE or through the link included below."]:
Donnie Murphy, who was 6-for-13 with three home runs in the series with Washington, was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts coming into his ninth inning at-bat. Stephen Strasburg got him swinging with an 0-2 curve in the second, then threw a 2-2 fastball by him in the fifth.
Murphy's third at-bat in the seventh ended when he struck out swinging at a 2-2 change. Strasburg had his number.
With two down in the ninth, Murphy stepped in against Strasburg again. The 1-1 curve Strasburg threw him was the first one the Nats starter hung all afternoon and Murphy waited on it and connected when it broke, knee-high inside. Bryce Harper tracked the fly to the wall and turned back at the ivy, dejected. Strasburg crouched behind the mound like he'd been punched in the gut and watched it soar, shaking his head as it kept going and going.
"You hate to see him get beat with a curveball he leaves up out over the middle of the plate," Johnson told reporters after what ended up an extra-inning win in which Strasburg received a no-decision.
"Usually in that situation, he just goes to his fastball and just locates it and it's over. But he's got a lot left in the tank. I think the first pitch was 96 mph right on the black away. And if he just locates the fastball, nobody's going to hit him in that part of the game. But he threw a decent curveball, but it was up and it was in the heart of the plate. If he buries it down, he gets by with it."
Not his season. This was supposed to be Strasburg's year. It was supposed to be the Nationals' year, too. After 25 starts, the 24-year-old right-hander is 6-9 with a 3.00 ERA, a 3.30 FIP, 47 walks (2.71 BB/9), 162 strikeouts(9.35 K/9) and now 15 HRs (0.87 HR/9) allowed in 156 innings. It wasn't the lack of run support that's plagued him all year that cost him yesterday. In seven of his nine losses this season, he's received two runs of support or less...
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