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Nationals 5-1 over Marlins: Stephen Strasburg officially ready for NLDS

Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg threw six scoreless innings against the Miami Marlins this afternoon to end the regular season with a streak of 20 scoreless innings going and the Nats beat the Fish 5-1 in the nation's capital.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Strasburg Fan Club Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' left fielder Bryce Harper singled to start the bottom of the second. An infield single by Wilson Ramos moved Harper to second and he took third on a fielder's choice out at second on Asdrubal Cabrera's groundout to first. Nats' starter Stephen Strasburg bunted toward first in the at bat that followed and though Miami Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi looked Harper back to the bag, the Nationals' 21-year-old, 2010 no.1 overall pick read the play and broke for home as soon as Eovaldi threw the ball to first. Donovan Solano fired a throw home, but the Harper's oven-mitt covered left hand beat Fish catcher's Jeff Mathis's catcher's mitt to the plate. 1-0 Nats after two.

The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the fifth and scored the second run of the game when Denard Span came in from third on a dribbler toward short off Adam LaRoche's bat. 2-0 Nats.

Asdrubal Cabrera stepped in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and blew this one open with a base-clearing double to right-center that gave the Nats a 5-0 lead.

Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon both misplayed balls in the ninth as the Marlins loaded the bases and scored their first run, but it was the only one they scored. 5-1 final.

4. Strasburg vs the Fish: In four September starts before this afternoon's, including one against the same Miami Marlins he was facing today, 26-year-old Washington Nationals' right-hander Stephen Strasburg was (2-1) with a 1.38 ERA, a 2.05 FIP and a .209/.239/.303 line against in 26 innings pitched, the last fourteen of them scoreless, heading into his final regular season turn in the rotation.

The fourteen scoreless innings came in back-to-back wins over the Atlanta Braves and Marlins which saw the Nats' '09 no.1 overall pick go seven innings each time, giving up just eight hits and two walks total while striking out 12 in 4-2 and 2-1 wins on the road in Atlanta's Turner Field and Miami's Marlins Park.

"I think the one thing you can control is execution and just knowing what pitch will get you the result that you want." -Stephen Strasburg on pitch selection, success against Marlins

Nationals' manager Matt Williams said the strong outing against Fish was a result of Strasburg throwing strikes and commanding his fastball.

"Just again, pounding the zone," he explained. "Really good changeups. Good curveballs, early in the count when he needed a strike. Pretty good fastball command today too. So he just continues to pitch well."

Strasburg said he was able to escape the few jams he found himself in, with a few well-timed double play grounders, by, "... just executing the right pitch at the right time."

"It's not going to always happen that way," he said, "I think the one thing you can control is execution and just knowing what pitch will get you the result that you want."

That outing against the Marlins was Strasburg's fourth this season.

In the four starts, he was (2-2) after the win with a 2.92 ERA, eight walks (2.92 BB/9) and 26 Ks (9.49 K/9) in 24 ⅔ IP over which Fish hitters put up a combined .207/.281/.333 line against him.

This time out he was taking on the Nats' NL East rivals in the nation's capital, where he was (8-3) in 17 starts before today's with a 2.70 ERA (vs a 3.82 ERA on the road), a 2.59 FIP (vs 3.43), 17 walks (1.39 BB/9) and 133 Ks (10.88 K/9) in 110 IP in which visiting hitters put up a .235/.273/.361 line against him (as opposed to a .257/.308/.424 line against in 99 IP on the road).

Strasburg's 18th start of the season in D.C. and his final start of the 2014 regular season began with a groundout to first.

1st: Christian Yelich rolled over a 96 mph 1-1 fastball, sending a grounder to Adam LaRoche at first. Donovan Solano sent a fly to right where Jayson Werth fought the sun and made the catch. Casey McGehee K'd trying to check his swing on a 1-2 bender that ended a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 first.

2nd: Justin Bour sent the first pitch of the second to third. Enrique Hernandez went down swinging at a 96 mph 2-2 heater up high. Jordany Valdespin sent a fly ball to center where Denard Span caught the final out of an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 second. 23 pitches total after two.

3rd: Adeiny Hechavarria sent a grounder to short for out no.1 of the third and Strasburg's seventh straight out to start the game. Jeff Mathis lined to left and over Bryce Harper's head for a double and the Marlins' first hit. Nathan Eovaldi bunted his catcher over to third/gave up an out. Christian Yelich stepped in with the tying run on third and K'd looking at a backdoor bender that ended a 16-pitch third which left Strasburg at 39 pitches total after two.

4th: Donovan Solano grounded out to short to start the Marlins' fourth. Jayson Werth dropped a fly to right off Casey McGehee's bat after struggling with the late afternoon sun. Justin Bour took a backdoor curve for a called strike three and out no.2. Enrique Hernandez stepped in with two out chased a diving 2-2 change out of the zone. 19-pitch fourth, 58 total, 5 Ks after four.

5th: Jordany Valdespin sent a fly to left that Bryce Harper handled. Adeiny Hechavarria grounded back to the mound. Jeff Mathis K'd swinging at a brutal 90 mph 1-2 change to end an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 5th. 69 total after five.

6th: Nathan Eovaldi grounded out to short. Christian Yelich took the first walk of the game from Strasburg. Donovan Solano K'd looking at a 2-2 heater knee-high outside. Casey McGehee's groundout to second ended a 14-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 83 pitches overall after six scoreless.

Stephen Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 83 P, 55 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

3. D-Eovolving: Things have not gone well for 24-year-old Miami Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi in the second-half of the 2014 campaign. In 13 starts, the one-time Los Angeles Dodgers' prospect acquired by the Fish in the July 2012 Hanley Ramirez deal, who entered the All-Star Break at (5-5) has gone (1-9) with the Marlins 3-10.

In 73 IP in the second-half of his fourth major league campaign, the Houston, Texas-born, 6'2'' righty has put up a 5.79 ERA, a 3.50 FIP and a .304/.349/.430 line after posting a 3.61 ERA, a 3.31 FIP and a .259/.303/.401 line in 119 ⅔ IP in the first-half of the 2014 season.

The right-hander was winless at (0-7) in his last eight starts heading into his final outing of the season this afternoon in the nation's capital with a 6.05 ERA and a .353/.387/.484 line against in 41 ⅔ IP over that stretch which included a loss to the same Washington Nationals he was facing today during the series in Miami's Marlins Park last week.

In three starts against the Nats this season, Eovaldi was (1-1) after the loss last time out against the 2014 NL East champs, with a 4.58 ERA, three walks and 12 Ks in 17 ⅔ IP over which Nationals' hitters put up a .242/.292/.364 line against him.

Eovaldi's fourth start of the season against the Nationals began with a scoreless 16-pitch first in which he pitched around a one-out walk by Anthony Rendon and a single to left by Jayson Werth.

Bryce Harper sent a grounder through the right side for a leadoff single in the second and Wilson Ramos followed with an infield single on a weak chopper toward third. Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into a force at second, but beat the double play throw to first, putting runners on the corners. Stephen Strasburg bunted towards first in the next at bat, and when the Eovaldi threw to first, Harper broke from third and beat the throw back home. 1-0 Nationals after one and a half. Nine-pitch second for Eovaldi, 25 total after two.

A 15-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the third left Eovaldi at 40 pitches.

Wilson Ramos singled to right with two down in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Asdrubal Cabrera K'd swinging to end a 14-pitch frame that pushed Eovaldi up to 54 pitches.

Denard Span singled to center with one down in the Nats' fifth and Anthony Rendon walked for the second time in three trips to the plate. A broken bat single to center by Jayson Werth loaded'em up for Adam LaRoche, who sent a dribbler toward short to bring Span in, 2-0. Ian Desmond worked the count full, and walked to load'em back up in front of Bryce Harper, but Harper K'd swinging to leave'em that way. 25-pitch frame, 79 total for Eovaldia after five.

A 13-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth left Eovaldi at 92 pitches. Anthony Rendon singled with one down in the Nats' seventh, but a double play grounder off Jayson Werth's bat ended a 13-pitch inning that left Eovaldi at 105 pitches.

Nathan Eovaldi's Line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 105 P, 67 S, 11/2 GO/FO.

2. Turning Point(s): Bryce Harper was standing on third in the second when Stephen Strasburg sent a one-out bunt toward first base. Marlins' starter Nathan Eovaldi came off the mound quickly to field it and did everything right, looking Harper back before throwing to first for the out. Harper was waiting for the throw, however, and as soon as the ball left Eovaldi's hand, the Nats' ultra-aggressive (sometimes to a fault) 2010 no.1 overall pick broke for home and slid in headfirst with his oven-mitt covered left hand extended and reached the plate right before Marlins' catcher Jeff Mathis received the throw and made a swiping tag. 1-0 Nats.

1. The Wrap-Up: Nats' lefty Jerry Blevins took over for Stephen Strasburg in the top of the seventh and threw a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh. Blevins up to 5 ⅓ scoreless in his last five outings.

Tyler Clippard, on his bobbleday if you were unaware, issued a leadoff walk to Adeiny Hechavarria in the top of the eighth, but retired the next three Marlins in order to keep it 2-0 after seven and a half.

Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back singles off Marlins' right-hander Carter Capps in the bottom of the eighth and Bryce Harper walked to load the bases with no outs. Wilson Ramos grounded to third allowing the Marlins to get the force at home. Asdrubal Cabrera stepped in next and cleared the bases with a double to right that bounced off the out-of-town scoreboard. 5-0 Nationals. A walk to Kevin Frandsen ended Capps' night. Right-hander Anthony Desclafani came on in relief of the reliever, threw a wild pitch that moved Cabrera and Frandsen into scoring position, but struck Michael Taylor and Anthony Rendon out to end the threat.

Drew Storen came on in a non-save situation in the ninth. Casey McGehee sent a one-out single through second. Justin Bour spit on a 1-2 slider inside and singled to center to put two runners on. Enrique Hernandez sent a dribbler to first that Ryan Zimmerman misplayed. Bases loaded. Reed Johnson popped up to short for out no.2. Adeiny Hechavarria stepped in with two out and sent a chopper to third that Anthony Rendon booted. 5-1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia lined out to short in the next at bat, however, to end it there.

Nationals now 95-66