5. Strasburg's last: In 12 starts since he returned from his first DL stint of the season in late June, Stephen Strasburg has gone (7-2) with Washington 10-2 in those outings, over which the 27-year-old, '09 no.1 overall pick has put up a 1.89 ERA, 11 walks (1.30 BB/9), 103 Ks (12.20 K/9) and a .168/.201/.295 line against in 76 innings.
In five of those twelve outings, and the last four straight before tonight's, Strasburg's reached double digits in Ks, with 50 total (14.84 K/9) in 30 ⅓ innings pitched in September in which he's gone (2-1) with a 1.48 ERA, four walks (1.19 BB/9) and a .144/.176/.240 line against in starts vs the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies (2) and Miami Marlins.
Tonight, however, was a test for the right-hander, who has struggled in Atlanta's Turner Field in his career, with a 5.60 ERA, 18 walks (4.58 BB/9), 30 Ks (7.64 K/9) and a .281/.369/.492 line against in 35 ⅓ innings pitched in the Braves' home.
Strasburg threw five scoreless against the Nationals' NL East rivals on 94 pitches in his first start off the DL back in June, giving up just four hits in a 3-1 win in his only outing against the Braves before tonight.
Strasburg was coming off an eight-inning outing against the Phillies in which he gave up three hits, a walk and one earned run, striking out 13 of the 27 batters he faced in a 2-1 win in which he received no decision after he gave up the tying run in his final inning of work.
"Good fastball command," manager Matt Williams said. "Changeup was really good. With all the lefties they've got in the lineup, changeup was really good."
"Threw really well. Continues to pitch well. In command. It was a big eighth inning for him. Even after giving up the run and coming back and shutting that inning down is big for him."
"Just trying to do what I've been doing and keep competing, keep fighting," Strasburg told reporters. "I'm just trying to go out there and do my job. Keep it close and again, compete."
His second start of the season against the Braves began with a scoreless first in which he worked around a one-out single by Cameron Maybin, getting a grounder to second out of Nick Markakis and an inning-ending 4-6-3. 10-pitch frame.
Given a 1-0 lead to work with, Strasburg worked around back-to-back two-out hits by Jace Peterson and Andrelton Simmons, getting a force at second on a grounder to third off Christian Bethancourt's bat for out no.3 of a 17-pitch second. 27 total after two.
Cameron Maybin lined a 3-2 curve to left for a two-out single in the Braves' third, stole second and took third on a throwing error by Wilson Ramos, but he was stranded there when Nick Markakis lined out to center to end a 17-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 44 pitches.
Adonis Garcia singled to left on a first-pitch curve but was forced out at second on a Nick Swisher grounder to first in the next at bat. Swisher was tagged out by Trea Turner on his way to second base, but Jace Peterson beat the throw to first. Andrelton Simmons sent a fly to center to end a 13-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 57 pitches.
Two Ks and a groundout to third got Strasburg through his fifth scoreless frame. 21-pitch fifth, 78 total. Still 1-0 Nats.
Nick Markakis sliced a one-out single into left-center field in the Braves' half of the sixth and took second on a single to center by Adonis Garcia, but both runners were stranded when Strasburg struck Nick Swisher and Jace Peterson out to end a 26-pitch sixth that pushed him up to 104 pitches.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 104 P, 66 S, 6/0 GO/FO.
The line on Stephen Strasburg tonight: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K -- 104 pitches, 66 strikes. #LikeABoss pic.twitter.com/xt6QE6sgVJ— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) October 2, 2015
4. Weber vs Washington: Ryan Weber, 25, was drafted out of Clearwater Central Catholic HS in Clearwater, Florida in the 22nd Round of the 2009 Draft, 656 picks after his opponent on the mound tonight in Atlanta, Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg went no.1 overall.
Let's play ball! pic.twitter.com/YNCIPUREil— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 1, 2015
Weber pitched in 72 games, 35 of them starts in seven minor league seasons before he was called up to make his MLB debut on September 8th, after pitching at Double and Triple-A in the Braves' system, going (0-2) in 11 games and three starts at Mississippi with a 2.73 ERA and a 2.09 FIP in 26 ⅓ innings and (6-3) with a 2.21 ERA and a 3.93 FIP in 73 ⅓ IP at Gwinnett.
In four starts this month, the right-hander was (0-2) with a 5.91 ERA, a 4.64 FIP, six walks (2.53 BB/9) and nine Ks (3.80 K/9) in 21 ⅓ IP, over which he's held opposing hitters to a .263/.333/.421 line.
Last time out, against the Miami Marlins in Florida, Weber gave up nine hits and seven runs in two innings before he was lifted.
Tonight in Turner Field, his outing began with a scoreless 13-pitch, 1-2-3 first that ended with Bryce Harper taking a 2-2 curve for a called strike three.
Clint Robinson lined a 90 mph full-count fastball to left for a solo home run with one down in the second, 1-0 after a 17-pitch second. 30 total after two.
A 16-pitch, 1-2-3 third ended when Anthony Rendon K'd looking for Weber's fifth strikeout. 46 total.
Jayson Werth lined a two-out single to center in the top of the fourth, but he was stranded at first when Clint Robinson K'd looking to end a 16-pitch from for Weber, 62 total.
A two-out single to center by Wilson Ramos kept the inning alive, but Stephen Strasburg K'd looking to end a quick, 13-pitch fifth. 75 total.
Bryce Harper singled to right with two down in the Nats' sixth, but Jayson Werth grounded into a force at second to end a 12-pitch inning for Weber, who was up to 87 pitches, down 1-0.
A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh left Weber at 97 pitches, with 10 Ks, down 1-0.
• Ryan Weber's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 62 S, 9/0 GO/FO.
.@BIGWEB48 tonight: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K. http://t.co/v686xBMGr0 pic.twitter.com/DWBvI0Rj6F— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 2, 2015
3. Random Game Notes: In today's "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment, since returning from his second DL stint of the season, Stephen Strasburg ranks first among National Leauge pitches in K/BB ratio (12.14) and K/9 (12.68), 2nd in WHIP (0.71) and second in batting average against (.170).
• Strasburg's streak of four straight starts with 10+ Ks is the longest in Nationals' history (2005-present) and the second-longest in the majors this season, behind only the Chicago White Sox' Chris Sale (eight games).
October 1, 2015
• Strasburg's 50 Ks in his last four starts are the second-most in a four-start span this season, behind only Sale again, (58).
• With last night's loss the Nationals are 3-5 in Turner Field this season, after they went 10-0 vs the Braves in D.C.
• Bryce Harper and Dee Gordon are currently tied for first in the NL in AVG (.331), and tied with Joey Votto in OBP (.463), and tied with Nolan Arenado in HRs (41), but he's alone in first in SLG (.649), runs scored (117) and Wins Above Replacement (9.5 fWAR).
• The Braves were looking for their fourth straight win over the Nationals in Turner Field tonight.
• A sweep of the Nationals would be the Braves' first in a three-game set since last April.
• The Braves have won five straight overall at home with their starters posting a 0.80 ERA in 45 IP over that stretch.
2. Turning Point(s): Clint Robinson got the Nationals on the board early with a solo home run to left on a 3-2 fastball from Braves' righty Ryan Weber that the 30-year-old Nats' rookie lined out to left field for his 9th home run. 1-0.
1. The Wrap-Up: Blake Treinen took over on the mound for Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a one-out walk to Ryan Lavarnway, bringing left-handed hitting pinch hitter Freddie Freeman to the plate.
Treinen, whose struggles against left-handed hitters are well-documented, popped Freeman up for out no.2, but left-handed hitting outfielder Michael Bourn singled to center with two out to put two on for Cameron Maybin, who grounded out to third to end a 17-pitch frame. Still 1-0 Nationals.
Wilson Ramos singled to right off Peter Moylan to start the top of the eighth. Yunel Escobar stepped in against a new pitcher, Matt Marksberry, and walked, so Fredi Gonzalez went to the pen again.
Danny Burawa came on for the Braves and struck Anthony Rendon out, but Adonis Garcia threw away a sure out on a force attempt at second, sailing it to center and allowing Wilmer Difo to score after he took over for Ramos on the base paths. 2-0. Escobar scored on a force at second on a grounder off Bryce Harper's bat. 3-0.
Felipe Rivero retired the Braves in order in an eight-pitch frame and came back out for the save in the ninth and did it again. 1-2-3 ninth for his first MLB save. Nationals win, 3-0.
Nationals now 81-78