Stephen Strasburg left this afternoon's start against the Miami Marlins after four innings of work in which he gave up four runs on two home runs, a three-run blast by Justin Bour and a solo shot by Derek Dietrich.
The real concern, however, was a noticeable drop in his fastball velocity.
After he averaged 97 mph last time out and got it up to 98.9 (according to Brooksbaseball.net), his velo was down today, sitting around 92-94, though he did hit 95-96 on occasion early in the outing.
Strasburg hadn't had an avg fastball velo below 96 in any start since before his 1st DL trip. He only hit 96 a few times today, in the 1st.— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) August 30, 2015
After completing the fourth at 60 pitches, Strasburg was lifted from the game.
As per usual, the Nationals don't make announcements on injuries during games, so we'll have to wait until after the series finale with Miami when Matt Williams meets with reporters to get an update, but here's what happened while he was on the mound from today's post-game thread which will be published in full after the conclusion of today's game....
Strasburg vs the Marlins:
In his last eight starts before this afternoon's against the Miami Marlins, going back to May 29th, Stephen Strasburg had allowed two earned runs or less. He was (5-1) over that stretch, with Washington 6-2 in his outings, over which the 27-year-old, 2009 no.1 overall pick put up a 1.69 ERA, eight walks (1.69 BB/9), 50 Ks (10.55 K/9) and a .167/.209/.300 line against in 42 ⅔ innings pitched.
In four August starts, the Nationals' right-hander put up a 1.73 ERA, a 2.00 FIP, three walks (1.04 BB/9) and 32 Ks (11.08 K/9) in 26 innings, over which he held opposing hitters to a combined .154/.183/.300 line.
Strasburg followed up on that outing with six innings of work on the mound against the San Diego Padres last time out in which he gave up two hits, a walk and two earned runs in what ended up an 8-3 win.
Matt Williams too was impressed with what he saw from Strasburg.
"I thought that, for me, the fastball down command was good tonight," he said. "Threw a lot of balls at the bottom of the strike zone, a lot of fastballs. And when he does that, breaking balls open for him, changeups open for him."
"That's a harder pitch to hit," Strasburg said when asked about working down in the zone. "If you live up in the zone, around the belt and stuff like that, they're going to hit a couple."
In the series finale with Miami, Strasburg was facing the Marlins for the third time this season, after going (0-2) in the previous two outings with a 6.00 ERA and a .333/.415/.444 line against in nine innings.
In the first two at bats of today's game, Dee Gordon bunted for a hit and Ichiro Suzuki doubled to right to put runners on second and third with no one out. One out later, Marlins' slugger Justin Bour crushed a 95 mph 2-2 heater and hit a three-run blast to right-center field to make it 3-0 early in the series finale. 17-pitch first.
Adeiny Hechavarria bunted for a hit in the first at bat of the top of the second, but he was stranded three outs later as Strasburg completed a nine-pitch frame at 26 total.
A 15-pitch, 1-2-3 third ended with Bour swinging over a 1-2 change outside. 41 total after three.
After the Nationals pulled within one on a Jayson Werth blast in the third, Derek Dietrich led off the top of the fourth with a solo shot to the second deck in right on a 93 mph 1-1 fastball. 4-2 Fish. Hechavarria singled with one down, and took second on a two-out single by Brad Hand, but both runners were stranded when Dee Gordon grounded into a force at third. 19-pitch frame, 60 total after four.
Strasburg, whose velocity was down around 92-94 throughout the game, after averaging 97 mph and hitting 98.9 last time out, was lifted after four innings. Doug Fister took over on the mound...
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HR, 60 P, 43 S, 4/1 GO/FO.