In the first game of the Washington Nationals' three-game set with the visiting Mets, the runs were hard to come by as veteran New York hurler Bartolo Colon held the Nats to one run on five hits in seven innings, in what ended up a 7-1 loss for the Nats.
That the Nationals busted the bats out for the second game of the series didn't come as a surprise to their skipper.
"It was great," Dusty Baker said of the eleven hits, five home runs and seven runs total the Nationals collected against Matt Harvey and the Mets' pen.
"Figured we'd be better today," Baker continued, "because yesterday was the first day home after a tough road trip and that first day is usually kind of tough because your kids don't care about your sleep and things you've got to do, and the pitcher yesterday had a lot to do with it. But today our offense came alive, we hit some balls out of the ballpark and [Stephen Strasburg] was excellent. I mean, he didn't need all those runs, he'll take them."
Strasburg improved to (8-0) after ten starts with another strong outing and the Nationals improved to 10-0 this season when the 27-year-old righty takes the mound.
After acknowledging that pitcher wins rarely tell the whole story earlier in the day on Tuesday, Baker said he was still impressed with Strasburg's strong start out of the gate this season.
"Well, you know, it matches some pretty good pitchers around baseball. Chris Sale is 8-0 and [Jake] Arrieta is (8-0) and so that means that he's one of the best out there and he's pitching like it."
Sale was actually (9-0) before he lost his outing last night. Arrieta and Strasburg are now tied for the NL lead in wins with eight each. Back to the win as a stat for a moment...
"A lot of people say that the wins don't matter," Baker said. "But the wins matter to the guys on the team and the wins matter to the person that is getting the wins. These guys are used to playing to win, versus -- ERA is important, but the win is more important. I hear them talking about quality starts, but I remember Dave Stewart said a long time ago when he was a pitching coach in Milwaukee that he was more interested in the quality win than a quality start, and that's what he was doing."
Baker was asked how impressed he was that Strasburg has managed to lead his teammates to a win in each of the last 13 starts he's made going back to last season?
"I don't like to count," Baker said. "Just the next game is one more. And so that's all we ask, is one more."
The Nationals will try to win one more from the Mets this afternoon with Tanner Roark on the mound in the series finale in D.C.
Here's the lineup for the third game of three with New York: