Before he took the mound this afternoon in the nation’s capital, Stephen Strasburg had been out action for nine days, going back to his April 20th start in Atlanta, GA.
In his first four outings, the 28-year-old right-hander, who signed a seven-year/$175M extension last May, and suffered a partial tear of the pronator tendon late last season, was (2-0) with a 2.89 ERA, 2.15 FIP, seven walks (2.25 BB/9) and 29 Ks (9.32 K/9) in 28 innings heading into today’s start.
Dusty Baker told reporters before Strasburg took the mound against the Mets, that he had no concerns whatsoever about the time between starts or Strasburg being ready.
“I know Stras is a worker,” Baker said.
“Certain guys you don’t worry about. Stras, [Max] Scherzer, they’re going to work, I don’t care where they are, so we’re not worried about Stras.”
Strasburg tossed four scoreless on 53 pitches, but ran into trouble in the fifth, giving up back-to-back hits by Jose Reyes (on a broken-bat single) and T.J. Rivera (on a well-struck double to left).
Reyes scored on a groundout to second, on which Daniel Murphy cut down the lead runner at third, and Strasburg seemed like he would limit the damage, but he fell behind 3-1 on Michael Conforto and gave up a two-out, two-run home run home run on a 95 mph fastball out over the plate that put the Mets up, 3-1.
He told reporters after the game, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr, that the mistake was falling behind in the count so he was throwing a 3-1 instead of a 2-2 pitch.
“Absolutely. Yeah, changes it,” Strasburg said. “But those will happen during the course of the season, so I just got to learn from it and make a better pitch 3-1.”
Strasburg held the Mets to three runs, completing seven innings of work (for the fifth time in five starts, matching a career mark for consecutive seven-inning starts) on 94 pitches, working around a one-out single in his final inning on the mound by getting a ground ball that started an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.
“Stras was good except that they kept hitting the ball out of the ballpark,” Baker said after the 5-3 loss.
“Michael Conforto continues to haunt us, and [the Mets] live and die by the homer and we couldn’t keep them in the ballpark, so, Stras was good, he was very good.”
We talked about Strasburg’s outing, the non-interference call at second and another loss to the Mets on Nats Nightly after the game: