Stephen Strasburg tossed 5 2⁄3 scoreless against the Philadelphia Phillies last time out, earning the decision in what ended up a 4-2 win over Washington’s divisional rivals.
Tonight, the 28-year-old right-hander will try to help the Nationals avoid a season-long losing streak after they dropped the finale in Citizens Bank Park and each of the Nats’ games in Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
With the win over the Phillies, Strasburg improved to (3-1) in six starts, with a 2.66 ERA, 2.69 FIP, 11 walks (2.43 BB/9), 36 Ks (7.97 K/9) and a .217/.272/.320 in 40 2⁄3 IP.
Late in the outing in the City of Brotherly Love, Strasburg experienced discomfort in his left calf, but was clearly determined to stay in and did record two outs before he was done for the day, having matched a career-high 119 pitches.
Dusty Baker let his starter know he appreciated the effort when he went to the mound to lift the righty, stopping him on his way to the dugout to deliver a message.
“I just told him, ‘Hey, man, that’s a way to gut it out and just wanted him to know that we all appreciate what he was doing and attempted to do,” Baker said.
“You want to be in those situations,” Strasburg said, “where they’re putting together — grinding out at bats and you got to make the next pitch, keep trying to make the next pitch, and the calf started spasming a little bit on me, but you’ve just got to find a way.”
Strasburg told reporters the calf was nothing to worry about.
“It happened to me in Cincinnati last year, it’s just — I would say I was hydrated, but a little bit muggier than I thought it was going to be so I got a little bit dehydrated out there and that’s normally what kind of happens, it’s happened before, so nothing to worry about.”
He’ll make his seventh start of the season tonight and try to play the role of a stopper for a Nationals team that suffered another deflating loss in the bullpen last night, but he might be limited, with Baker explaining he might hold him back a little after all of the pitches Strasburg threw in Philadelphia.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE THIRD OF FOUR WITH THE ORIOLES:
UPDATE: Jayson Werth was originally out of the lineup, but he’s in there now. Nationals sent out an updated lineup moments ago.