Dusty Baker has said before that when facing a pitcher for the first time, it can really be tough for hitters.
“I think that advantage goes to the young pitcher until they know him,” the veteran skipper explained last season.
"I mean, you can see the velocity,” he said, “... you can see he has a slider and a split finger, but until you actually see the movement on it and the sharpness of it, it's tough to simulate in the video room."
Going into today’s game, only Howie Kendrick (who wasn’t in the Nats’ lineup) had seen San Francisco Giants’ 2012 1st Round pick Chris Stratton before, and Kendrick had just one plate appearance against the right-hander.
Stratton, 26, and making his 12th big league appearance, and his third major league start, held the Washington Nationals off the board through six-plus after the Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first.
The right-hander ended up completing 6 2⁄3 scoreless inning on 109 pitches, striking out 10 and walking just one batter in his last matchup of the game.
Anthony Rendon drove in the Nationals’ only run of the game with a two-run homer off Hunter Strickland in the eighth, that made it 4-2, but that was as close as the Nats would get.
A.J. Cole gave up three runs in the second on an RBI single by Gorkys Hernandez and a two-out, two-run hit by Joe Panik, then completed four scoreless in a solid outing, but that was all the Giants needed to take the first game of today’s doubleheader, 4-2.
Nationals now 69-46
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• A.J. Cole struck out four straight after giving up a leadoff single in the Giants’ half of the first, but then three straight batters reached base with Ryder Jones doubling to center on a 1-0 change, Carlos Moncrief walking, and Gorkys Hernandez lining an 0-2 slider up in the zone to right-center for an RBI single. Joe Panik followed with a two-out, two-run single to right that made it 3-0 Giants after one and a half.
• Giants’ starter Chris Stratton worked around three hits in four scoreless to start the day half of today’s doubleheader, striking out seven of the first 15 batters he faced.
• Cole kept the Giants off the board through a seven-pitch third inning and an 18-pitch fourth, and he’d set 10 of 11 batters down after he finished up a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth inning that left him at 84 pitches, and he worked around back-to-back, two-out hits in a 16-pitch sixth.
7️⃣ Ks for @cstratton34 through 4 #SFGiants lead 3-0. pic.twitter.com/DpQ3nPVu4w— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) August 13, 2017
• A.J. Cole’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 100 P, 62 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
• Sammy Solis took over for the Nationals in the seventh and worked around a leadoff single in a 17-pitch frame.
• Andrew Stevenson connected for his second hit of the game (2 for 3, two singles, and the Nats’ fifth off Stratton) with two down in the seventh, and Jose Lobaton took the first walk of the inning from the right-hander, ending Stratton’s outing.
• Chris Stratton’s Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 109 P, 75 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
Stretch time in the capital. pic.twitter.com/6Wi1GuVrWf— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 13, 2017
• Josh Osich took over for the Giants vs pinch hitter Daniel Murphy with two on and two out in the Nationals’ seventh, and popped Murphy up to end the frame. Still 3-0 San Francisco.
• Matt Grace gave up a leadoff double by Nick Hundley in the first at bat of the eighth, and Ryder Jones reached first base safely in spite of a tremendous play at second by Adrian Sanchez. With runners on the corners and no one out, Kelby Tomlinson hit a sac fly to center to bring in the Giants’ fourth run, 4-0.
• Brian Goodwin singled off Hunter “BOOOO!!” Strickland to start the Nationals’ eighth, and Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run blast to left on a 95 mph 2-2 fastball, 4-2.
• Grace tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, but Giants’ reliever Sam Dyson finished the Nats off in the bottom of the inning. Final Score: 4-2 Giants.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- After last night’s win, the Washington Nationals hold a 44-38 advantage in the all-time series with San Francisco, and they’re 24-13 against the Giants since 2012.
- Washington started the day 34-24 in doubleheaders since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005.
- Washington’s 33-23 record at home after last night’s win was the fourth-best home record in the majors.
- Heading into play today, the Giants had lost the last five games against the Nationals and eight of the last 11 overall to the Nats, including eight of their last nine in D.C. and 15 of the last 18 in the nation’s capital.
- JINX CORNER: Washington’s bullpen additions, Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle, have combined to post a 1.54 ERA in 26 IP since they were acquired last month, and they’ve yet to allow a run in August.
- REVERSE JINX CORNER: Heading into play today, San Francisco's bullpen had not allowed an earned run in their last 20 2⁄3 IP, and over the last 10 games, the Giants' bullpen had a combined 0.73 ERA (2 ER allowed in 24 2⁄3 IP) and a .237 BAA.
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.275), SLG (.472), runs scored (620), hits (1,092), and extra-base hits, and they ranked second in OBP (.343), and third in home runs (169).
Nationals now 69-46