Stephen Strasburg started the night in Citi Field with a five-outing unbeaten streak, over which the Washington Nationals’ 29-year-old right-hander was (4-0) with a 0.26 ERA, six walks, 41 Ks, and .167/.213/.208 line against in 35 innings.
Coming off six inning start against Los Angeles last week in the nation’s capital, which saw him hold Dodgers’ hitters to one run on six hits in a 7-1 win, improving to (14-4) in 26 starts and 162 2⁄3 IP, with a 2.60 ERA, 44 walks (2.43 BB/9), 190 Ks (10.51 K/9) and a .205/.267/.326 line against on the season, Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies if he thought the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick should be in the conversation for the 2017 NL Cy Young award.
“He should,” Rizzo told the Junkies. “He should be in the top three or four in Cy Young voting.
“He’s been great this year. Four-pitch stuff, power stuff, around the plate.
“He’s really been in attack mode this year and I think he’s pitching more so than he ever has before, utilizing his other stuff early in the counts.
“He’ll pitch backwards at times where he’ll start you off with a breaking pitch, and then attack you with the fastballs, so I think he’s come a long way in his pitchability, the way he sequences. I think [Matt] Wieters has a lot to do with all of our pitchers and how they go after hitters and attack hitters, because he prepares so well for the opposing team.
“And I think that there’s a calmness and a real air of confidence in Stras that I haven’t probably seen in his career up until this point.”
Strasburg remained calm and worked his way out of a second and third, no-out jam in the first, and worked around a leadoff single in the second, striking out three-straight, but a leadoff single and one-out walk in the Mets’ third set the home team up with an opportunity they cashed in with Brandon Nimmo doubling in a run and Mets’ catcher Kevin Plawecki singling to center to drive in two more, 3-0.
The Mets’ three earned runs in the first three innings were more than Strasburg had allowed in his previous 43 innings on the mound.
He held the Mets there, however, retiring the last seven batters he faced in a relatively short, five-inning outing, and his teammates rallied to tie it up at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 83 P, 56 S, 3/2 GO/FO.
“I felt good enough to continue, but they make those calls,” Strasburg told reporters in New York after what ended up a 4-3 win in extra innings when Daniel Murphy homered to deep center field for the go-ahead run.
“I’m just trying to think big picture,” Strasburg continued, “but at the same time these games matter down the stretch here, so just got to keep working hard and try to keep things going.”
“We were just trying to limit things, you know what I mean,” Dusty Baker explained when he was asked if there were any injury concerns that led to the decision to lift Strasburg after five.
“We just thought it was time,” Baker said. “We just thought that was enough.”
With one regular season start to get through before the Nationals return to the NLDS, Strasburg was asked if he had anything he wanted to work on next time out.
“I think just keep doing what I’ve been doing,” he said.
“Tonight was kind of weird,” he added.
“Obviously I didn’t hit my spot real well on the ground-rule double, but the other ones, it’s baseball, it’s just kind of how it is. I made a good pitch to Plawecki, and perfect single, I guess, but all in all I think for the most part everything was good, wouldn’t say it was great, but you’re going to have games like that.”