Stephen Strasburg took a loss the last time out before facing the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in the nation’s capital, which left the 2009 No. 1 overall pick (2-2) on the season with a 2.97 ERA, a 4.27 FIP, eight walks (2.16 BB/9), 36 Ks (9.72 K/9), and a .203/.263/.377 line against in five starts and 33 1⁄3 innings pitched, over which he’s given up six home runs after giving up just two in 62 2⁄3 IP in a dominant second half of the 2017 campaign.
Strasburg gave up his seventh home run in 35+ innings this season in the second inning of the Nationals’ series opener with the D-backs, on a high 96 mph 0-2 fastball to A.J. Pollock in the top of the second inning, 1-0.
Daniel Descalso took the seventh walk of the season from Strasburg in the at bat after the home run, took second base on a groundout, and scored on an RBI single by Nick Ahmed that made it 2-0 Diamondbacks.
It was 3-2 Nationals in the fourth inning when Strasburg gave up a one-out single by Pollock and an RBI double by Descalso as the D-backs tied it up at 3-3, and he gave up two more runs in the top of the sixth, a half-inning after the Nationals took a 4-3 lead, when Pollock tripled to drive in a run then scored on a sac fly that made it 5-4 Arizona after five and a half.
That’s how it ended.
Strasburg’s outing ended after 103 pitches, when Chris Owings reached on an error with one out in the D-backs’ seventh.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 103 P, 66 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Talking to reporters after the game, Strasburg returned to the 0-2 pitch that Pollock hit out.
“Yeah, I mean I made my pitch,” he said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.
“It’s just kind of how it’s going right now. I’m not going to nitpick it too much. It’s just something where you tip your cap and learn from that as well.”
“His stuff was good,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the loss.
“Tip my hat to some of the hitters. Pollock was pretty tonight. Strasburg was good, he just couldn’t have that shutdown inning, plus he kept us in the game. We left ten runners on base. That’s tough. We had 11 hits, but the leadoff hitter was on base almost every inning, so we’ve just got to capitalize and cash in.”
“I tried to minimize the damage as best I could,” Strasburg added.
“I thought I made some pitches. It probably wasn’t the right pitches. So they’re doing a few things differently I guess to start the year.
“But it’s a long season, and I’m just trying to pick up as much as I can. I think the good thing they did is they capitalized when they got guys on base, and that’s something that you have to do.”
Strasburg said the effort is there in spite of the results for the Nationals early this season.
“I gave it everything I had today, and it wasn’t good enough,” he told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“I’ll live with that, and it’s a new day tomorrow. If we can get 25 guys to do that, that’s going to be huge.”