After a shaky, four-inning outing in his return from a second stint on the Disabled List this season, Stephen Strasburg put together a solid start the last time out before he faced the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night in the nation’s capital.
Strasburg threw six strong on 99 pitches last week, giving up five hits, three walks, and two runs in what ended up a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.
“It was progress,” Strasburg said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr. “So, it was just a matter of getting ready for the next one now.”
Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was a little more effusive in his praise for the 30-year-old right-hander’s work against the Phillies, even though Strasburg didn’t have the electric stuff he usually does when working at 100%.
“I thought he was great,” Martinez said. “He didn’t have his 96-97, but he pitched, and that was really encouraging to see. He battled.”
Welcome to Strasburg! Population: 7 K pic.twitter.com/cM3yjzTeio— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 2, 2018
Going up against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday, Strasburg tossed three scoreless on an efficient 26 pitches to start, but ran into trouble in the fourth, walking two and striking out three in a 32-pitch frame in which he eventually stranded both runners that reached base.
He gave up two runs in the fifth, however, with Mike Moustakas doubling and scoring on a grounder to third by Jonathan Schoop that ate up Anthony Rendon, 1-0.
Christian Yelich lined an RBI single to right later in the fifth, on a first-pitch change, and the Brewers took a 2-0 lead, which was down to 2-1 after the bottom of the inning.
Strasburg’s night ended with a quick, 10-pitch sixth that left him at 93 pitches total.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 93 P, 57 S, 7/0 GO/FO.
Manny Pina’s home run in the seventh put the Brewers up 3-1, but the Nationals rallied with a four-run eighth and held on for a 5-4 win.
Martinez was asked if he was happy with what he saw from Strasburg in the right-hander’s third start back.
“Very,” the manager said. “He battled. The last inning there you could tell he kind of lost his mechanics a little bit, and he came out, we talked about it, and I told him that was perfect, that’s what we needed. But he’s doing better every day. He got up to 95 today, touched 95, so he’s getting better.”
“Yeah, I’ve been working on some stuff with [Pitching Coach Derek Lilliquist],” Strasburg said.
“Just kind of working on my stride and not jumping as much and it started to sync up pretty well. There were some lapses, but it was definitely an improvement. So, just going to keep working at it.”
Working on your stride? What’s going on there, exactly?
“I just feel like over-striding — it’s you kind of lock yourself out a little bit and end up flying out, so just really just trying to get over my front side and create better angle on the ball.”
“His velo’s back,” Martinez added, “... plus, man, the first few innings he was lights out and that’s the Strasburg that we’ve seen in the past, so hopefully he’s got it now, and he’s good and in five days we see that same Stras.”
“It’s kind of obviously been a frustrating year for all of us,” Strasburg said when asked to assess where he is at this point.
“But with that said, you learn a lot and I’m going to continue to learn and continue to try to get better.”