Stephen Strasburg gave up five hits, two walks, and two earned runs in six innings on the mound against Miami last week in Marlins Park, striking out 11 of 26 batters in what ended up a 4-2 win which left the 30-year-old right-hander (3-0) in six starts, with a 3.63 ERA, 11 walks, 43 Ks, and a .250/.320/.402 line against in 34 2⁄3 innings pitched since he returned from his second Disabled List stint this season.
“I feel like the two-seamer was working pretty well tonight,” Strasburg told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr, after the game in Miami.
“The change-up was working well. Four-seam command was a little off, but was able to make a pitch or two in a big situation.”
Facing the Fish again tonight in Nationals Park, Strasburg fell behind early with JT Riddle singling to right to start the game and scoring on an RBI double to left off Miguel Rojas’s bat, 1-0.
Given a 2-1 lead to work with after one, Strasburg, who threw 38 pitches in the first, worked into and out of trouble in the top of the second, allowing the Marlins to load the bases with two down before he got J.T. Realmuto looking with an 0-2 slider to end the threat, though a 25-pitch frame left him at 63 total after two.
Strasburg held the Marlins to one run through four, but he labored on the mound on a rainy night in the nation’s capital, clearing his cleats off on the cleat cleaner/clearer on the back of the hill repeatedly, walking four and striking out five in a 100-pitch effort that ended after a scoreless 26-pitch fourth inning.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 100 P, 59 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
“He endured the elements, he really did,” Davey Martinez said after the game.
“And he gave us all he had. He had close to 100 pitches in four innings, so that was good enough. But he went out there and gave it all he had.”
“I think when you get into a rhythm out there in the game everything starts to sync up and it was just a challenge to get into a rhythm tonight,” Strasburg told reporters, “but I looked at the video and I didn’t really execute as bad as I thought I did, it was just some long at bats and some inconsistency there with other hitters, just giving up too many free bases, but you’re going to have those games, and guys came out swinging tonight, so it was a good win.”
Martinez was asked if he just threw this one out, or read anything into Strasburg’s struggles in the series opener with the Fish.
“Like I said, the weather was bad,” Martinez reiterated, “...and he went out there so hopefully he’s got one more start and he goes out there and gives us a good six or seven innings what he’s been doing the last few starts.”
On the year, the 30-year-old right-hander, who received no decision, is (9-7) with a career-high 3.77 ERA and 3.49 FIP, 36 walks (2.61 BB/9), and 149 Ks (10.81 K/9).
What will Strasburg take away from a season that’s been both personally frustrating, with his two DL stints limiting him to 21 starts, and disappointing overall for the entire team?
“I think everybody is disappointed, myself included,” Strasburg said, “... but you’re going to have seasons like this and you can either beat yourself up and get down on yourself or you can learn from it, and I’m looking at every angle to get better for next year.”