Stephen Strasburg gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw in the second inning of his final start of the 2018 campaign on Saturday night in Coors Field. Carlos Gonzalez hit the solo homer 436 feet to center field, but it was a 5-1 game in the Washington Nationals’ favor at that point.
Strasburg held the Rockies there through four, throwing 69 pitches overall and striking out five, and he took the mound with a 6-1 lead in the fifth and retired the side in order in a 17-pitch frame that left him at 86 pitches with 12 of 13 batters set down after the home run by Gonzalez and a walk to Ian Desmond in the at bat that followed the blast.
Nolan Arenado hit a 93 mph 0-1 fastball out to center with one out in the sixth to make it a 6-2 game with his 35th home run of 2018, but Strasburg finished up the inning and ended up earning a win in what ended up a 12-2 blowout.
Stephen Strasburg, Filthy 85mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/6GK4Sa1dXR— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2018
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 103 P, 68 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
Strasburg’s season ended with the 30-year-old righty (10-7) in 22 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 38 walks (2.63 BB/9), and 156 Ks (10.80 K/9) in 130 IP.
Over his final eight starts and 44 2⁄3 innings pitched following his second DL stint, Strasburg went (4-0) with a 3.43 ERA and a .241/.323/.400 line against, finishing strong in a season that was broken up by two stints on the Disabled List.
Strasburg chose to take the positives from the late-season stretch, in which he didn’t have the velocity he started the season with, but managed to pitch fairly well.
“I think it was important just to finish strong in general,” he said, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.
“It hasn’t quite been what I’m accustomed to, but at the same time, I think it shows that when I get older, and the stuff does tend to go down, that it still plays. It’s just a little bit of confirmation, and I think I’ve got more in the tank for sure. I’ve got to get it back this offseason.”
“I think it’s good for his mind set going into the winter,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after the win on Saturday night.
“I know he’s going to work diligently to get healthy, get stronger, and come back in 2019 and be ready to go.”
“You always want to finish the season strong,” Strasburg added, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“I don’t think my work is done, by any means. I’m going to assess this season. I think I’ve done a lot of that already. But I’ll definitely want to go into the offseason and hit the ground running. By no means am I satisfied with how it went this year, and I’m sure a lot of other guys feel the same.”
Martinez said he was, however, satisfied with what he saw from Strasburg in his final start of the season.
“After the first inning he settled down, he was really good. I mean, he used all his pitches really well and he kept us in the game, and you saw Stephen really pitch well tonight.”