Start No. 4 of the 2019 campaign for Stephen Strasburg began with six straight outs, then four scoreless innings after the ‘09 No. 1 overall pick helped himself with an RBI double in the second that gave him a 1-0 lead to work with.
Evan Longoria hit a 2-2 two-seam fastball up in the zone out to right-center in the first at bat of the fifth, however, tying it up at 1-1 in the first of three for the San Francisco Giants in D.C.
Gerardo Parra singled with one down in the fifth, and scored on a two-out, two-run blast to left by Steven Duggar, who hit a first-pitch, two-seam fastball into the visitor’s bullpen on a line.
Brandon Belt hit one into the Nationals’ bullpen with one down in the sixth, taking another first-pitch fastball for a ride to right to put the Giants up 4-1 in what ended up a 7-3 loss.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 Ks, 3 HRs, 97 P, 68 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked after the game about the home run balls. The three Strasburg allowed were the most he’s given up in a game since he gave up three in one start in June of 2017.
“The ball just ran back over the plate,” Martinez said of the pitches that went out, “... and he was pitching really well up to that point. He threw two fastballs, his changeup was good, his curveball was good, and he was elevating his fastball pretty good today too when he needed to, he just threw two pitches that ran over the plate.”
“I didn’t think they were too bad of pitches,” Strasburg told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, “... especially early in the count. I think it’s more so of not falling into a pattern as much.”
Martinez said he thought Strasburg went away from his game plan when things started to go wrong.
The manager said his starter needed to, “... just continue to make his pitches, stay with the plan, we had a good plan, he had a good plan going into the game, and I think those two pitches he got away from it a little bit, but he’s just got to continue to stay with the plan.
“I mean, he’s got good stuff, and like you said, it just happens, one or two little things happen and then we get into these innings, but he was pitching good up till that point.”
“You go off the scouting report as much as you can,” Strasburg said.
“But I think in certain situations guys will come off that, especially with the secondary stuff that I have. So I just have to be more aware of it out there in situations and not just consistently start the guy off with heater, heater, heater, especially as the game goes on.”
Martinez was asked if he and Strasburg have discussed sticking with the game plan when the going gets tough.
“We talk about it,” the manager explained, “... like I said, his offspeed stuff was really good today, and he had those guys off-balance, and his fastball is good, he just — like I said — I know what he was trying to do, he was trying to go in, and the ball just leaked right over the plate. When you miss with Belt and that other kid is a pretty good hitter, and he missed with both pitches.”
Strasburg has given up five home runs in his last two starts now, and the four runs he gave up last night left him with a 5.56 ERA after 22 2⁄3 innings this season, over which opposing hitters have put up a .244/.299/.489 line against him.