In his second scoreless outing of the season, Stephen Strasburg tossed eight strong against the Miami Marlins last time out before this afternoon, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out 11 of 27 batters in what ended up a 5-0 win in which he earned his second win in 2019.
“Outstanding,” Davey Martinez told reporters when asked for his take on Strasburg’s outing on the road against the Fish. “That’s the word that could describe what he did today.”
“Everything was syncing up pretty good, so just trying to make some adjustments from the last outing, and it seemed to work,” Strasburg said after the curve-heavy appearance in the Marlins’ home.
Back in Washington, D.C. this afternoon, the Nationals’ 30-year-old right-hander fell behind early, giving up a leadoff walk to Eric Hosmer in the top of the second and surrendering a two-run home run on a 1-2 changeup knee-high inside to Hunter Rendfroe, whose second home run on two days cleared the left field wall to make it 2-0 Padres.
Strasburg held the Padres there through six, though his teammates couldn’t get anything going against Padres’ southpaw Eric Lauer.
Juan Soto homered to tie things up, however, sending his fifth home run out to right field an out after a one-out walk to Victor Robles in the sixth.
Strasburg returned to the mound in the seventh and worked around a single in a 13-pitch frame that left him at 100 pitches total on the day.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 66 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Strasburg retired 19 of the last 21 batters he faced to end his outing, but the Nationals’ pen struggled again, and they ended up losing 8-3 in extras.
There's only 1 pitcher in the NL with more strikeouts this season.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 27, 2019
(His name is Max Scherzer.) pic.twitter.com/AI5NDKSpSY
Strasburg featured a fastball-heavy mix this time out, throwing 40 four-seamers and 11 two-seamers overall, generating eight swinging strikes with his four-seam fastball. He averaged 94.6 MPH with the four-seamer, and mixed in 16 changeups (seven swinging strikes) and a total of 33 curves, (five whiffs).
“I thought fastball had good action on it today, and it definitely seemed like it set up a lot of other pitches,” Strasburg said when asked about his pitch selection against the Padres.
The one “mistake”, on the pitch Renfroe hit out, wasn’t really that bad a pitch in Strasburg’s opinion.
“From looking on the video, I executed the pitch, he just hit it,” Strasburg told reporters.
“It’s just one of those pitches, but you know I think the things you can control out there are being aggressive in the strike zone, making pitches, sometimes you’re going to make a good pitch and they’re going to hit you, sometimes you’re going to make a bad pitch and they’re not, so that’s baseball.”
“Stras was awesome today, he really was,” Martinez said after the loss, while noting that the bullpen has to get going at some point because the Nationals need all 25 guys contributing if they’re going to get where they want to go.
“It’s tough on everybody,” Strasburg said of the frustrating run that’s seen the Nats drop three straight and six of their last ten, “... but it’s a team game and you’ve just got to stay with the guys, and there’s going to be highs and lows, I think everybody knows that.
“It’s obviously a low point right now, but the only thing we can do is flush it and show up ready to play tomorrow.”