Stephen Strasburg was unbeaten in four outings, (3-0), with a 3.33 ERA, seven walks, 29 Ks, and a .202/.271/.277 line against in 27 innings heading into Sunday afternoon’s start against the San Diego Padres in the series finale in Petco Park.
His previous start before facing the Padres, was a less-than-stellar one against the Chicago White Sox in which he gave up five hits, three walks, and five earned runs in five innings.
Four of the five runs Strasburg allowed came in the first, and he gave up one in the second and then tossed three scoreless, giving up just one hit after the second.
He threw 59 pitches in the first two innings, and needed just 46 to get through his final three innings on the mound.
“His command was a little off,” manager Davey Martinez said after the 9-5 win over the Sox, in which Strasburg received no decision.
Stephen Strasburg, Filthy 81mph Curveball...and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/sx0rd1EWrZ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 9, 2019
“He gave us the innings that we needed and came back and got big outs for us in the fifth.”
“There’s only one thing you can do and that’s what we preach as an organization, is never to give up and keep battling.”
Strasburg looked sharp early against the Padres, holding the home team to one run on six hits through five innings.
Strasburg retired the side in order in a 17-pitch sixth, and came back out for the seventh at 85 pitches and threw another 1-2-3 frame, striking out two in a 19-pitch frame that left him at 104 total with seven straight outs to end his afternoon.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 104 P, 72 S, 11/2 GO/FO.
Stephen Strasburg, 87mph Changeup and 81mph Curveball, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/LjF47MXbgv— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 9, 2019
Strasburg was still the pitcher of record when the Nationals hit four straight home runs in the top of the eighth and went on to a 5-2 win, so he earned his and finished the day (7-3) with a 3.36 ERA, a 2.76 FIP, 23 walks (2.27 BB/9), and 110 Ks (10.88 K/9) in 91 IP on the year.
“He worked out of a couple jams,” Martinez said after the Nationals earned a split of their four-game set with the Padres.
“But [Strasburg] was effective with all of his pitches, he humped up when he needed to, but his changeup and his breaking ball were really good.”
Strasburg got 16 swinging strikes on the day, six with his four-seamer, and five each with his changeup and curve, and he got 19 called strikes overall in the outing, throwing 72 strikes in all in the start (69%), as he pounded the zone.
“He needs to pound the strike zone,” Martinez said.
“I mean, his stuff is so good, he wants to get ahead, and work ahead all the time, and when you’re ahead and you’ve got three pitches like he has, it’s tough to square balls up.”
He was also spotted jumping up and down in the dugout when the home runs all went out in the eighth...
Was that Strasburg ... smiling?
“Absolutely,” Martinez said.
“He’s different this year. He’s having a lot more fun, it seems like, even though I know he had fun in the past, but he’s showing it, and it’s kind of nice his teammates are feeding off of it, and every five days he goes out there and he’s been giving games like this and keeping us in ballgames.”