One of Stephen Strasburg’s starts in a five-outing unbeaten streak, over which he was (4-0) with a 2.91 ERA, seven walks, 35 Ks, and a .208/.263/.275 line against in 34 innings pitched, was a seven inning appearance against the Braves on the road in Atlanta’s SunTrust Park in which he gave up five hits, two walks, and two earned runs, striking out 11 of the 29 batters he faced.
“The guy we were facing was really good,” Braves’ manager Brian Snitker said, referring, of course, to Strasburg, “and he was throwing really, really good tonight.”
Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said after the 5-4 win in that game that he thought the run Strasburg was on in that stretch was an extension of the improvements the 30-year-old right-hander made when he returned from the Injured (then “Disabled”) List late in the 2018 campaign.
“I truly believe last year, in September, he learned how to pitch, and he learned how to use all his pitches and was very successful at the end there,” Martinez said.
“Came back this year, and he’s doing the same thing. He doesn’t have to rely on a fastball.
“His changeup was great. His curveball was great. And he located his fastball when he needed to, so he’s having an unbelievable year.”
Strasburg’s unbeaten streak was snapped last time out before he faced Atlanta again last night, when he gave up nine hits and six earned runs in five innings of work against Arizona Diamondbacks.
Going up against the Braves again in the series opener in D.C., Strasburg fell behind early after giving up a two-run home run by Austin Riley in the top of the second inning, which was the fifth home run he’d allowed in his last seven innings on the mound.
Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman connected for back-to-back, two-out hits in the top of the third, both on curveballs, with Swanson lining a single to left field and scoring on an opposite field double to left by Freeman, whose 19th two-base hit of 2019 made it 3-0 over the Nationals.
Strasburg held the Braves there through five as the Nationals rallied to tie it with three in the fourth before taking the lead in the fifth, and worked around back-to-back, one-out hits in a 22-pitch top of the sixth to finish his outing at 101 pitches overall with 4-3 lead...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 62 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
Javy Guerra, Tony Sipp, Trevor Rosenthal, and Wander Suero followed Strasburg on the mound, holding the Braves off the board in the one-run win.
Strasburg kept the Nationals in the game in a less-than-stellar outing and the relievers that were available locked down the win.
“One of the things they always talk about is, especially when you’re around the game a long time, is how good is your bad game?” Strasburg asked rhetorically, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after the win.
“Really just trying to keep it close, and they came through and got me off the hook.”
“Stras kept us in the game, and then as you guys are all aware, we had a couple of the guys in the bullpen and the rest of the guys stepped up,” Martinez said.