Stephen Strasburg tossed eight scoreless against the Miami Marlins back on April 21st, in a 104-pitch, 11-K start in Marlins Park, giving up just two hits and two walks in a 5-0 win. What was working for the right-hander in that outing?
“Everything,” Davey Martinez told reporters.
“He kept the ball down for the most part of the day, but his changeup was really good, he was throwing his curveball for strikes, and his fastball — he was locating his fastball really well.”
Going up against Washington’s NL East rivals for a second time this season, the Nationals’ 30-year-old, ‘09 No. 1 overall pick was (8-4) in 16 starts, with a 3.79 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 27 walks, (2.38 BB/9), 120 Ks (10.59 K/9), and a .221/.278/.368 line against in 102 IP overall.
Strasburg gave up four runs through five innings last night, with Miguel Rojas driving in two runs with a double in the third, 2-0, Harold Ramirez driving in a run with a groundout later in that inning, 3-0, and Garrett Cooper connecting for an RBI single on the third of three two-out hits in the fifth as the Marlins added to their lead, 4-1 at that point.
The Nationals rallied for five runs in the top of the sixth, however, so Strasburg returned to the mound with a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the inning.
Strasburg came back out with a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 frame which left him at 93 pitches, and he worked around a two-out double by Rojas (4 for 4, 3 doubles) in an 18-pitch inning which left him at 111 pitches total on the night in what ended up an 8-5 win.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 11 P, 75 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
When the Marlins rallied in the third, Bryan Holaday hit an 0-2 curve for a leadoff single, and after a HBP, Rojas hit a 2-2 curve to right for a two-run double.
Rojas singled on a 2-1 curve in the fifth for the first of the three two-out hits, Harold Ramirez hit a 2-2 curve, and Garrett Cooper jumped on a first-pitch fastball.
Strasburg retired six straight after Cooper’s single and seven of the last eight batters he faced as the Nationals rallied to take the lead and the series finale for a sweep in Miami.
“These guys are always staying in the fight, and that’s what they do,” Martinez said after the win got the Nationals back to .500 (40-40).
“We came back after a 3-0 deficit today and Stras kept us in the game and did well and gave us seven strong innings.”
Strasburg talked about the chemistry on the team after his teammates picked him up and he responded with a strong finish.
“I’ve been saying it all along: I think we’ve got great chemistry in the clubhouse, and we’re all in here playing for each other,” he told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“We’re giving everything we have. The results are just results. I think the things we can control are going out there and playing the game the right way and trying to do the little things. And we’ve improved on that. The ultimate goal is to be better at the end of the year than you are the start of the year.”
Strasburg was better at the end of his outing than he was at the beginning. What changes did he make after the Fish were keying in on his curve?
“I think him and [catcher Kurt Suzuki] talked about utilizing the changeup more and more fastballs, especially when he was ahead in the count,” Martinez said. “I think when he got ahead early they were kind of sitting on the breaking balls, and he was able to throw more fastballs later in the count.”
Strasburg did manage to get 13 called strikes with his curve on the night, six with his four-seamer and 20 called strikes overall, along with 11 swinging strikes from the 29 batters he faced.
He finished the night with a 3.88 ERA, a 3.34 FIP, 27 walks (2.23 BB/9), and 124 Ks (10.24 K/9) in 109 IP, earning his 9th win (9-4) in his 17th start.