Stephen Strasburg had a seven-start win streak ended in Arizona, when he gave up nine hits and nine runs in 4 2⁄3 innings pitched in what ended up an 18-7 loss to the Diamondbacks.
Strasburg had a 2.22 ERA, 10 walks, 53 Ks, and a .205/.267/.295 over the previous seven, but the D-backs knocked him around and knocked him out early, after he’d thrown 98 pitches to the 25 batters he faced.
“He just didn’t locate his fastball and they swung the bats, hit the ball well. Just one of those days for Stephen,” his manager said.
Davey Martinez was asked if he was concerned that there might be an injury behind the struggles he saw from his starter?
“No,” he said. “He was just — like I said, we watched him and his location was not — he wasn’t sharp.”
Tonight in Citi Field, Strasburg was facing the Nationals’ NL East rivals for the fourth time this season, after going (1-0) with a 2.75 ERA, five walks, 22 Ks, and a .211/.266/.268 line against in 19 2⁄3 IP.
Strasburg retired the first nine batters he faced, and was staked to a 3-0 lead when he took the mound in the fourth, but he issued a leadoff walk and gave up a two-out, two-run home run to left by Pete Alonso and a game-tying solo blast by J.D. Davis, in back-to-back at bats, 3-3.
Alonso went down, out of the zone, for a 1-0 changeup and powered it out to left for his 38th of 2019. Davis got a 3-1 fastball up in the zone inside, and sent it out to right and it landed in the upper deck.
After picking up two Ks in a 1-2-3 fifth, and striking out with the bases loaded for the final out of the top of the sixth, Strasburg returned to the mound in the home half of the sixth inning, and gave up back-to-back singles by Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto, putting runners on the corners with no one out, but three outs later, both runners were stranded, with Strasburg working his way out of the jam to keep it tied.
Anthony Rendon hit a two-run blast in the top of the seventh, 5-3, and Strasburg returned to the mound in the bottom of the inning and retired the side in order in a nine-pitch frame.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 2 HRs, 97 P, 62 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
Stephen Strasburg, Disappearing 88mph Changeup. pic.twitter.com/QGdSQZgExZ— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 10, 2019
“He was awesome,” Martinez said after what ended up a 7-6 loss when closer Sean Doolittle blew a save opportunity in the ninth.
“He kept us in the ballgame. He had one bad inning, but after that he was really, really good.”
Along the way, Strasburg, who had six Ks total in the series opener, set the franchise record for career strikeouts (Montreal/Washington), passing the Montreal Expos’ Steve Rogers (1,621) by picking up his 1,622nd career K. Of course, the all-time strikeout leader in D.C. baseball history is The Big Train, Walter Johnson, and no one is catching his 3,509 career strikeouts in 21 seasons with the Senators.
But still, it was a big accomplishment for Strasburg.
“That’s a testament to how hard he works,” Strasburg’s manager added. “He’s one of the staples to this organization, he’s been here for a very long time, and I congratulated him when he did it, and he said, ‘Hey, I’ve got still a lot of game left,’ so I said, ‘I get it, let’s go.”