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What do the Arizona Diamondbacks have on Stephen Strasburg?

Stephen Strasburg vs Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019: 9.2 IP, 18 H, 15 R, 15 ER (13.97 ERA), 3 BB, 12 Ks, 7 HRs.

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With a solid seven-inning outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers last week in the nation’s capital, Stephen Strasburg extended a seven-start winning streak, over which he was (7-0), with a 2.22 ERA, 10 walks (2.01 BB/9), 53 Ks (10.68 K/9), and a .205/.267/.295 line against in 44 23 innings, giving up just one home run over that stretch.

Strasburg gave up just one run on two hits against the Dodgers, striking out nine of the 25 batters he faced in a 100-pitch effort in an 11-4 win.

“He’s been unbelievable, really,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after Strasburg improved to (14-4) with a 3.26 ERA, a 2.93 FIP, 34 walks (2.18 BB/9), 168 Ks (10.75 K/9), and a .216/.273/.343 line against in 22 starts and 140 23 IP on the season.

“Everything about him this year has been amazing. He takes the ball, the way he works, his attitude. He’s having fun.

“He’s having a good time and he’s going out there every fifth day and like I said he’s competing and giving us a chance to win.”

His last loss, however, was on June 15th in D.C. against the same Arizona Diamondbacks he was facing last night, when he he gave up nine hits (four of them home runs) and six runs total in five innings on the mound in a 10-3 loss.

“Today was just one of those days,” Martinez said after that outing. “Couldn’t locate his fastball. Just missing his spots.”

Strasburg gave up two runs early last night in Chase Field, taking the mound with a 2-0 lead and giving it right back with a one-out walk to Ketel Marte and two-run home run on an 0-1 fastball to Eduardo Escobar in the bottom of the first inning, 2-2.

After giving up one home run in his previous 44 23 IP, Strasburg gave up his second in two innings on a 1-0 fastball to Nick Ahmed in the home-half of the second inning, 3-2.

Strasburg allowed two more runs in the third, with David Peralta and Christian Walker both driving in runs with an RBI double and single, respectively, off the Nationals’ starter, 5-2, but he held the Diamondbacks off the board in the fourth (his first scoreless frame) after his teammates made it a one-run game, 5-4, but a leadoff triple by Ketel Marte (2 for 2, BB, 2 R), and an RBI single by Eduardo Escobar made it a 6-4 D-backs’ lead.

It was 8-4 after Strasburg walked Walker with two down and gave up an opposite field blast by Jake Lamb, whose 4th home run of the season was the 7th off the Nats’ right-hander this season by a D-backs’ hitter, two fewer than he’s given up in all of his other starts combined (9).

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 3 HRs, 98 P, 60 S, 4/2 GO/FO.

“He just didn’t locate his fastball and they swung the bats, hit the ball well,” Martinez said after what ended up an 18-7 loss.

“Just one of those days for Stephen, and we’ve got regroup and come back tomorrow.”

The hits came early in counts against the Nationals’ starter, so were the D-backs ambushing Strasburg?

“I think they were looking for the ball up in the zone and when they got it they hit it hard,” the Nats’ skipper added.

“And like I said, he threw — one pitch to Ahmed was right down the middle. So, he just wasn’t locating.”

“They were able to lay off some quality pitches,” Strasburg said after the game, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.

“I don’t know what they were seeing ... well, actually I do know what they’re seeing, so it’s a positive. I think games like this when you get knocked around, you always try and look at the positives and ways to improve. And I think I’ve figured that one out. From an execution standpoint, I felt like I was pretty locked in. They just hit it.”

So was he tipping his pitches? Did the D-backs know what was coming? Was he just a bit predictable?

“Obviously, they’ve tattooed me twice this year, so that seems to be obvious,” Strasburg said.

“Again, it’s my job to mix up pitches, execute pitches. And it’s their job to put the barrel on the ball. And they did that tonight. I can’t really be too frustrated by it, but I do know I have to go out there and be better next time. The little things sometimes can become big things if you don’t manage them well.”

“It’s funny how this game is,” Martinez added. “There’s some teams that pitchers own and some teams that come in and the team owns the pitcher, but with that being said you’ve got right now our No. 1 guy out there who’s pitched really well and they just hit the ball today.”

But there was nothing physically wrong with Strasburg?

“No,” Martinez said. “He was just — like I said, we watched him and his location was not — he wasn’t sharp.”