Last time out on the mound against Miami, Stephen Strasburg held the Marlins scoreless in eight innings, giving up just two hits, and striking out 14 of 25 batters faced, retiring 22 in a row to end his outing in a 7-0 win for Washington in Nationals Park.
“He was really good,” manager Davey Martinez said after the game. “Him and [Kurt] Suzuki both executed their plan really well tonight and he just pounded the strike zone. Got ahead of hitters and worked all his pitches and like I said they executed their plan really, really well.”
With that win, Strasburg improved to (12-0) in his last 13 starts against the Nationals’ NL East rivals, against whom he was unbeaten going back to September of 2015, with a (4-0) record in 2019, a 1.19 ERA, four walks, 43 strikeouts, and a .127/.176/.157 line against in 30 1⁄3 IP this season, as he took the mound against the Marlins again in Miami with a streak of 19 1⁄3 scoreless innings of work on the mound going against the Fish.
Strasburg helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single in the second, and he tossed four scoreless on 58 pitches to make that lead hold up. A 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth pushed him up to a total of 68 pitches, and 14-pitch sixth left him at 82 with seven straight Marlins set down.
That streak ended at eight in a row retired, with a one-out walk to Harold Ramirez in the bottom of the seventh, and the Nationals’ starter walked Curtis Granderson with two down, on his 105th pitch, before hitting Jorge Alfaro, loading the bases in front of Magneuris Sierra, who lined out to right field to end a 27-pitch inning that ended Strasburg’s outing.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 109 P, 68 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
Fernando Rodney took over on the mound in the eighth, with a 4-0 lead after the Nationals scored two in the top of the inning, but he blew the lead, giving up four, leaving Strasburg with no decision in what ended up a 10-4 win for Washington.
“It’s not about one guy. It’s about all of us,” Strasburg said of missing out on what would’ve been his 18th win of the season.
If he’d been able to get through the seventh more efficiently, he likely would have been out there in the eighth.
“He gave us everything he had,” Martinez said. “He had a lot of pitches by that point,” but it he had been more efficient in his final inning of work, “... he probably would have came out for the eighth,” the manager added.
“I lost my command there a little bit,” Strasburg acknowledged, “... but you just try to take it one pitch at a time, and go as long as you can.”
“We still haven’t solved the Strasburg riddle yet,” Marlins’ skipper Don Mattingly said, after Strasburg got up to 26 1⁄3 scoreless innings against the Fish. “He seems to continue to just kind of throw zeroes at us.”
“He’s been unbelievable all year long,” Martinez added. “Like I said, it’s a testament to how hard he worked during the winter and his routine all year long, but he’s been, really, really good.”