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Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles’ finale suspended due to stubborn tarp...

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This is so, so 2020. Really. 2021 can’t come soon enough...

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg cruised through four scoreless innings (on 43 pitches) in this afternoon’s series finale with the Baltimore Orioles, but the O’s rallied for five runs in the fifth, then it all ended abruptly in the sixth...

[ed. note - “We’ve neglected to mention in the opening paragraph above that the game only went 5 13 innings because with the O’s at bat in the sixth, rain started falling and the tarp in Nationals Park decided to fight the grounds crew. The usually trusty, always hard-working & efficient crew could not get it unrolled over the infield, which was thoroughly soaked, and it took a little over two hours before they made the decision to call this one with the field, as it was, unplayable. So it’s suspended, apparently, to be continued on Friday in Baltimore. And, thanks, 2020, 2021 can’t come soon enough.”]

Strasburg vs the O’s: Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his planned 2020 debut in Game 2 of 60 with a nerve impingement in his right wrist, but the Nationals’ 2019 World Series MVP received a cortisone shot, rested up, and after some bullpens and one sim game, the 32-year-old righty was cleared to return to the mound, though how deep he’d manage to go was unclear.

“We’re going to watch him,” Davey Martinez said on Saturday afternoon. “If he gives us 75-80 pitches I think that would be awesome. But we’ll keep an eye on him.”

Strasburg needed just 18 pitches total in two scoreless to start, working around two infield singles, and he took the mound in the third and retired the side in order in a 13-pitch frame, then needed just 12 to get through a 1-2-3 fourth which left him at 43 total in four scoreless.

Back-to-back, one-out singles and a walk in the fifth created the first jam for the Nationals’ starter, and the third line drive to right of the inning (this one by Bryan Holaday) brought in the Orioles’ first run, 1-0. Hanser Alberto stepped in next and connected for the fourth hit, sending a sharp grounder over (and off) the third base bag for a two-run double and a 3-0 lead.

Anthony Santander followed with a two-run single to left on Strasburg’s 26th pitch of the inning and 69th of the game, 5-0.

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 69 P, 45 S, 3/4 GO/FO.

Wojciechoswki vs the Nationals: Asher Wojciechowski, 31, took the L in each of his first two 2020 outings, giving up eight hits and seven runs, six of them earned, in back-to-back, five-inning starts.

His second outing was just this past Wednesday, when he threw in a doubleheader at home in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

“We feel comfortable with [Wojciechowski] going out there and making the start tomorrow,” manager Brandon Hyde said, as quoted by Baltimore Sun writer Jon Meoli, since he threw a total of just 67 pitches earlier this week.

Wojciechowski retired the Nationals in order in an 11-pitch first, but Juan Soto doubled to left on a 2-1 slider to lead off the second, and took third on a single by Asdrúbal Cabrera.

Two out later, with both runners still on the corners, Yan Gomes took a base-loading walk, giving Michael A. Taylor an RBI opportunity he failed to cash in, flying out to deep center.

A one-out walk and HBP in the third put runners (Cabrera and Eric Thames) on, before a K from Carter Kieboom got Wojciechowski two outs in what ended up being the starter’s last at bat of the game...

Asher Wojciechowski’s Line: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 65 P, 39 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Soto Section: We’re just going to write about Juan Soto every day in this little “Hey look at something about the offense” section we include in our gamers, because, who is going to complain about more Soto? Oh, you are? Cool, you had to be that person?

After Soto went 2 for 3 with his first HR of the season in last night’s loss, leaving him 4 for 11 with a double and a home run, one walk, and three Ks early this season, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez talked about the signs of progress he’s seen from his 21-year-old outfielder after a delayed start to the campaign following two separate COVID-related quarantine periods.

Soto getting his first HR of the 2020 season out of the way was another step, Martinez said.

“It was good. Good for him. He’s on the board. The impressive thing is that he hit it the other way to left field,” the manager told reporters.

“He’s got tons of power, but when he starts doing that, it only tells me he’s starting to get it.

“Another thing is, he took a walk today, which was kind of nice to see. When he’s really good he starts taking his walks.”

Soto doubled to left field the first time up this afternoon, lining a 2-1 slider the other way, but popped and grounded out the next two times up.

BULLPEN ACTION: Travis Lakins came on for the O’s with two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth and Yan Gomes at the plate, and got a fly to center from the Nats’ catcher to end the threat.

Javy Guerra got the final two outs after the fifth after Strasburg surrendered five runs that put the home team in a 5-0 hole.

Shawn Armstrong got two outs to start the bottom of the fifth, but Adam Eaton extended the inning with a line drive double to left and Starlin Castro followed with a two-run home run to left field on a 1-1 slider, connecting for his first blast of the season, 5-2 O’s.

Sam Freeman walked the first batter he faced in the sixth, and issued a one-out walk as well, but rain started falling at that point, and they went into a delay, which was made worse by a tarp malfunction which allowed the entire field to get soaked as the grounds crew valiantly tried to get things straightened out...

Final Score: Pending...