Stephen Strasburg didn’t look right from the get-go, and he was out after just 1 1⁄3 innings of work after manager Davey Martinez and team trainer Paul Lessard’s second visit to check on him in two innings. It was up to the bullpen after that, but luckily the bats woke up and put up eleven runs to make it easier on the Nationals’ relief corps in an 11-6 win which snapped Washington’s five-game losing streak.
Strasburg vs ATL: Stephen Strasburg tossed 5 1⁄3 scoreless in his return to the rotation after over a month on the IL dealing with right shoulder inflammation, then gave up five hits and three runs in 5 IP in start No. 2 back on the mound.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Strasburg said of the 87-pitch outing last week.
“Pitch count got up there a little bit which is good. I felt like I had definitely more in the tank.”
Two outings into his return, Strasburg said he felt was starting to get back into a groove.
“I mean I think my arm felt good for the most part,” he said, and I think it’s been kind of a strange even last couple years, a lot has changed and it’s all about just kind of putting it down one day at a time and moving on to the next one.”
The next one for Strasburg started with some drama as the pitcher got a visit on the mound from manager Davey Martinez and team trainer Paul Lessard, after he issued a leadoff walk, but he remained in the game after a brief conversation and gave up a one-out RBI double to left by Ozzie Albies after the runner he put on, Ronald Acuña, Jr., stole second then moved to third on a Freddie Freeman groundout, 1-1.
Strasburg issued another leadoff walk in the second, then knocked down a grounder back to the mound and threw to first for out No. 1, but after another mound visit from Martinez and Lessard, he was lifted...
Strasburg never looked comfortable on the mound and Martinez clearly didn’t like what he saw either. Will be interesting to see what the Nationals say after the game...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 30 P, 14 S.
Fried vs D.C.: In four May starts before tonight’s, Max Fried, 27, had put up a 1.50 ERA, nine walks, 20 Ks, and a .183/.264/.268 line against in 24 IP. Fried gave up just one earned run in each of the outings, after he gave up 15 runs (14 ER) in 11 IP in three starts in April. Going up against the Nationals for the second time this season, after giving up eight hits and five runs in two innings the first time, Fried got in trouble early.
Trea Turner reached on an infield single when Austin Riley came up empty on a charging attempt at the one-hopper toward third, Josh Harrison lined a shift-beating single out to right, sending Turner to third base, and with Juan Soto at the plate (and down 0-2), Fried skipped a slider by his catcher, William Contreras, allowing Turner to score from third, 1-0.
It was a 1-1 game when Fried came back out for the second and issued a leadoff walk to Kyle Schwarber, who took second on a wild pitch, and third on another wild one on ball four of a two-out walk the Braves’ starter issued to Victor Robles. Trea Turner got a two-out RBI opportunity, but after the third wild pitch moved Robles up, he K’d swinging to end a long 30-pitch frame by Fried.
Juan Soto singled with one out in the top of the third, reached second on an ill-advised play by Fried on a Ryan Zimmerman grounder to the mound on which the Braves’ pitcher threw to second trying get the lead runner and sent it into center, and Soto scored on a two-out RBI hit to right by Kyle Schwarber, 2-1 Nationals.
Austin Voth singled off Fried to lead off the top of the fourth, and Fried hit Josh Harrison in the leg with two down, then threw another one by his catcher before giving up a two-out, two-run liner to left by Juan Soto, 4-1. Soto 2 for 3 with two line drive hits. And that was it for Fried...
Max Fried’s Line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 92 P, 64 S, 4/0 GO/FO.
#TKCHZ: In 17 games and 78 plate appearances as a starter this year heading into tonight’s game, Ryan Zimmerman had a .329/.365/.557 line with four doubles and four homers, and the 36-year-old veteran in his 16th MLB campaign had a .378/.378/.568 vs lefties in ‘21, so, of course, he went 0 for 2 against left-handed starter Max Fried, before homering off of right-handed reliever Edgar Santana in the fourth, with an opposite field, two-run shot. #TKCHZ.
Zimmerman ended the night 2 for 5 with a double and a home run. Davey Martinez said it’s likely he’ll play against another left-handed starter tomorrow.
Bullpen Action: Austin Voth took over for Stephen Strasburg with a runner on second and one out in the second. Guillermo Heredia grounded back to the mound in the first at bat for Voth, but a throw to second failed to get the lead runner, Abraham Almonte, and a sac bunt by the opposing pitcher put two runners in scoring position before Voth blew a two-strike fastball by Ronald Acuña, Jr. for out No. 3.
Edgar Santana took over for the Braves with a runner on and two outs in the Nationals’ half of the fourth, and gave up a two-out, two-run opposite field home run on the first pitch he threw to Ryan Zimmerman, whose 6th of the season made it a 6-1 lead for the visitors.
Voth came back out in the bottom of the fifth and gave up a one-out walk in front of Ronald Acuña, Jr. who made him pay for putting the runner on with a 2-run shot to center (432ft) to make it a 6-3 game in the Nationals’ favor. That was it for Voth.
Sam Clay took over and retired Freddie Freeman for out No. 2 before giving up back-to-back singles that put runners on the corners with two down, so Davey Martinez called on Wander Suero to get the Nationals out of the fifth with the lead intact.
Suero went to a full count with Dansby Swanson, and gave up an RBI single to left, 6-4, but he stopped the rally there and got out of the inning with the Nationals up by two.
Josh Tomlin worked around a one-out single by Trea Turner (picking Turner off first) in a scoreless top of the sixth.
Suero returned to the mound in the bottom of the sixth and retired the side in order, striking out two in a 13-pitch frame.
Tyler Matzek, the Braves’ lefty, walked Juan Soto in the first at bat of the seventh, and a one-out single to right by Starlin Castro sent Soto over to third. Kyle Schwarber stepped in with runners on the corners and lined an opposite field single to left to drive Soto in, 7-4. A two-run double to left-center by Yan Gomes made it a 9-4 advantage for the Nationals.
Ronald Acuña, Jr. doubled off Daniel Hudson in the bottom of the seventh and scored on a two-out infield single by Austin Riley, 9-5. Starlin Castro dropped a two-out pop to extend the inning, but Hudson caught Abraham Almonte looking with a 98 MPH 2-2 fastball to end the threat.
Juan Soto hit a two-run blast off lefty Grant Dayton in the top of the eighth, connecting for his 3rd hit of the game and 5th HR of the season, 11-5.
Paolo Espino got the ball in the eighth, and retired the Braves in order in a nice, clean frame.
Sean Newcomb retired the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth.
Brad Hand came on to get some work in the bottom of the ninth inning and gave up a single by Ronald Acuña, Jr. and a walk to Freddie Freeman in the first two at bats.
Acuña, Jr. took third on a groundout and scored on a sac fly to make it 11-6, but that was as close as the Braves got. Ballgame.
Final Score: 11-6 Nationals
Nationals now 22-29