WASHINGTON - In a perfect world for Washington fans, Stephen Strasburg would take the mound after the All-Star break and face the host Diamondbacks on Friday in Arizona.
The right-hander would throw to catcher Keibert Ruiz, who has shown a lot of upside since he came to the Nationals in a trade with the Dodgers nearly a year ago.
Strasburg, of course, is on the Injured List again and who knows when he may pitch again.
So for now, the best combination for Strasburg and Ruiz is to recognize they share a birthday today.
A right-hander, Strasburg, 34, was born July 20, 1988 in San Diego and was the first overall pick of Washington out San Diego State in 2009.
He is 0-1 with an ERA of 13.50 in one start this year for the Nationals and 113-62, 3.24 in 247 career starts.
Ruiz, 24, was born a decade later, on July 20, 1998 in Venezuela. He is batting .247 this season with three homers and 20 RBI in 267 at-bats.
In his young major league career, he is hitting .253 with seven homers and 36 RBI in 363 at-bats after making his debut with the Dodgers.
Another catcher who saw time with the Nationals has a birthday today - Pedro Severino.
He was born July 20, 1993 in the Dominican Republic and played for Washington from 2015-18.
The right-handed hitter was with Baltimore from 2019-21 and this year he has played in five games with the Brewers.
This is also the anniversary of a notable Washington game.
On July 20, 2012, the Nationals sent Strasburg to the mound on his birthday against the Braves - and it was not a good game for the California native.
“The Braves, trailing 9-0 against the Nationals and ace Strasburg after 5 innings, mount a tremendous comeback to take a 10-9 lead with 2 runs in the top of the 9th. Washington manages to tie the game when Danny Espinosa homers against closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the inning. Atlanta completes its improbable comeback with a run in the 11th for an 11-10 win. In the game, Chipper Jones becomes the all-time leader for RBIs by a player who was primarily a third baseman with a two-run single in the 8th inning; he was tied with George Brett at 1,598; Mike Schmidt continues to hold the record for RBI collected when actually playing at the hot corner,” according to baseballreference.com.
Steve Lombardozzi, who started in left field and led off, Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse each had three hits for the Nationals in the loss.
Dan Uggla, who would later play for the Nationals, and Freddie Freeman each had three hits for Atlanta.
Strasburg gave up four runs in 5.1 innings and Tyler Clippard, who is now back with Washington, had a blown save as he allowed two runs in one inning.
The Nationals, however, rebounded and went on to win a National League title for the first time later that year.
These days, Washington is 31-63 and has the worst record in the majors. So one of the few things to celebrate today is the birthday of Strasburg and Ruiz.
When they may form a battery in a game for the Nationals is another story.