Welcome to Jackie Robinson day. On this day, all players will wear jersey #42 to honor Jackie Robinson and his legacy. Today is the scheduled finale of this series with the Colorado Rockies. Weather reports have temperatures falling into the 50°s with precipitation rolling into the region. Stephen StrasburgÂ takes the mound if Mother Nature cooperates. Per Capital Weather Gang, it will be lighter rain until tonight when the heavier rains come into the Washington, D.C. area.
This season, Stephen Strasburg has changed up his arsenal. Just look at his repertoire in his last start that shows 5 different looks including a sinker in similar proportions to his changeup and curveball. Strasburg has decreased the number of sliders but showed that pitch to Freddie Freeman who Strasburg struck out on 4 pitches in his second at-bat showing him four-seamer, slider, four-seamer, and a swinging strike 3 on the changeup in the 4th inning. In his next at-bat, Stras struck out FFF again on 4 pitches throwing him the four-seamer, four-seamer, curveball in the dirt then Stras doubled up on the curveball again and got Freeman looking for strike 3.
You have to like what Strasburg has put together in his arsenal as it seems well thought-out, and there is a reason behind each pitch. The four-seamer has always been Strasburg’s pitch. But now he can tantalize the baseball palate of the opposing batters with what looks like a prime cut meatball and instead it is a sinker that they swing over and tap into play. Strasburg was able to go an efficient 8.0 innings last week by getting the Braves batters to swing early in counts putting the ball in play and saving his strikeouts for batters like Freeman who he struck out for 2 of his total 8 K’s in the game.
By percentage, Braves batters put 36% of the Strasburg sinkers into play with only 1 hit off of that pitch. Strasburg is not throwing sinkers with runners in scoring position so he is picking his spots because groundballs are so dependent on BABIP.
Five days ago in the 7th inning with 2 outs, Nationals manager Dave Martinez approached Strasburg on the mound and after a short discussion Martinez allowed Strasburg to finish the inning. He retired Ender Inciarte on one pitch finishing an 8-inning shutout on just 103 pitches.
“I think I just try to take it one pitch at a time,” Strasburg said. “You want to make quality pitches. There’s going to be some games where you’re not as efficient — but when all is said and done, it’s still about executing, and if it’s 100 pitches through five [innings], or 100 pitches through seven or eight, you’re just going to go until they take the ball out of your hand.”
Strasburg is scheduled to square off against the Colorado Rockies left-handed Tyler Anderson.
— TALK NATS ⚾ (@TalkNats2) April 15, 2018
Other game notes, Brian Goodwin will not start for the 4th game in a row, and Anthony Rendon sits out for the second game in a row. Matt Wieters is in again today which could answer the question that there is no catching platoon. You would expect the natural righty, Pedro Severino, to face the lefty starter instead of Wieters who is a switch-hitter.
After this game the Nationals head on the road, tomorrow’s starter in New York for the Nationals is announced as “TBA” (to be announced). That tends to suggest that tomorrow’s starter could be Jeremy Hellickson with A.J. Cole moving to the bullpen.
Colorado Rockies vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: