One pitch was the difference in this game in a 3-1 Nats loss. Stephen Strasburg gave up a 2-run home run in the first inning to Solarte and that was really the only bad pitch on the outing by Stras. He went 6.0 innings striking out 8 batters while giving up only 4 hits and 1 walk and departed behind 2-to-1. Stras flashed 99 mph on the radar gun tonight and averaged 97.3 mph on his four-seamer. Stras threw almost an equal amount of fastballs to a combo of changeups/curveballs.
The game started off looking promising for the Nationals as they worked Travis Wood for 36 pitches in the 1st inning, but then Michael Taylor led-off the top of the 2nd inning seeing just one pitch for a quick out followed by De Aza and a quick at-bat by Jose Lobaton that seemed to right Travis Wood’s pitch count as he got through the second inning on only 9 pitches.
In fact, Michael Taylor was first-pitch swinging in all 4 of his at-bats tonight, and he saw a total of 3 pitches in his first 3 at-bats and struck out in his final at-bat.
The Nationals offense was mostly non-existent tonight, but part of the problem was a well positioned defense by the Padres . Alejandro De Aza hit three balls deep to the outfield and all three were caught. Only one ball in the game made it over an outfielder’s head and it was close to a 3-run home run that hit off the outfield wall for an RBI double by Adrian Sanchez.
The Nationals only scratched out 3-hits in the game and the middle of the order only managed 1-hit by Howie Kendrick.
The defense again was stellar tonight and Strasburg was helped by a Web Gem by Andrew Stevenson in rightfield to start things off in the bottom of the first inning. Strasburg later helped himself by picking-off a runner. In Strasburg’s first 5 innings he only allowed 3 baserunners.
If there was good news, it was the outing by Stephen Strasburg as he was electric in his first game back from the DL. The bad news is that the Nationals have now lost 23-of-33 games started by Jose Lobaton. That is a .303 winning percentage. Even though the Nationals lost this game, they were able to rest 3 starting players for most of the game. Matt Wieters, Wilmer Difo, and Daniel Murphy all got to start the game watching from the bench. With the Monday day-off, it would be nice to see Anthony Rendon get the game off tomorrow as well as Howie Kendrick.