When we saw Stephen Strasburg last, he was pitching in Los Angeles and gave up a single up the middle while his shortstop Trea Turner was shaded towards the hole. After the inning, Strasburg and manager Dave Martinez had a discussion on the flawed shift. It seems imperative to have the best defense behind Strasburg who is pitching more to contact this season.
In fact, Strasburg’s strikeout rate is at it’s lowest level since 2013 — but still good this season at a 9.7 K/9. The new pitch-to-contact strategy seems to be working as Strasburg has his WHIP at .990 which is his best since 2011. Strasburg is pitching on an extra day’s rest after a very strenuous 107-pitch outing in L.A. where he hit 100mph on the radar gun and had his highest average velo on his fastball since June 2nd of 2012. Strasburg’s last outing was a tough-luck loss in that game even though he only gave up 2-runs over 7.0 innings.
While you usually win most games your starter goes 7 innings of 2-run baseball, it also takes the offense coming through which they did not in that game. You can see Strasburg’s post-game video along with other stats here.
For tonight’s game, the Arizona Diamondbacks enter with the best record in the N.L., and yes, they have a better record than the Mets who have dropped 7 of their last 11 games. Arizona enters with a record of 17-and-7. Arizona is pitching right-handed Zack Godley who has faced many of the Nats before.
We are also on Adam Eaton watch to see if he mysteriously is activated tonight. The Nationals are coming off of that 15-run barrage in San Francisco where the line-up only had 3 regular players but it put together the best defensive alignment in the outfield and in the middle infield behind Max Scherzer. Just so there are no repeats of animated discussions about defensive shifts we hope that Dave Martinez goes with a similar line-up as on Wednesday. If you look at match-ups, Wilmer Difo and Ryan Zimmerman are hitless against Godley in small sample sizes. Michael Taylor is 2-3, Wieters, 2-4, Harper 3-8, Kendrick 2-6, and Trea Turner and Matt Adams are both 1-3 with a home run each.
Sidenote discussion, Trea Turner in the lead-off is batting .288 with a .373 OBP compared to the 6-hole where he batted only .211 there. As far as stolen bases, Trea has doubled his output in the lead-off, but it is not apples-to-apples to compare because of times on-base.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market; MLB Network (out-of-market)
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: