Every win that Stephen Strasburg tallies is another for the Washington Nationals as well as a new high in his illustrious career. He is tied for the lead in the NL with 16 wins with Max Fried, and with a win tonight, Stras would be the leader in wins at 17 plus he would lead the NL in innings pitched ahead of Madison Bumgarner, Aaron Nola, Jacob deGrom, and his teammate Patrick Corbin. While innings pitched is not an awards category, it does show a lot about the pitcher as an iron man, and once Strasburg throws his 56th pitch tonight, he will take the NL lead in pitches thrown too. Stras is coming off of a season high 115-pitches thrown six days ago in his start on Thursday against the Braves.
On this 9/11 game, players, coaches and umpires will wear 9/11 ribbon patches on the side of their caps. In addition, special “We Shall Not Forget” lineup cards and base jewels will be used in this game, and the Minnesota Twins will hold a moment of silence and special pregame ceremonies.
“All of our clubs have a commitment to honoring those whose lives we lost and to ensuring that we don’t forget,” said Melanie LeGrande, MLB’s vice president of social responsibility. “We’re preserving the legacy for those who perished on that day.”
In addition to those who lost their lives, we should also honor first responders, fire, emergency, and police personnel and their families. While many believe the New York teams, the Pennsylvania teams, and the Washington Nationals should all play at home on 9/11 since the attacks had loss of lives in those regions, the Nationals find themselves on the road in a game that has all Washington, D.C. roots that can be traced back to the Griffith family.
This Washington Nationals team faces the team that would have been the 1961 Washington Senators if Griffith had not relocated to Minnesota with players like Harmon Killebrew, Camilo Pascual, and Jim Kaat who lost 17 games that rookie season. Kaat’s career would span over four decades from his debut with the Washington Senators in 1959 to his final year in 1983 at the age of 44. Baseball was different back then. They did not keep pitch count records back then, but suffice it to say that at the age of 36, Kaat threw a lot of pitches in his 303 2/3 innings over 40 starts and a 20-14 record that year. It is a stark contrast to pitchers today who are conditioned to throw max effort on every pitch and the 200 inning line today is quite the accomplishment. Strasburg is just 15 innings from reaching 200 innings which he has done once in his career back in 2014.
Baseball in some ways has changed a lot but in other ways it has not changed. Purists would be concerned about juiced baseballs and 26-man rosters, but what about all of the strikeouts! The Twins backup catcher homered off of Anibal Sanchez in his third consecutive game. We wrote a warning about Mitch Garver in our gamer article, and sure enough, he connected for a moonshot home run.
The Twins send Martin Perez to the mound tonight. This lefty has been very inconsistent this season, but he has also had some good starts in the last month. He has a 4.75 ERA but has also struggled against right-handed batters. Fortunately the Nats have a few batters like Brian Dozier who has hit him well in the past. Dozier has 2 home runs off of him in just 9 at-bats.
Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins
Stadium: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1st Pitch: 7:40 pm EDT
TV: MASN2, FOX Sports North, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):