The Nationals got the all-around performance they wanted from Stephen Strasburg on Tuesday. He almost was able to close out the game, leaving after 7 2/3 innings after he allowed just one run on five hits with eight strikeouts.
It was a more consistent outing for Strasburg after three previous starts in which he had allowed 14 earned runs.
“I just tried to execute pitches better,” Strasburg said. “I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. I think I just wanted to go out there and trust my stuff and have a little bit finer focus and where I wanted to execute the pitch. I feel like I was able to keep the ball down better.”
Strasburg has worked during his side session on his most important pitch, his fastball, which he had trouble locating in his last start at Milwaukee.
“I settled down a little bit more and was able to command the fastball a little bit better,” Strasburg said. “When they were fouling them off I wouldn’t say they were necessarily great pitches. Once I was able to execute the pitch a little bit better I was able to have them put it in play (make) weak contact and hit ground balls.”
Strasburg’s bat also came through in the fourth when he laced a double that got past Rockies right fielder Brandon Barnes and rolled all the way to the wall.
As he rounded second, he put on the brakes, and got back quickly to the bag. Did he consider stretching the hit to a triple?
“That was probably the second time I had been on base all year so (it was) a little foreign to me,” Strasburg said. “I probably could’ve, but at the same time. I guess I just needed that double in my book.”
Right fielder Jayson Werth had his share of doubles Tuesday, two of them, to go along with three RBIs in guiding the Nationals’ offense that scored three runs in the first and four runs in the fourth inning. Werth was pleased to see the offense click for the third straight game.
“It looks good. Balanced I’d say more probably than anything,” Werth said. “I think we’ve been playing good for the better part of the last few weeks and just the way we’re going about it. Pitching has been great, defense has been good and offense is coming around. I like the way we’re setting up going into July.”
Strasburg said it gives the starters a lot of confidence seeing the offense at full strength for only the second time this season.
“You know we just (got) everybody healthy,” Strasburg said. “Think there is not an easy out one through eight. Its good to see everybody clicking and I think we will be able to keep it going and have more games like this. Hopefully stay out of those droughts. It’s our job as pitchers to just go out there and keep it close and let our guys go out there and win the game.”
Werth agreed saying the offense has been able to roll up big leads with aggressiveness at the plate, and on the bases has made it difficult for Colorado to get back into these games.
“It probably puts more pressure on them,” Werth said. “That’s what the game’s all about. Putting pressure on the other team and take advantage of opportunities and that’s what we’ve done the last couple of nights and what we’ve been doing. We just need to keep rolling. We’ve got a long way to go. I like our team and I like where we’re at.”