Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, as with any starter, pitches better with a lead. But it really seems to help Strasburg, who has had a tendency of giving up early runs, and then never being able to get into a groove.
In his last three starts, Strasburg has allowed 14 earned runs. So having his offense give him an early advantage allows him to not have to worry about the game situation and just throw strikes.
But on Tuesday, Strasburg was able to exhale early thanks to control issues on the mound by his opponent.
Rockies’ left-hander Christian Friedrich wasn’t able to throw strikes at the start of the game. After a pair of walks to begin the game in the first, Jayson Werth raked a double down the left field line to score two runs and to give the Nats a 2-0 lead.
Later in the inning, a Ryan Zimmerman sac fly to right field scored Werth and the Nationals upped their advantage to 3-0.
Update: With one out in the fourth, Strasburg hit the ball to right field that got past Brandon Barnes and rolled all the way to the wall. Strasburg lumbered all the way around second for a double. Denard Span singled to get him to third.
Facing Chad Bettis, Anthony Rendon lined a two-run double down the left field line to give the Nationals a 5-0 lead. Werth then delivered his second run-scoring double of the game as the Nationals’ lead ballooned to 6-0. Werth came home on a Bettis wild pitch to give the Nationals a 7-0 lead.
In all, the Nationals scored four runs in the inning on six hits. Strasburg has five strikeouts through four innings.
Update II: D.J. LeMahieu hit a solo homer for the Rockies in the eighth that broke up Strasburg’s shutout bid. It was over the left-center field fence for his third homer of the season. LeMahieu’s homer cut the Nationals’ lead to 7-1.
Strasburg had a very impressive outing. He finished 7 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, one solo homer and one walk and striking out eight batters. Strasburg threw 111 pitches, 78 for strikes.
Update III: Craig Stammen finished out the game, pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Strasburg gets the win to improve to 7-6 on the season. Friedrich falls to 0-3.
Final: Nationals 7, Rockies 1