Right-hander Stephen Strasburg didn’t have the quick start that he had hoped, but battled through four innings to keep the Nationals in the game in what turned out to be a 7-3 dispatch of the Marlins.
Strasburg allowed a pair of hits to begin the contest to find himself down 1-0 in the top of the first. JT Riddle singled and Miguel Rojas brought him home with a double. The top of the first took 23 minutes in a rainy Nats Park.
Strasburg walked two batters in the second and lofted a wild pitch but struck out J.T. Realmuto looking in the second.
A 1-2-3 third was followed by another two-walk fourth. But Strasburg was able to get Rojas on a weak popup to second base with runners on the corners to end the frame.
In the end, he had to throw 100 pitches to get through four innings. When he left the Nats were up 2-1. His team then dropped four runs on Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara to make it 6-1 after four.
The rain fell throughout his start as the grounds crew continually worked on the mound around Strasburg’s feet to try to keep it dry between innings.
“It wasn’t ideal,” Strasburg said of the weather. “I think you can tell from the stands. Everybody had to deal with it. I did my best to do that. I just really (wasn’t) efficient tonight. There was a couple long at-bats that kind of killed my pitch count.”
Nationals manager Davey Martinez said the poor weather was a bit of a factor, but he appreciated the battle Strasburg put up in allowing the Marlins just one run on three hits. Even with this start, Martinez kept his pregame promise that Strasburg will get one more start next weekend in Denver.
“He endured the elements, and he gave us all he had,” Martinez said. “He had close to 100 pitches in four innings, so that was good enough.
“The weather was bad. Hopefully, he’s got one more start, he goes out there and he gives us a good six, seven innings - what he’s been doing the last few starts.”
Strasburg knew his pitch count was up there, especially after the first inning when the Marlins sent six men to the plate and scored a run. But upon review after the game, felt a little bit better about the overall start.
“I think when you get into a rhythm during the game, everything starts to sync up. It was just a challenge to get into a rhythm tonight, but look at the video,” Strasburg said. “But I didn’t really execute as bad as I thought I did. It was just some long at-bats and some inconsistency there with other hitters. Just giving up too many free bases. You’re going to have those games. Guys came out swinging tonight, so, yeah, it was a good win.”
And with the team back above .500 at 79-78 - but out of their ultimate goal, the playoffs - Strasburg now reflects on his final start scheduled against Rockies at Coors Field. It will be start No. 22 on the season, which would be his lowest total since 23 in 2015.
“I think everybody is disappointed, myself included,” Strasburg said. “You are going to have seasons like this. You can either beat yourself up and get down on yourself or you can learn from it. I’m looking at every angle to get better for next year.