Stephen Strasburg entered tonight’s game having not allowed a run to the Marlins in 18 innings this season.
He also entered tonight having not allowed a first-inning run in 16 straight starts, which was the longest active streak in the majors, according to Elias.
Both of those streaks quickly were rendered moot this evening, as the Marlins jumped on Strasburg for two runs in the first, taking an early 2-0 lead.
Justin Ruggiano jumped on the first pitch he saw from Strasburg, the righty’s sixth pitch of the game, and took it out to left-center for a solo home run.
A batter later, Carlos Lee doubled to left-center, and Giancarlo Stanton continued his sweet-swinging ways by knocking in Lee with an RBI single to right.
Strasburg has dominated the Marlins this season, going 2-0 over three scoreless starts against the Fish coming into tonight. He’d allowed just 13 hits in 18 innings with a 19-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in that time.
Through one inning tonight, however, Strasburg doesn’t look as sharp as he did either in those three starts or his last time to the mound last Tuesday against the Braves. His fastball location was a bit off in the first inning, and he threw just three offspeed pitches. Both his curveball and his changeup were dancing all over the place in his last outing.
To snap their four-game losing streak, the Nationals will need to overcome an early deficit, something they’ve had to deal with a bunch over the last few days.
Update: The problems continue.
Strasburg’s command is certainly off tonight, but that’s only one of the Nationals’ issues as they trail 5-0 in the fourth.
The Marlins are continuing the recent league-wide trend of running all over Nationals pitchers. They’re 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts already, and neither swiped bag needed much effort. Bryan Peterson was about three-quarters of the way to second by the time Strasburg’s pitch got to catcher Kurt Suzuki, and Carlos Lee - yes, Carlos Lee - later stole second standing up.
Danny Espinosa didn’t help his pitcher by botching what could have been an inning-ending double play in the third. The miscue allowed three runs to eventually come around to score, only two of which were unearned because you can’t assume the double play.
Oh, yeah, and the Nats don’t have a hit off Ricky Nolasco through four innings. The offense remains silent, and the Nats are still playing what looks like uninspired baseball.
Update II: Make that 7-0 after five innings. But at least the Nats have a hit.
Update III: Strasburg was pulled after five innings, having allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
It’s now 9-0 after six innings thanks to two more Stanton RBIs. This is just a good old fashioned spanking.
Update IV: The Nats have lost their fifth straight, this one by a 9-0 score, as Nolasco went the distance for the Marlins.
The Nationals were outhit 13-5, went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and allowed two more stolen bases.
Not the kind of effort Davey Johnson would have liked to see after a rough showing in Philly.