What to make of this Strasburg outing? (Nats lose 3-2)

ATLANTA - Stephen Strasburg's stat line will show that he allowed just two earned runs over six innings against the Braves tonight. It'll go down as a quality start.

It's hard to believe Strasburg will consider this outing of much quality, though.

The Nationals right-hander allowed six hits and four walks tonight. He put the leadoff hitter on in five of his six innings pitched.

He got into an animated discussion with pitching coach Steve McCatty during a fifth-inning mound visit. Multiple F-bombs appeared to be dropped.

Yet, Strasburg found a way to limit the damage. He struck out the side in a dominant sixth inning, powering past Chris Johnson, Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, getting all three swinging.

He leaves with the game tied 2-2, and his team is very much in it in the late innings.

Strasburg's ERA now sits at 3.13 through six starts. He has just one win, but that's largely due to the fact that the Nats haven't done much offensively in his starts.

Coming into tonight, they'd scored just nine runs in his five starts. They've put up just two again in this ballgame.

Strasburg hasn't been the dominant starter that everyone expects him to be. He's been inconsistent with his fastball command and continues to struggle in the first inning of starts.

But he also hasn't been all that bad.

I guess how you choose to view Strasburg's start to the 2013 season is entirely dependent on your perspective.

Update: The Braves have taken a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, with Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly to right bringing in Gerald Laird with the go-ahead run. Tyler Clippard was the Nats reliever who served up the go-ahead run.

Laird walked to lead off the bottom of the seventh, moved into scoring position on a sac bunt, went to third on a Jordan Schafer single to right and then came in on the Simmons sac fly.

All three Braves that have scored tonight have reached base on walks. That won't make Davey Johnson too pleased.

The Nats are now into the ridiculously tough back-end of the Braves bullpen. Eric O'Flaherty is on for the eighth, with Craig Kimbrel looming in the ninth.

Update II: Jayson Werth has left the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. He's been replaced in right field by Roger Bernadina.

Werth fouled a ball off his left foot/ankle during an at-bat in the top of the eighth. He stayed in to finish the at-bat and struck out swinging. Bernadina then sprinted out to right when the Nats took the field for the bottom of the inning.

Werth was clearly in pain after the foul ball drilled him in the lower ankle area. He dropped to the ground and stayed there during a discussion with a team trainer, then took a couple minutes to walk it off. We'll get an update on him after the game.

Update III: The Nats managed nothing off O'Flaherty and Kimbrel and dropped a 3-2 game here in the series opener.

They had just one hit after the fourth inning.

The Nationals have now lost all for games to the Braves this season and they've dropped eight straight to Atlanta dating back to 2012.

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