Stephen Strasburg has thrown five scoreless innings tonight, allowing just two hits (one of which came on a blown call at first base) and walking two.
He’s struck out five Brewers, all five of which have been on the curveball, a pitch that has been truly filthy tonight.
Strasburg has dialed the fastball up to 97 mph. He’s thrown a few nasty changeups. But it’s the curve that’s been the money pitch against the Brewers, who had never faced Strasburg prior to tonight.
Aramis Ramirez had his helmet fall off while trying to make contact on a curve that went for strike three. Brewers starter Wily Peralta had a curveball buckle his knees and send him back to the dugout laughing in the third inning, and then Strasburg got him flailing at a curve in the fifth.
Strasburg has needed just 65 pitches to get through five innings, and outside of a two-on, one-out situation in the fourth, he’s encountered little trouble thus far tonight.
Unfortunately for the right-hander, he continues to get minimal run support, however.
Actually, let me rephrase that. Tonight, Strasburg - who came into the night getting just 2.44 runs per game, the lowest in the majors - hasn’t gotten any run support.
The Nats loaded the bases against Peralta in the first, but Ian Desmond grounded out to end the inning. Since then, Peralta has faced just two over the minimum, and the Nats haven’t put a single runner in scoring position.
Two days ago, the Nats scored 13 runs for Gio Gonzalez. Yesterday, they put up 10 runs for Jordan Zimmermann. They’ve done nothing to help Strasburg tonight, something that’s becoming a recurring theme for him.
We’re scoreless going to the sixth.
Update: Peralta left the game with what the Brewers are calling left hamstring tightness after 5 1/3 innings of work, and so the Nats will get to the Milwaukee bullpen earlier than they might have expected, given the way this game was going.
They were held scoreless by Peralta and put up just three hits, this despite the fact that the right-hander entered today’s game with a 5.58 ERA, the third-worst total in the majors.
Peralta held them in check until an injury forced him from the game. We’ll see if the Nats can have any better success against a Brewers bullpen that has the second-lowest ERA among any big league team this season.