Stephen Strasburg has gotten the lowest run support of any starter in the major leagues this season, at 2.44 runs per game.
The Nationals have scored more than three runs in just three of his 16 starts, including tonight’s 4-0 loss to the Brewers.
Strasburg has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in last eight starts (and one earned run or fewer in seven of those eight), but it hasn’t mattered.
Still, despite having just four wins to go along with his 2.24 ERA - a mark that’s sixth-best in the majors - Strasburg doesn’t want to talk about the lack of run support. He politely answered a question on the topic after the game, but made it clear it’s something he’d rather not address.
“You know, I’m tired of talking about that,” Strasburg said. “These guys battle every single day just like I do and it just didn’t work out for us tonight. I’d like to get over that. I’d like to stop answering questions about run support.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to ignore the issue, especially when the Nats go out and score double-digit runs the last two days and then put up a big zero today.
“He threw his (butt) off tonight,” Bryce Harper said of Strasburg. “I think if a guy throws like that, he should be able to win. He’s done that all year long, and that’s why his ERA is what it is. It sucks we couldn’t score any runs tonight, but (Wily) Peralta, you’ve got to tip your cap to him.”
Strasburg struck out eight Brewers in his seven innings of work, and all eight Ks came on the curveball, a pitch that the right-hander went to often tonight. In a number of his recent starts, Strasburg has used his changeup as his out-pitch, but tonight, it was the curve that was really working.
Per BrooksBaseball.net, 38 of Strasburg’s 105 pitches were curveballs, a very high total for him. Aramis Ramirez lost his helmet on a swinging third strike that came on a curveball, and Peralta started laughing when walking back to the dugout after getting his knees buckled by another big bender.
“Honestly my curveball was terrible in the bullpen,” Strasburg said with a bit of a smile. “I knew I had to throw it out there because they’re a good fastball-hitting team so just how it is sometimes. Sometimes it’s not really working in the pen but as soon as you get out there things just click.”
Harper, meanwhile, wasn’t going to make excuses for the fly ball that he dropped with two outs in the Brewers’ four-run eighth inning. Harper went back to the track in left and appeared to be expecting to make contact with the wall, but he never got that far. The ball popped out of his glove, and Martin Maldonado was credited with an RBI double on the play. Maldonado came around to score a batter later.
“I dropped it,” Harper said when asked about the play. “I just dropped it.”