Strasburg is latest starter to struggle vs. Marlins (Nats win 8-3)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If Stephen Strasburg was looking to take a cue from Max Scherzer, he picked the wrong start to imitate.

Only 24 hours after Scherzer was roughed up by the Marlins in his first subpar outing of the spring, Strasburg was battered around by the same Miami club this afternoon.

Strasburg wound up allowing three runs on eight hits and three walks in only 4 1/3 innings and was pulled by Nationals manager Davey Martinez with his pitch count at 81.

strasburg-postseason-sidebar.jpgIt was a ragged performance for the Nationals’ No. 2 starter, and it came one day after their No. 1 starter similarly struggled against the Marlins. Scherzer allowed six runs on six hits in five innings Monday in Jupiter, coughing up three home runs plus a triple off the center field fence.

The Marlins wasted no time pouncing on Strasburg. Lewis Brinson led off the game with a home run to left-center, the first time Strasburg has surrendered one in 73 regular-season, postseason or spring training innings, a streak that dated all the way back to August in a game in San Diego

Everything else Strasburg allowed remained in the park, but he wound up letting 11 of the 23 batters he faced reach base, with three of them scoring.

Strasburg is scheduled for one more spring tune-up start (Saturday against these same Marlins) before he takes the mound for his season debut March 31 at Cincinnati.

Update: The Nats were getting no-hit for 4 1/3 innings by the unspectacular Odrisamer Despaigne, but that all came to a screeching halt. Matt Reynolds broke up the no-hitter with a bloop single in the bottom of the fifth, then Adrian Sanchez and Wilmer Difo each followed with hits, the latter scoring two runs. Michael A. Taylor then led off the sixth with a double to left-center, followed moments later by Bryce Harper’s second home run of the spring, this one a towering shot to straightaway center field. The Nationals now lead 4-3.

Update II: The hits keep on coming. The Nats tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh, with Miguel Montero and Mois├ęs Sierra delivering back-to-back doubles, Reid Brignac driving in a run with a single and Chris Dominguez driving in another with a sac fly. It’s 7-3 heading to the eighth.

Update III: The Nationals scored a run on a throwing error in the eighth and won 8-3.

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