You can blame it on a small strike zone from home-plate umpire Scott Barry, who is behind the plate for the first time today and trying to judge Stephen Strasburg's unusual stuff. But Stephen Strasburg might be in more trouble today than he's been in during any of his first five major-league starts. He threw 74 pitches through three innings, though he rebounded with a quick fourth inning, and the Nationals trail the Mets 2-0.
Strasburg has been missing spots with his fastball, and on a couple occasions, the Mets have been able to put his slider in play for a base hit. Josh Thole did a nice job of digging one out in the third inning for an RBI single. And at one point, Strasburg threw a fastball so far inside it hit the top of Jeff Francoeur's bat and shot into the stands. From the press box, it looked at first like it might have bounced off the top of Francoeur's head.
He has five strikeouts in four innings, but Strasburg hasn't been able to preserve his pitch count with quick groundouts today. And the Nationals haven't done much off Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Ian Desmond singled in the third, but hesitated around first base before trying to stretch his single into a double when the ball bounced off David Wright's glove and into left field. Desmond dove headfirst into second, but was called out on a close play.
So we're through 3 1/2, and the Nationals trail 2-0. Miguel Batista has been up twice already, and he could be called on soon to replace Strasburg.