Strasburg completes final tune-up before opener (Nats fall)


Score: Cardinals 6, Nats 2

Recap: In his final spring start before taking the mound opening day, Stephen Strasburg got his requisite work in. The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in four innings, throwing 61 pitches. The Nationals scored two runs off Michael Wacha, with Matt Wieters doubling and scoring on Stephen Drew's single in the second, and then Ryan Zimmerman homering to right-center in the third. Koda Glover faced three batters in the fifth, giving up a run on a hit and a walk, before being replaced.

Need to know: The Nationals wrap up their spring with three games against the Red Sox in three days in three different cities. After Thursday's Grapefruit League finale in Fort Myers, both teams will fly north to D.C. to play Friday afternoon at Nationals Park and again Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

On deck: Thursday, vs. Red Sox in Fort Myers, 1:05 p.m.

JUPITER, Fla. - Stephen Strasburg dialed things back a little bit today in his final tune-up before opening day.

Strasburg went only four innings and 61 pitches in the Nationals' penultimate Grapefruit League game, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits to the Cardinals' A lineup.

It was a fairly nondescript outing, but just what the Nationals were looking for on this warm afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium, with health and a modest pitch count the club's top priorities.

Strasburg-Gray-Mets-Sidebar.jpgPitching exclusively from the stretch as he has done all spring and likely intends to do into the regular season, Strasburg allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the first, the byproduct of a wild throw by second baseman Brandon Snyder after he made a diving stop of Dexter Fowler's hard grounder up the middle.

Strasburg retired five straight batters at one point, striking out Yadier Molina on an 81 mph curveball, and ended the second inning having thrown 21 of 27 pitches for strikes.

Things got a bit dicey in the bottom of the third, though, when Fowler's RBI triple and Jhonny Peralta's RBI single brought home two more runs.

Strasburg's final spring numbers weren't so great: a 6.61 ERA, 19 hits allowed in 16 1/3 innings. But the Nationals' chief goal throughout for Strasburg was a healthy spring after his 2016 season was cut short by an elbow injury.

In that regard, neither the team nor Strasburg has any complaints. He made six starts (one in a minor league game) and built up his arm as needed in advance of Monday's season opener against the Marlins.

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