With Monday’s rainout and a doubleheader scheduled for Wednesday, the Nationals now have an opening Saturday in the second game of the Dodgers series. That could be a spot for right-hander Joe Ross to start.
Right-hander Austin Voth, who last made a start July 16 in Baltimore, was placed on the injured list yesterday with right bicep tendinitis. Manager Davey Martinez said today that Voth had a setback when he tried to throw Monday and will have to go in for an MRI.
“He threw a little bit and didn’t feel quite well,” Martinez said. “He was going to go see a doctor today and is scheduled to get an MRI this week.”
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the injured list again with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Martinez believes the treatment will be similar to what Zimmerman worked through earlier this season, and had a positive update today.
“I think it’s pretty much the same thing,” Martinez said. “It’s going to take four or five days for him to heal. He actually said he woke up today feeling better than he did yesterday. But it’s going to take some time.”
Tonight’s starter, Stephen Strasburg, is coming off his best game on offense in his career. On July 18, he pitched 5 1/3 innings in a 13-4 dismantling of the Braves at SunTrust Park. But the bigger headline was his dramatic three-run homer, part of a 3-for-3, career-high 5 RBI performance.
Martinez said the offense was a pleasant surprise from Strasburg, but he also knows that his right-hander is more valuable of he can go past the sixth inning.
“It was unbelievable,” Martinez said. “The next day he was in with his tennis shoes on and I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘You need to put your cleats on. You’re a pinch-hitter today.’ That’s how good he was. He started laughing. To do what he did was incredible. But it took its toll. I know that, come the sixth inning, he did a lot of baserunning, and you could see it.
“Do I want him to go hit a home run today? Yeah. But do I want him to pitch seven innings more? Yeah. That balance. But yeah, he could hit. All our pitchers can hit, which is kind of nice.”
This season, Strasburg is hitting .136 with six hits. The home run was the fourth of his career. He is a career .147 hitter, and his on-base percentage is .195. But Martinez said Strasburg has the frame to be a good hitter, and squares up the ball well.
“I watch his swing like I do with everyone else, and he gets himself ready,” Martinez said. “He gets his hands in a good position to hit. He just tries to hit line drives. That’s all he does, whether he pulls it, whether he hits it the other way. He really tries to stay on top of the ball and hit line drives. It’s kind of a nice little compact swing. He gives himself a chance.”
Update: The Nationals scored early against Rockies starter Peter Lambert.
Stephen Strasburg singled in his first at-bat in the second inning. He is 4-for-4 in his last four at-bats, dating back to the Atlanta game last week.
Strasburg has allowed two doubles but has also struck out six Rockies in the first three innings.
After three frames, the Nats lead the Rockies 2-0.
Update II: Strasburg delivered six shutout innings, recording eight strikeouts and only three hits, walking two. The bullpen will need to get three innings.
Turner has a single, triple and homer. He needs a double to hit for the cycle. His first cycle also came against these Rockies.
Mid-sixth, the Nats lead 2-0.
Update III: Gomes laced an RBI single in the sixth inning to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh, the Nats blew the game open tallying eight runs, highlighted by Turner’s RBI double. WIth that double, Turner has hit for the cycle for the second time in his career, both against the Rockies. Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra also delivered a two-run single and Anthony Rendon cracked a two-run double.
After seven innings, the Nats lead the Rockies 11-0.
Update IV: Michael Blazek, in his Nats debut, allowed one run on three base hits with two walks over two innings.
Final score: the Nats 11, the Rockies 1.