The worst outing of Strasburg’s career (Nats lose 8-3)

Stephen Strasburg has now made 63 major league starts.

Tonight’s outing was his worst. By far.

Strasburg is done after just two innings of work tonight. He allowed a career-high seven earned runs on five hits and four walks.

He struck out two, and only half of his 66 pitches were for strikes.

Strasburg had thrice allowed six earned runs in an outing (Aug. 10, 2010, July 31, 2012 and April 7 of this year). But in each of those outings, Strasburg went at least four innings of work.

Tonight, he’s handed the ball over to Ross Ohlendorf for the bottom of the third inning.

Strasburg’s fastball location just wasn’t there tonight, and he wasn’t able to make the adjustment. Home plate umpire Jerry Layne has a tight strike zone tonight, but Strasburg didn’t help himself out by constantly working on the edges of the strike zone.

When you’re constantly nibbling, you’re not going to get many calls.

The Nationals are still in this ballgame, trailing 7-3 in the third. But they’ll need Ohlendorf to eat innings and save the bullpen, and hope that he’s able to put up zeros at the same time.

Not the type of note that Strasburg wants to end the first half of the season on.

A side note: While one Nats starter struggled mightily tonight, another learned that he’ll be sitting out the Midsummer Classic.

Manager Davey Johnson told reporters today that Jordan Zimmermann will not be playing in the All-Star Game due to lingering neck stiffness.

Zimmermann has been battling the neck issues for over six weeks now, and he still feels it at times when he pitches. The right-hander was sent for an X-ray and MRI, Johnson told reporters, but they came back showing no major issues. The Nats feel that Zimmermann is just dealing with an issue with the soft tissue in his neck, and they want him to rest and allow medication to set in over the break instead of participate in the All-Star Game.

There’s a chance that Strasburg or Rafael Soriano could replace Zimmermann on the National League team, but if not, Bryce Harper will be the Nats’ lone representative playing in the All-Star Game.

Game Update: Ohlendorf sure did his job, working four scoreless innings to keep the Nats in the ballgame.

The veteran right-hander now has worked 20 2/3 innings since getting called up to the majors, and he’s posted a very impressive 1.74 ERA in that time.

The Nats haven’t been able to chip away at the Marlins’ 7-3 lead, however. They put just two baserunners on from the second through the sixth innings, and then missed out on a good chance in the seventh when Bryce Harper left two runners on by flying out to deep center with two outs.

Strasburg didn’t do the job tonight, but the bats aren’t doing the job, either.

Update II: That’ll do it. The Nats dropped to the Marlins 8-3, giving them their second loss in seven games against Miami this season.

Through 93 games, the Nats are one game above .500.

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