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Nats 6, Rockies 1: Strasburg dominant, lineup efficient

Aug 8, 2015, 9:44 PM EST

AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The sight of Stephen Strasburg taking the mound this season has produced plenty of emotions, unfortunately far too many of them negative after four months of struggles, injuries and some downright bizarre outings. But by the end of this night, after Strasburg had thoroughly dominated the Rockies in his return from the disabled list, there is as much reason to be optimistic about the right-hander as there has been in a very long time.

Strasburg was brilliant in his first start since suffering an oblique strain on July 4. He tossed seven innings of 1-run ball, scattering three hits while striking out 12 and failing to walk anybody. He even notched three hits at the plate for the first time in his career. And when he departed after the seventh, a crowd of 37,115 rose to give him his loudest ovation of a trying season.

Strasburg was the recipient of plenty of of run support, with the Nationals scoring in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings, RBI coming from up and down the lineup. And thanks to the Mets actually losing a ballgame for the first time in nine days, the Nats ended the night down only 1 1/2 games in the NL East.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: As they did Friday night, the Nationals got big hits from everybody in the heart of their lineup. And the biggest one came from Wilson Ramos. With two on and one out in the bottom of the second, Ramos stayed back on a breaking ball and roped it to deep right-center. By the time the Rockies retrieved it, both Clint Robinson and Ian Desmond had come around to score and Ramos had coasted into second base with a big double. Slowly but surely, the Nats catcher is coming of a long slump at the plate, and he’s doing it with hits exactly like that: to center and right fields.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: If there were any fears about Strasburg in his first start in five weeks, he very quickly put those to rest. Despite allowing a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon, he buckled right down and got out of the first inning with some electric pitches. And by night’s end, he had authored one of the best starts of his career: 7 innings of 1-run, 3-hit ball, with 12 strikeout and zero walks. It’s the sixth time Strasburg has recorded double-digit strikeouts without issuing a walk in his career. And he even went 3-for-3 at the plate after going 0-for-16 prior to this game. It was everything the Nats could have wanted in Strasburg’s return, and it will only leave the right-hander with sky-high confidence moving forward.

KEY STAT: Ryan Zimmerman has driven in a run in each of his last six games. Zimmerman already holds the club record with an RBI in nine straight games in 2012.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up at 1:35 p.m. Sunday when Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.31) seeks his first win at Nationals Park since his June 20 no-hitter. Lefty Yohan Flande (2-1, 3.54) starts for the Rockies.

  1. JayB - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:46 PM

    best game of the year….they looked like a different team….they looked angry but focused…they need to learn how to play that way all the time…..looked like Cards tonight.

  2. rlndtln - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:46 PM

    Great game and best of all SS was the old Stras.We have a good chance tomorrow with the Rays pitching Archer against Colon and us with Max.I feel a good trip coming.

    • ArVAFan - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:53 PM

      From your keypad to the baseball gods’ ears!

      I had high hopes when I went jogging on Pismo Beach and saw someone wearing a Curly W hat. Turned out well all around (except that 0-for-5 for Ant. Better luck tomorrow).

    • simalex - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:58 PM

      Stras basically picked up pretty much where he left off prior to his oblique issue — he was pitching fantastic ball. Tonight he was efficient, racking up Ks, he lost a battle to probably the best 3B in the game (Arenado) can’t complain there — anyway, he totally shut down a very good offensive club — clearly, he is back and *right.*

      Hard to over-state the importance of this.

      Also critical: the continued warming up of RZ.

      • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:02 PM

        Rockie announcers were marveling that the old stras was back.

      • Bruxtun - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:17 PM

        Arenado has looked otherworldly this series

      • simalex - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:18 PM

        yes he has.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:01 PM

        Best 3rd baseman I’ve seen since RZim circa 2007 and Machado 2013.

      • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:10 PM

        Signed though 2015 for $500K under team control thru 2018. Scott Boras client, so he will eventually have a great payday.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:14 PM

        I play him more often than not in draft kings on the road. His cost is to high at home, but seems better on the road anyway.

  3. veejh - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:52 PM

    You have just entered the twilight zone based on the 1st two comments

    • veejh - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:54 PM

      Sorry, let me rephrase. Positive comments from JayB and rlndtln. Weird.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:57 PM

        Now, now. Let’s not criticize that which we’ve requested.

      • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:04 PM

        Minty fresh ğŸ˜Ž

      • rlndtln - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:35 PM

        Just telling it like it is.Give me denDeker and I am all in.Going tomorrow to lend some support.

    • stoatva - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:58 PM

      Reporters. Taking your own opinion, prefacing it by saying “How awesome/disappointing/important was it” and giving it a slight upward inflection at the end is not a real question. Please make a note of it.

      • Dave - Aug 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM

        Thank you. For years I have considered everyone who does that to be Debbie-Tayloring.

  4. stoatva - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    Ryan Zimmerman has driven in a run in each of his last six games. Zimmerman already holds the club record with an RBI in nine straight games in 2012.

    Whoa.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2015 at 9:58 PM

      Yes, but I still can’t find which Nats pitcher had the record for most hits in a game. I can’t tell if Stras just took that.

      • stoatva - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:03 PM

        The press guide (I knew there had to be a reason I bought one) says the record for most hits in a game by a pitcher is 3, “MANY TIMES” most recently by JZimm on 7/1/13.

      • Bruxtun - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:21 PM

        twitter says he’s the first Nats pitcher with 3 hits and 10 K’s, but JZ has gotten three hits before.

      • slidell2 - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:51 PM

        Back in the day, John Patterson was good with the stick.

    • paulfortier - Aug 9, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      I wrote negative commentaries on Zimm this week. Now, I have to tip my hat. Kudo, Zimm.

  5. stoatva - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:07 PM

    Here is a record I didn’t expect: Highest Pinch Hit Batting Average (50 PH AB Min): Steve Lombardozzi .289

    I loved Lombo.

  6. manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:10 PM

    Waiver claims will start soon as it seems to happen about this tine in August hoping someone will take someone off their hands for 2016.

    If Jay Bruce is placed on waivers you put in a claim?

    If CarGo is do you?

    If Blackman is do you?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      Also I JUpton will be placed on waivers. Since Mets presently ahead of us so we can get a claim before they do.

      • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:40 PM

        MHO-

        CarGo will not make the waiver wire. Off Season trade.. Likely.
        Blackman could be dangled, but will cost pitchers.

    • dcwx61 - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:22 PM

      is cargo a free agent this year

      • stoatva - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:26 PM

        Signed through 2017.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:30 PM

        thanks….kind of expensive then

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:41 PM

        Kind of expensive that is why he would be on waivers.

        Because Upton is free agent at the end of the year he will not be placed on waivers.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:55 PM

        oh But here you say Upton will be placed on waivers. unfortunately, your good thoughts can sometimes be difficult to discern. but reading a post before sending will help to communicate your insights without confusion:

        “Also I JUpton will be placed on waivers. Since Mets presently ahead of us so we can get a claim before they do

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:11 PM

        Not my money so take CarGo through 2017.

      • dcwx61 - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:55 PM

        is it just money or prospects too ?

      • Section 222 - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:01 AM

        You all know that it’s not as simple as just picking up a player like Cargo or Justin Upton off waivers and paying their salaries, right?

      • dcwx61 - Aug 9, 2015 at 10:52 AM

        it would seem more difficult than that but MNF may know something we don’t

      • Section 222 - Aug 9, 2015 at 5:18 PM

        he might, but i doubt it. the waiver claim doesn’t guarantee you get the player, it just gives you the right to work out a deal (and it blocks other teams behind you).

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2015 at 11:48 AM

      It’s Blackmon, with an O.

  7. carlospaula - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:11 PM

    We need so called best starting staff in MLB to become this NOW…..The Marathon has become a one mile race…..Scherzer, Zim, Stras must dominate……Ross and Gio must get into the 7th.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:22 PM

      +5

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:44 AM

      The Marathon has become a one mile race

      Technically, there would be little over 8-1/2 miles left. Just saying.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:58 AM

        One mile would be just about six games.

        Just finishing the thought. But Creeping Footballism is never far away, is it?

        “Do you know how many games 162 games is? That’s a lot of games.”

  8. letswin3 - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:33 PM

    I’m not quite sure how to relate what I’m thinking, but Strass looked to me like he might have become a “different” pitcher tonight. He’s always had a great fastball, a terrific curve and a difference making changeup, but tonight he looked like he decided that a new approach is needed … one that shows hitters that he has stuff that can win games, and that if he gives up a hit here and there it’s just part of pitching, and then get back to throwing strikes and doing the same thing again. As opposed to giving up a hit or two and then slowing down and trying to find the black on every pitch. If he’s changed, them Look Out, because he has the stuff to be very very good. FP Santangilo also said pretty much what I said here. I know it’s only one game, but it sure looked to me like he had, not a plan, but an attitude, tonight.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:50 PM

      Let’s hope he keeps it up.

  9. Theophilus T.S. - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:48 PM

    If I understand correctly, Strasburg was “different” in that he was emphasizing his FB — meaning he was the rookie and first-year-back Strasburg, not really different.

    • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 10:57 PM

      Agree. Back to his original form.

      He does look like he has grown into that lanky frame. Bet he has been doing weights while on DL.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:05 PM

        Maybe, but he still runs like a baby giraffe.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:05 PM

        Emphasizing the K over contact and using his challenge fastball.

    • letswin3 - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:15 PM

      I agree with all you’ve said here, but he also looked to me to be less troubled by the hits … sort of like “okay, so you got a hit, but I don’t think you guys can get to me enough to beat me”. In the past he would let a hit, an error, almost anything get to him emotionally, but tonight I saw something different.

  10. scmargenau - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:00 PM

    His eyes were different. He looked focused and confident. He looked like a new man.

    • letswin3 - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:17 PM

      Yeah, that’s kind of what I meant above.

  11. Candide - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Third game this week for Cunegonde and me, and we were really hoping for SS to ride to the rescue after the two disasters we saw Wednesday and Friday.

    Unmentioned highlight happened before the game; our own Section222 and his quartet, The Brothers Flanagan, sing The Star-Spangled Banner and they totally aced it. Great harmony, nice pacing, good voice balance, totally in key, and no crappy “interpretations.” A pleasure; nicely done, gentlemen.

    Here they are at Nats Park a couple of years ago:www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnr6py6j-0I

    • Section 222 - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:22 PM

      Well thank you Sir. It was a kick as always. And considering that after we sang it last year, Soriano blew up in the 9th against the Phillies (his last game as closer for the Nats), it was very nice to get that monkey off our back. Thank you Stephen Strasburg.

  12. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:04 PM

    Strasburg goes 3 for 3 and I was concerned that he was expending too much energy but he was strong as bull out there on the mound. Just an enjoyable game all around.

    I really think the Nats need to get Jay Bruce. Werth and CRob are not the answers in LF and you can’t count on DSpan coming back.

    • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:20 PM

      Charlie Blackman in LF would be nice if we could afford pitching prospects. A very good CF now.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:24 PM

        I would be surprised if Rizzo doesn’t get a LF and another setup man.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2015 at 11:49 AM

        Blackmon, with an o.

  13. Section 222 - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:18 PM

    What a night! Clutch hitting, solid defense, and a truly dominant performance by Stras. It was so great to see him hitting 97 on a regular basis, and with great command. 12 Ks in 7 innings? Sick. After yesterday’s disaster, this was a game this team, and its fans, needed.

    By the way, that single off the wall by Bryce was absolutely scorched. Oh, and Nolan Arenado is good at baseball.

    Anthem went pretty well too.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:29 PM

      I was there to see you sing the SSB and it was excellent. Great start to a really nice game.

    • conatsguy - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:38 PM

      350 ft single… Pretty good poke.

      Glad your performance of the SSB wat a hit alsoğŸ˜Ž

    • mnmindc - Aug 9, 2015 at 12:03 AM

      I was in the 200 level club during the anthem. Everyone stopped and watched the TV screens, which was normal, but then a number of folks clapped and cheered when you all were done singing, seeming particularly enthusiastic. Great job!

      Not a bad game either. That Stras guy, I think we should keep him.

  14. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 8, 2015 at 11:58 PM

    Game-winning RBIs are sometimes made more by circumstance but kind of nice to see Wilson Ramos in the last 3 Nats wins which includes tonight has all 3 GW RBIs.

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