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Nats 3, Braves 0: Strasburg strong in series finale

Oct 1, 2015, 9:57 PM EST

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: There’s nothing left to play for on the team level, so attention shifts to individual performance during the season’s final week. And there has been no better individual performing better for the Nationals down the stretch than Stephen Strasburg.

Distancing himself even further from his disastrous first half of the season, Strasburg finished up 2015 on a decided high note, shutting out the Braves over six innings. He scattered six singles and a walk, struck out seven and left a very good taste in everyone’s mouths as his roller coaster 2015 came to an end.

Clint Robinson got the Nationals on the board with an opposite-field homer in the top of the second. They then added two insurance runs in the eighth, with Bryce Harper notching his 97th RBI of the season. (Harper went 1-for-4 to maintain a .331 batting average, two points better than Miami’s Dee Gordon, who went 0-for-4.)

Blake Treinen tossed a scoreless seventh, then Felipe Rivero tossed both the eighth and the ninth to notch his first career save and notch the Nationals’ 81st win of the season.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: For a guy who was never expected to make the roster out of spring training, Robinson sure turned into a valuable piece for the Nationals. He began as a left-handed bat off the bench, but when Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth went down with injuries, the 30-year-old rookie wound up getting significant playing time. And he made the most of it. With his solo homer in the second inning, Robinson raised his batting average to .271 with a .361 on-base percentage and .410 slugging percentage. He’s got nine homers and 33 RBI over 337 plate appearances. For a part-time player, that’s not bad at all.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Boy, July feels like an awfully long time for Strasburg, doesn’t it? Ten starts into his season, he was 3-5 with a 6.55 ERA and all sorts of questions from outside observers about the state of his career. Turns out Strasburg’s problems were entirely physical, from an ankle injury in spring training to lingering neck issues to a strained oblique suffered on July 4. Over his final 13 starts, Strasburg went 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA and a staggering 110-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Put that all together, and he ends up 11-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 23 starts, with 155 strikeouts and only 26 walks. All things considered, that was a very good season for Strasburg. And a very encouraging sign for the Nationals heading into 2016.

KEY STAT: By beating out a potential inning-ending double play grounder in the eighth, Bryce Harper notched his 97th RBI, fifth-most in the NL.

UP NEXT: It had the potential to be a huge series to end the regular season. Instead, the Nationals and Mets will play out the string this weekend at Citi Field, beginning Friday at 7:10 p.m. Gio Gonzalez (11-8, 3.93) faces Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 3.34).

  1. janebeard - Oct 1, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    So…if this storm has the impact on NYC that is predicted, do they play? Do they go to another city? Do they just say, “see ya”? What are the options?

    I’m glad e got to 81 wins with this game tonight. And I am SO glad Steven is pitching so well. May he start that way in April.

    Three games left. I hope we don;t lose electricity, here on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Because I want to see every last game where Ian is in our uniform.

  2. patrickthand - Oct 1, 2015 at 10:04 PM

    The Mets aren’t “playing out the string.” Because they lost their last two to the Phils, they are playing for home field advantage in the Dodgers’ series.

  3. natsfan1a - Oct 1, 2015 at 10:09 PM

    Nice game, boys. Very nice.

  4. Sonny G 10 - Oct 2, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    Because of the Mets home field competition with the Dodgers, it seems like they will have to play out the series somehow. These will be meaningful games for the Mets and the Dodgers so they should not shorten our season. Hope that’s the case anyhow. Gonna be a long time til spring training so I want to see every game I can. Bryce and Desi need to play them out for their statistics also.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 2, 2015 at 12:46 AM

      I’d like to see Clint get to double digits, too.

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