Wednesday night’s Nationals (41-54) game versus the Cincinnati Reds (53-43) wasn’t Stephen Strasburg’s most dominant performance to-date, but the man got the job done.
Strasburg, who just turned 22 Tuesday, tossed 5.2 innings with seven hits, three earned runs, one walk, and seven strikeouts. What worked for the Nats during this 8-5 victory in a ballpark where long ball is often the name of the game (Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark has yielded 2.58 home runs per game this year) is what hasn’t been as of late — their bats.
The Nats had nine hits last night and scored eight runs, which compared to their recent trip to Florida is quite an accomplishment. Ryan Zimmerman had two of those, but the rest came from the least likely of the bunch. Nyjer Morgan and Ian Desmond both had two runs in the fourth inning while Cristian Guzman zipped his second home run of the season with the two-run shot putting the Nationals ahead in the fifth, securing Strasburg’s fifth win of the season.
Willie Harris was also in on the hit parade. Harris, whose time on the field this year has been subject to some ridicule, wound up padding the victory with a solo homer in the ninth.
These Nats played like a team. It just goes to show that a little run support really does go a long way and that even the most dominant of pitchers can’t be relied upon to stop all the bleeding by himself.
The best gem of the night came to me via Twitter though. At some point during the game a Cincinnati fan was apparently giving Strasburg some lip from the stands as the Nats were heading toward the dugout. Willie Harris told The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore that Strasburg responded to that fan by saying “Look at the scoreboard” (the Nats were up at that point) to which Harris responded, “Tell em Stras.”
Oh yeah, forget to tell you. Pete Rose was there too. Just in case you were wondering.
This Afternoon: Livan Hernandez (6-6, 3.27) faces Edinson Volquez (1-0, 1.50) and the Reds one more time before heading to Milwaukee for three games at 12:35.