Tuesday night’s Washington Nationals game versus the Milwaukee Brewers was yet another example of how Stephen Strasburg’s valiant efforts continue to be wasted this season. Washington fell 4-0 to Milwaukee after Strasburg tossed seven shut-out innings on 105 pitches (66 strikes) and was left with a no decision situation.
Strasburg gave up three hits while walking four and striking out eight on a night in which his curve ball was fooling the Brewers line-up from top to bottom. In fact, there were at least two distinct times when a Milwaukee hitter left the batter’s box with a look of sheer amazement coupled by a bit of self-deprecating laughter. That’s how “on” his curve ball was.
Despite Brewers’ starter Wily Peralta’s 5.58 ERA going into the game, the innings leading up to Milwaukee’s rally in the eighth were a pitching duel of sorts if only because the Nats’ offense couldn’t manage to score after two nights of 23-runs combined. Washington did get men on base in the first three innings of the game but only one reached scoring position. Denard Span led-off in the first inning with a single off Peralta and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice play that allowed Ryan Zimmerman to reach first but Ian Desmond grounded out to end an early scoring opportunity.
Peralta left the game early with left hamstring tightness that was later diagnosed as a left hamstring strain leaving him day-to-day with the Brewers, but even the pitching change in the middle of Zimmerman’s at-bat with one out in the sixth didn’t turn out to be a positive for the Nats’ bats.
With the offense quiet and Strasburg pulled after seven innings, relief pitcher Drew Storen’s job was to hold the Brewers in place and let his offense take care of the rest. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Storen, who has been quite consistent and reliable on the mound as of late, entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up four runs on four hits while walking a batter.
Storen started the inning by giving up a single and a walk to outfielder Logan Schafer and second baseman Rickie Weeks. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez hit a fly to Span in center field to tally an out but Schafer and Weeks would go on to score off first baseman Juan Francisco’s double to right-center field; Brewers 2, Nats 0.
The rally continued and before long catcher Martin Maldonado hit a RBI-double before scoring himself on a single hit by shortstop Jeff Bianchi; Brewers 4, Nats 0.
Reliver Ian Krol entered the game in the ninth inning and held Milwaukee at four runs — he only faced four batters and gave up one hit — but back-to-back singles off Brewers’ closer Francisco Rodriguez to lead-off the bottom of the inning didn’t result in any offensive output from Washington leaving the Nats in the loss column for the night.