By looking at Friday’s 8-1 win over the Giants, it would appear that the Nationals finally gave Stephen Strasburg some runs to work with. That wasn’t really the case.
Strasburg gave up a leadoff home run to Andres Torres to begin the game, putting himself in an early hole. The Nats answered with runs in the first and fourth innings to jump out to a 2-1 lead, but that’s the biggest lead Strasburg would have all night. Working with a razor thin margin of error yet again, the young phenom completely shut the Giants down after the first inning.
All told, Strasburg gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He threw 61 out of 95 pitches for strikes before exiting after six innings. The Nationals offense did their part after he left the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth and four in the seventh to preserve the victory. Strasburg moved to 3-2 on the year, earning his first win since June 13.
Through his first seven starts in the big leagues, Strasburg has a 2.45 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, posting a 53/10 K/BB ratio over 36 2/3 innings. He’s slated to start the first game after the All-Star break against the Marlins next Friday, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
There was some thought that the Nationals would delay Strasburg’s first start after the break and provide him with some extra rest during the second half in order to have him available in September, but he is now expected to pitch every fifth day until he reaches the 160-inning plateau.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.