Stephen Strasburg finally notches win No. 3

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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. 

Report: Giants showed some interest in Phillies’ Maikel Franco at Winter Meetings

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.

Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.

Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.

Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.