The Nationals weren’t sure whether it was a good idea to give Stephen Strasburg a fifth and final start on the last day of the season, but they’re probably glad they did after witnessing a stellar performance today.
Strasburg allowed just one hit over six innings and struck out 10 in a 79-pitch masterpiece against the Marlins on Wednesday. He picked up the victory — his first in five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery — in the 3-1 win.
Strasburg ends his September comebacks with a 1.50 ERA and a 24/2 K/BB ratio in 24 innings. He didn’t allow a homer. He now has a 2.54 ERA and a 116/19 K/BB ratio in 92 innings since debuting in 2010.
It’s still a ways off, but it will be interesting to see where the Nationals slot Strasburg into next year’s rotation. Strasburg figures to be their best pitcher, but Jordan Zimmermann probably deserves the nod after amassing a 3.18 ERA in his 26 starts this year. Since Strasburg will be on an innings limit next year, the Nats might decide to make him their fifth starter initially, allowing them to better control his workload.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.