Stephen Strasburg had a very eventful day Sunday in the Nationals’ 9-3 win over the Orioles. He hit his first big-league homer off Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, but he left the game after five innings with some biceps tightness.
”I don’t care who it was, if I find out they have tightness, they’re out”‘ manager Davey Johnson said. ”I talked to him later in the game. He said it relaxed a bit and was a lot better. I’m not as concerned when it’s in the biceps.”
Strasburg echoed those thoughts:
”The biceps is fine,” he said. ”It’s just throwing a lot of pitches early, then we put up a lot of runs and stuff. I just got a little tired, got a little tight, but that’s nothing different than any other outing.”
For now, Strasburg appears to be penciled in to make his next start, though since he’s on an innings limit this year anyway, the Nationals could always choose to give him a little break. Or they could always try him in left field. Strasburg went 2-for-2 today and is 6-for-16 with four extra-base hits at the plate this season. He was just 1-for-26 lifetime entering the season.
On the mound, Strasburg allowed three runs — one earned — in his five innings today. He fanned eight and threw 91 pitches.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.