A 51-minute rain delay couldn’t cool off Stephen Strasburg, as the Nationals’ ace allowed one run in six innings and struck out 10 to beat the Braves on Tuesday night.
Ian Desmond and Jesus Flores homered off Paul Maholm in the 4-1 game.
It was Strasburg’s fifth double-digit strikeout game of the season. He improved to 15-5 with a 2.85 ERA.
The delay came with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. As soon as play resumed, Strasburg struck out Martin Prado on four pitches to end the frame. He went on to strike out two more in the fourth and the side in order in the fifth.
Given how careful the Nationals are being with Strasburg, they certainly would have been justified in shutting him down after the delay. Such a decision might have even bought him another start next month as he neared his inning limit. He’s at 145 1/3 innings after going six tonight, which would seem to suggest that he’ll make three more starts.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.