Starter Stephen Strasburg shut the Phillies out over nine innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out ten with 99 pitches as the Nationals wrapped up a series sweep at home with a 6-0 victory. Today’s performance marked the tenth time in his young career that Strasburg went into double-digits in strikeouts. The shutout is the first of his career and we expect there will be many, many more.
Outfielder Jayson Werth continued his torrid hitting, going 3-for-4 after entering the ballgame hitting .542 since the start of August. Werth was on third base in the fifth inning when Wilson Ramos hit a ground ball to second baseman Chase Utley. Utley made an errant throw home, allowing Werth to score on what appeared to be a close play, but catcher Erik Kratz couldn’t hold onto the ball. Werth was a little shaken up on the play, and was removed from the game in the seventh inning, replaced by Roger Bernadina.
The win is the Nats’ third in a row. They will play three games against the Giants at home before departing for a ten-game road trip against the Braves, Cubs, and Royals.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.