With a fifth-inning strikeout of Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg became the third-fastest — in terms of innings pitched — to reach 500 career strikeouts, tweets James Wagner of the Washington Post. The two to do it faster: former Cubs teammates Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.
Strasburg entered tonight’s start with a 2.96 ERA in 28 starts. If not for outstanding season-long performances by Clayton Kershaw, Jose Fernandez, and Matt Harvey, Strasburg would have been in the conversation for the NL Cy Young award as predicted before the season started.
The Nationals are still holding on to the smallest sliver of hope to get into the playoffs, trailing in the Wild Card race by 5.5 games. However, their elimination number is two, meaning they could be relegated to October golf sessions as soon as tomorrow afternoon.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.