Stephen Strasburg may not be the award-winning hitter he was in 2012, but that didn’t stop him from snapping a scoreless streak of 10 at-bats to go yard against the Phillies on Friday night. The Nationals’ right-hander skied a 1-2 pitch from Nick Pivetta to deep center field, clearing the bases to boost Washington’s lead to 2-0 in the second inning:
Strasburg is just the fourth pitcher to hit a home run in 2017, preceded by Adam Wainwright, Michael Lorenzen and Madison Bumgarner‘s homers in April. The blast marked his second career home run, and the first by a Nationals’ hurler since Mat Latos went deep against the Mets’ Rafael Montero last September. On the mound, Strasburg lasted 5 2/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing five hits, four walks and striking out five of 26 batters. The Nationals currently lead the Phillies 4-2 in the eighth.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.