Stephen Strasburg will make his second rehab start Friday and is slated to throw three innings for Single-A Potomac.
It’s actually a bit of a surprise that the Nationals are missing a second opportunity to cash in here. Potomac’s Pfitzner Stadium already figured to be packed Friday as the result of the highly anticipated Ian Desmond bobblehead giveaway.
Strasburg gave up one run and struck out four in 1 2/3 innings for low Single-A Hagerstown in his first rehab start Sunday. He threw 31 pitches in that one. He’ll be on a limit of 50 pitches in Friday’s game.
The plan is for Strasburg to join the Nationals in early September. He’s expected to take the rotation spot of Jordan Zimmermann, who is being shut down because of innings-limit prescribed by the team.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.