Stephen Strasburg will start the Nationals’ season finale

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It looks like Davey Johnson will get his wish.

From Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post comes word that the Nationals have decided to give right-hander Stephen Strasburg two more starts before the end of the 2011 season. The first will come this Friday night against the Wild Card-leading Braves. The second will be in the Nats’ season finale versus the Marlins on Wednesday, September 28.

Strasburg was originally scheduled to be shut down after Friday’s home start against Atlanta because the Nationals’ season finale is in south Florida and the club does not stand to make a significant profit. But the 23-year-old starter has displayed no signs of weakness or discomfort since returning from Tommy John surgery and should be able to put together two more outings with his prized right arm still intact.

Strasburg has posted a 1.29 ERA and 11/0 K/BB ratio in 14 innings since returning in early September.

Diamondbacks, T.J. McFarland avoid arbitration

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Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports that the Diamondbacks and reliever T.J. McFarland have avoided arbitration, agreeing on a $1.45 million salary for the 2019 season. McFarland, in his third of four years of arbitration eligibility, filed for $1.675 million while the Diamondbacks countered at $1.275 million. McFarland ended up settling for just under the midpoint of those two figures.

McFarland, 29, was terrific out of the bullpen for the D-Backs last season, finishing with a 2.00 ERA and a 42/22 K/BB ratio in 72 innings. While the lefty may not miss a lot of bats, he does induce quite a few grounders. His 67.9 percent ground ball rate last season was the third highest among relievers with at least 50 innings, trailing only Brad Ziegler (71.1%) and Scott Alexander (70.6%).

McFarland was dominant against left-handed hitters, limiting them to a .388 OPS last season, but the D-Backs deployed him nearly twice as often against right-handed hitters, who posted an aggregate .764 OPS against him. It will be interesting to see if the club decides to use him more as a platoon reliever in 2019.