Stephen Strasburg had a very eventful day Sunday in the Nationals’ 9-3 win over the Orioles. He hit his first big-league homer off Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, but he left the game after five innings with some biceps tightness.
”I don’t care who it was, if I find out they have tightness, they’re out”‘ manager Davey Johnson said. ”I talked to him later in the game. He said it relaxed a bit and was a lot better. I’m not as concerned when it’s in the biceps.”
Strasburg echoed those thoughts:
”The biceps is fine,” he said. ”It’s just throwing a lot of pitches early, then we put up a lot of runs and stuff. I just got a little tired, got a little tight, but that’s nothing different than any other outing.”
For now, Strasburg appears to be penciled in to make his next start, though since he’s on an innings limit this year anyway, the Nationals could always choose to give him a little break. Or they could always try him in left field. Strasburg went 2-for-2 today and is 6-for-16 with four extra-base hits at the plate this season. He was just 1-for-26 lifetime entering the season.
On the mound, Strasburg allowed three runs — one earned — in his five innings today. He fanned eight and threw 91 pitches.
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.