Last night featured round one of what should be a compelling NL East battle between the Braves and Nationals. While the Nationals had the early advantage behind an excellent effort from Ross Detwiler, the Braves came roaring back in the late innings for an eventual 6-4 win in 10 innings.
After scoring one run in the seventh and eighth innings, the Braves evened things up in the ninth against Drew Storen, who was being asked to close with Rafael Soriano unavailable. The big blow of the inning was a wild throw by Ryan Zimmerman which sailed past second base and allowed two runs to score. The Braves pulled ahead in the 10th inning with a two-run homer by utility infielder Ramiro Pena. How’s that for unlikely heroes?
The Braves have now won seven straight games and currently own the best record in the majors at 9-1. Stephen Strasburg will try to get the Nationals back in the win column this afternoon while Tim Hudson is on the mound for Atlanta.
Your Friday box scores:
Giants 3, Cubs 4
White Sox 0, Indians 1
Reds 5, Pirates 6
Orioles 2, Yankees 5
Phillies 3, Marlins 1 (10 innings)
Blue Jays 8, Royals 4
Brewers 0, Cardinals 2
Astros 5, Angels 0
Dodgers 0, Diamondbacks 3
Tigers 3, Athletics 4 (12 innings)
Rockies 7, Padres 5
Mets 16, Twins 5
Rangers 1, Mariners 3
Rays/Red Sox – postponed
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.