Stephen Strasburg dominates Phillies for first career shutout

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Starter Stephen Strasburg shut the Phillies out over nine innings, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out ten with 99 pitches as the Nationals wrapped up a series sweep at home with a 6-0 victory. Today’s performance marked the tenth time in his young career that Strasburg went into double-digits in strikeouts. The shutout is the first of his career and we expect there will be many, many more.

Outfielder Jayson Werth continued his torrid hitting, going 3-for-4 after entering the ballgame hitting .542 since the start of August. Werth was on third base in the fifth inning when Wilson Ramos hit a ground ball to second baseman Chase Utley. Utley made an errant throw home, allowing Werth to score on what appeared to be a close play, but catcher Erik Kratz couldn’t hold onto the ball. Werth was a little shaken up on the play, and was removed from the game in the seventh inning, replaced by Roger Bernadina.

The win is the Nats’ third in a row. They will play three games against the Giants at home before departing for a ten-game road trip against the Braves, Cubs, and Royals.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.