The Nationals have placed starter Stephen Strasburg on the 15-day disabled list with an upper back strain, MASN’s Dan Kolko reports. The move is retroactive to June 16, the day after the right-hander’s most recent start. Strasburg apparently suffered the injury while lifting weights.
Strasburg was scratched from last Monday’s start against the Dodgers. The Nationals were hopeful he would be able to made his next scheduled start, which would have been Sunday afternoon against the Brewers.
This a tough pill to swallow for the Nationals, who have lost seven games in a row. Strasburg is 10-0 with a 2.90 ERA and a 118/24 K/BB ratio in 93 innings this season.
As Kolko notes, the Nationals could send Joe Ross out to the mound on Monday night, then pick a spot starter for Tuesday, potentially Yusmeiro Petit. Petit filled in for Strasburg last Monday, giving up three runs in five hits and a walk with five strikeouts in six innings.
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.