Strasburg gem wasted by bullpen, Washington Nationals lose 4-0

WP – J. Henderson (3-2) LP – D. Storen (2-2)

Stephen Strasburg threw seven strong innings, scattering three hits, and striking out eight.  His record remains at 4-6 but he improves his season ERA to 2.24.  He escaped one jam in the sixth inning, allowing the Milwaukee Brewers to get the bases loaded with only one out, partially due to another atypical error by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.  Strasburg was able to strike out the next two batters though to end the inning. 

Drew Storen proceeded to implode in the top of the eighth, allowing four runs.  He gave up back to back singles to Logan Schafer and Rickie Weeks before allowing both runners to score on a double by Juan Francisco.  Francisco came in to score on a play ruled a double by Martin Maldonado.  The ball was well hit but Bryce Harper in his second game back from injury should have caught the ball as it tipped off the top of his glove.  Jeff Bianchi singled to left to score Maldonado which ended up being the last run of the night.

The Nationals looked as if they were going to get things started early, as they had two runners in scoring position in the first and another in the second but were unable to capitalize once again.  The see saw nature of the Nationals offense this year was on full display, going from 23 runs in the last two games to a complete shutout.

Wily Peralta pitched an outstanding ballgame for the Brewers, going five and a third innings of shutout pitching before having to leave with an apparent injury sustained throwing a pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. He attempted a second pitch after the initial pain throwing off the mound.  He seemed to have something wrong with his hip but I am sure the team will release details at a later time.  The Brewers bullpen pitched a solid three and two thirds inning to complete the shutout.

The Nationals looked like they might have one last hope of getting back into the game as Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon singled back to back to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, but the rally ended there with Kurt Suzuki watching strike three, pinch hitter Roger Bernadina struck out swinging and Denard Span hit a weak line drive to the shortstop.

Span, Rendon and Zimmerman each had two hits apiece in this losing effort but the team couldn’t put the hits together to get anything more done

The Nationals continued their inability to avoid the strikeout themselves, giving eight outs back without putting the ball in play.  Surprisingly the Nationals are only middle of the pack in this category at almost eight per game, not even coming close to the league leading Detroit Tigers who strikeout almost 9.2 times per game.

The Nationals fall to 42-41 overall, and 5-31 in games that they score less than three runs.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.

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