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Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg allows seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in return to mound

Nationals' Stephen Strasburg allows seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in return to mound

For the first time in more than a year, Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg took the mound in big-league action. The result was an ugly line with some positives mixed in. 

Through four innings against the Marlins, the story looked something like “Strasburg is back, only a tough-luck first muddies up the stat line.” Things unraveled in the fifth, though. A quick breakdown: 

  • In the first inning, Jazz Chisholm led off with a bunt single. It was perfectly placed. It’s a credit to Chisholm, but also not really a negative for Strasburg. After two groundouts, Strasburg was a very close call on a 3-2 count away from getting out of the inning. The call didn’t go his way and then two well-placed hits that weren’t struck all that well meant it was a 3-0 Marlins lead. Strasburg was so close away from a zero on the scoreboard. 
  • In the second inning, Strasburg started to mix in his changeup and things immediately clicked. He struck out all three hitters he faced. We all missed seeing him make hitters look this badly, didn’t we? 
  • In the third and fourth innings, he worked around a hit-by-pitch and walk to get six outs in seven hitters. It was strikeouts and weak contact (the hardest-hit ball was an 88.4 miles-per-hour flyout). 
  • In the fifth inning, he would only get two outs — a hard lineout and an outfield assist. He would cough up two singles (one was another Chisholm bunt, just to be clear), two doubles and a booming home run. The Jesús Sánchez two-run shot chased Strasburg from the game. 

The final line: 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

There were definitely positives. The changeup looked great, especially in the second inning. The curve looked sharp for the most part. Through four innings, it was a damn fine outing. Just to see him back on the mound after such a major surgery was a plus on its own. 

There were concerns as well. Strasburg’s fastball was hit hard on occasion and only drew one…

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