WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Danny Espinosa and Jayson Werth were respectively
standing on second and third base during the second inning of the Nats 4-1 win over the Marlins.
Up stepped Stephen Strasburg to the plate, a player who has flabbergasted
opposing pitchers and managers with his success swinging the baseball bat thus far in 2012.
You could hear the murmurs -- both in the press box and in the crowd. He
couldn't deliver again, could he?
As quickly as his fastball zipped by the
Marlins on Sunday afternoon, Strasburg had looped an 0-1 slider from Ricky Nolasco into
shallow right field, scoring both Werth and Espinosa.
The Nats would later add two more runs in the bottom of the second, taking a commanding 4-0 lead. Strasburg had tormented
another team with his bat.
"I think they are starting to pitch me more like a hitter, which is kind of cool, because they respect me a little more at the plate," said Strasburg.
"We love it," Adam LaRoche said of Strasburg's potent swing. Unfortunately the rest of his audio was drowned out by the country music the Nats were blasting after the win.
The RBI's totaled Strasburg's sixth and seventh on the season and his .342
batting average leads all pitchers in the National League.
"I can't explain [the success at the plate]. Just trying to not strike out every time. Just trying to do my job," said Strasburg. "It's big when you have a pitcher in the lineup that can handle the bat."
Strasburg's day at the plate overshadowed his valiant work on the mound --
6.0 innings pitched, six strikeouts, and just three hits allowed. In terms of
efficiency, it was Strasburg's best home start since a June 2nd gem against the
"With any young pitcher, it's [about] the early innings," said Davey Johnson after the win. Johnson said Strasburg executed his strategy on Sunday. "He was comfortable with what he was doing."
"The four days in between felt like a long time," said Strasburg, recalling his last start where the Phillies shelled him for six earned runs last Tuesday. "I was just trying not to over-analyze everything and move forward."
And for those keeping track, Strasburg has now thrown 127.1 innings on the
season. If you are mathematically challenged, that leaves 33.2 innings
left if his limit is 160 innings, or 53.2 innings left if his limit is
*Bryce Harper had two noteworthy moments. The first was a headfirst diving
catch in center field to end the top of the second inning. The second
occurrence happened in the bottom of the fourth. Following a strikeout, Harper
slammed his bat on home plate, shattering the wood into two separate pieces. Harper did not take any media requests after the game.
*Michael Morse extended his hit streak to 14-games, a season high for the
Nationals. It was also his bobble head day at Nationals Park.
*Adam LaRoche knocked in two Nats runners, upping his RBI total to 71
season. Just to compare, Prince Fielder has 79 total RBI's, but is
making $23 million this season. LaRoche's salary? Only $8 million. Another superb decison by general manager Mike Rizzo.
*Drew Storen notched his first save of 2012. In no way does this mean he is the team's closer -- Tyler Clippard had worked three days in a row. But it was encouraging to see Storen come through in a pressure situation, especially striking out Jose Reyes, the MLB's hottest player.