Marlins open series at home vs. Nationals
The possibly imminent shutdown of Stephen
Strasburg is one of the popular topics in Washington these days, but it
won’t come soon enough for the Miami Marlins.
The Nationals’ young right-hander has thrown 27 consecutive scoreless
innings against the Marlins, and he’ll try to help Washington end a
four-game slide in the opener of a two-game set in Miami on Tuesday
Strasburg (15-5, 2.85 ERA) is up to
145 1-3 innings for the season, and the organization’s stance on
protecting him has sparked a debate among fans and media.
General manager Mike Rizzo said the Nationals (77-50) will shut down
Strasburg for the season at some point, but won’t divulge a timetable or
a targeted number of innings. The club isn’t concerned about outside
opinions on the subject.
“It’s really easy
for the bloggers and the tweeters and all those people to say `Why
don’t you do this?’ or ‘We can do that. Get him out of the bullpen’ and
blah, blah, blah, blah,” manager Davey Johnson said. “I’ve heard it all,
and I said, it’s a good thing you guys aren’t managing, and I’m the one
that’s managing. You do what’s best for the player. Always. No. 1.”
This outing comes after Washington totaled five runs in getting swept
by Philadelphia over the weekend. Johnson was heard screaming at
someone in the clubhouse after Rizzo was seen entering it after a 4-1
loss Sunday, with the manager sarcastically suggesting that person “come
down here” and run the team.
afterward would only say that he had “a discussion with my boss” after
Washington’s fourth straight loss – one shy of matching its season high.
There’s no arguing how Strasburg has dominated the Marlins (58-71),
having not allowed a run against them since Sept. 17 – a stretch
spanning five starts that lasted six innings apiece. He’s struck out 19
and walked three over three games against Miami this year, earning two
Shortstop Jose Reyes is the
Marlins regular who has troubled him the most, going 4 for 9 with two
doubles. Giancarlo Stanton is 1 for 8 with four strikeouts against
Strasburg, but Stanton hit eight homers during Miami’s just-completed
11-game road trip.
Strasburg improved to
4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in August by allowing one run over six innings of a
4-1 win over Atlanta last Tuesday. His nine road wins are one fewer than
teammate Gio Gonzalez’s NL-leading total.
Miami’s Ricky Nolasco (9-12, 5.07) was on the mound for both of
Strasburg’s victories over the Marlins this year, and he gets the
unlucky matchup again. He’s gone 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in those outings.
The right-hander is 1-6 with a 6.70 ERA in eight starts since the
All-Star break. Nolasco gave up five runs over five innings of a 6-5,
10-inning win at Arizona last Tuesday.
The Nationals could have shortstop Ian Desmond and first baseman Michael
Morse in the lineup Tuesday. Neither has started since last Wednesday –
Desmond due to a strained right hamstring and Morse because of a right
Although these teams are
at opposite ends of the NL East standings, Washington has only taken
seven of 13 matchups. Reyes is hitting .352 with six doubles in the
season series while Adam LaRoche has three homers, seven RBIs and nine
runs for the Nationals.
The Marlins are starting a nine-game homestand after ending a four-game slide with a 6-2 win over the Dodgers on Sunday.