Nationals' Strasburg ready to face Marlins (Aug 30, 2017)

BY AP • August 30, 2017

WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was on the disabled list from July 27 to Aug. 19 with a right elbow nerve impingement.

However, Washington catcher Jose Lobaton said he has not seen a drop-off in Strasburg's performance since the San Diego native returned to the rotation for the first-place Nationals.

Strasburg (10-4, 3.10 ERA) is slated to start Wednesday afternoon against the Miami Marlins, who will counter with lefty Adam Conley (6-5, 5.17) in the series finale.

In two starts since coming off the disabled list, Strasburg is 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA.

"I like feel like he is the same," Lobaton said Tuesday of Strasburg. "His breaking ball is good, his changeup has been very good. His velocity has been the same all year, around 95 with the fastball."

Strasburg is 13-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 26 career starts against the Marlins. He will make his second start against Miami this year after defeating them 4-2 on April 3.

The Nationals (80-51) are 14 games ahead of the Marlins (66-65) in the National League East after an 8-3 Washington win on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series.

Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is 15-for-41 (.366) against Strasburg with three home runs and 13 strikeouts, while Marcell Ozuna is 11-for-31 (.355) with two homers.

Strasburg had calf cramps in his last start Thursday at Houston.

"Not worried," he said after he went six innings against the Astros.

Conley gave up five runs and 11 hits in five innings at Nationals Park on Aug. 9 in a 10-1 loss. He had three walks and four strikeouts in that game.

In his career against the Nationals, he is 1-3 with an 8.22 ERA in five starts.

The Marlins got some good news Tuesday when injured first baseman Justin Bour said his on-field batting practice "was fantastic" Monday. It was the first time he hit on the field since he went on the disabled list July 25 with a right oblique strain.

On-field batting practice was called off Tuesday because of rain. Bour, who has 21 homers, said he would go back with the team to Florida on Wednesday and then await word on a possible minor league rehab assignment this weekend.

In the action that counted, Stanton hit his 51st homer in the first inning Tuesday against Washington's Edwin Jackson. That gave him 18 homers this month to tie the August record set by the Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937.

"That's pretty cool," Stanton said of matching York. "Any major league record is a pretty awesome feat. We didn't get the win, but to be able to do that is pretty cool."

Home runs are up in the majors this year, but Marlins manager Don Mattingly said that should not take away from Stanton's accomplishments.

"No matter what you look at, you see 50, it is a big number," Mattingly said Tuesday. "You look at those numbers, they are just legit. That is pretty special. That is something he could do almost every year if he can stay on the field."

While the Marlins are reduced to slim playoff hopes, Washington's Dusty Baker said he already is managing with an eye to the postseason.

"I am doing that every day. I am trying to win games at the same time," Baker said Tuesday. "I want to see what we have."

That meant infielder Wilmer Difo started in right field on Tuesday after playing shortstop for several weeks.

Shortstop Trea Turner, hit in the wrist with a pitch in late June, returned from the disabled list Tuesday and started at shortstop as the leadoff hitter. He went 1-for-4 and made a key catch in the first inning with the bases loaded.

Turner's return occurred a day after right-hander Max Scherzer and outfielder Jayson Werth came off the disabled list.

"Trea is an impact player," Baker said. "Number one it gives us speed. He is a force."

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