augusta free press news

Strasburg, easing into 2020 regular season, pitches Nats to exhibition win over O’s

washington nationalsStephen Strasburg did what he needed to do to get ready for the regular season. Howie Kendrick had a homer and an RBI double. The Washington Nationals got their first win of the summer Monday, winning at Baltimore, 4-2.

Strasburg sat 90-92 mph with the fastball, going to 93 mph on only two of his 81 pitches on the night.

His average fastball in 2019 was a career-low 94.3, as he pitched his way to an 18-6 record and 3.32 ERA in the regular season, then went 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in the postseason on his way to being named the MVP of the 2019 World Series.

Strasburg allowed a run on six hits in five innings of work, striking out six without walking a batter, throwing strikes on 52 of his 81 pitches.

He had to pitch around trouble a couple of times – stranding runners at second and third and one out in the Orioles first, getting Renato Nunez to pop up, then inducing a rollover grounder from Chris Davis to end that threat, then getting Nunez to ground out with two on and two out in the third.

Baltimore starter Alex Cobb held the Nats hitless through three, before Kendrick got Washington on the board with one on and two outs in the fourth, driving a 2-2 fastball to the bleachers in straightaway left.

Kendrick started at first, with veteran Asdrubal Cabrera getting the start at third ahead of rookie prospect Carter Kieboom, the eventual heir apparent to departed star Anthony Rendon.

Newly acquired Eric Thames (Milwaukee) got the start at DH.

The Nats and O’s conclude their summer camp home-and-home tomorrow at 6:05 p.m. at Nationals Park.

Story by Chris Graham