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Game #126: Diamondbacks @ Nationals

The brutal road-trip doesn't get any easier for Arizona, as they face Stephen Strasburg this evening in Washington. Chase Anderson starts for the Diamondbacks.

Kevin Liles
Chase Anderson
RHP, 7-4, 3.16
Stephen Strasburg
RHP, 9-10, 3.53
Ender Inciarte - CF Denard Span - CF
Aaron Hill - 2B Anthony Rendon - 3B
David Peralta - RF Jayson Werth - RF
Mark Trumbo - LF Adam LaRoche - 1B
Miguel Montero - C Ian Desmond - SS
Jordan Pacheco - 1B Bryce Harper - LF
Jake Lamb - 3B Asdrubal Cabrera - 2B
Didi Gregorius - SS Jose Lobaton - C
Chase Anderson - RHP Stephen Strasburg - RHP

Remember all the fuss about Strasburg? The #1 pick in the 2010 draft was called the "most-hyped pick in draft history" by ESPN and the "most hyped and closely watched pitching prospect in the history of baseball" by Sports Illustrated. When he struck out 14 batters over seven innings in his debut as a 21-year-old, it seemed like the anticipation might, for once, be justified. But since then.... Well, he has become a decent enough pitcher, certainly, and 7.5 bWAR since the start of 2012 is nothing to disdain. But it only ranks Strasburg 35th in the majors over that time, and having turned 26 last month, you have to wonder how much more ceiling there is.

That said, there's some evidence his mediocre numbers this year e.g. a 106 ERA+ is not all his fauilt. He's still striking out a ton of people - his 194 K's leads the NL, in fact - and a BABIP of .341 is higher than you'd expected, though some of that is probably down to an increased line-drive rate. His FIP, based off his K, BB and HR rates, is down below three, nearer what it was when he went 15-6 in 2012, as opposed to the 17-19 record he has posted since. It would probably be a mistake to take him lightly, even if our offense wasn't struggling. Over 271 PAs on this road trip, Arizona is now hitting below the Uecker Line, at .198, with a .555 OPS. It won't be easy tonight.