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Preview, #111: 8/3 vs. Nationals

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Here’s to a repeat of the last time we saw Strasburg.

Washington Nationals v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

NATIONALS DIAMONDBACKS
Trea Turner - SS Jarrod Dyson - RF
Adam Eaton - RF Ketel Marte - CF
Anthony Rendon - 3B Eduardo Escobar - 2B
Juan Soto - LF David Peralta - LF
Kurt Suzuki - C Christian Walker - 1B
Brian Dozier - 2B Jake Lamb - 3B
Gerardo Parra - 1B Nick Ahmed - SS
Victor Robles - CF Alex Avila - C
S. Strasburg - RHP Robbie Ray - LHP

Well, let’s see if the offense shows up a bit more than they did yesterday. Not that they can do much else, with the entire position player line-up being held hitless. And that was mostly by a starting pitcher who STILL has an ERA of 8.10, even after one-hitting the Diamondbacks over five innings of shutout ball. And, today, they only have to go up against the man leading the National League in wins, Stephen Strasburg having a record of 14-4 thus far. Las seven starts? 7-0 with a 2.22 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 44.2 innings of work. That said, the D-backs were responsible for one of Strasburg’s worst starts of the year, when the faced him in Washington on June 15: a season-high nine hits and six runs in five innings.

If that’s any clue, then getting to him early would seem to be key. First time through the order in that contest, Arizona were 5-for-9 with three home-runs, Ketel Marte, Adam Jones and Christian Walker all taking Strasburg deep. That does seem to be a bit of a trend: over the opening three innings, the pitcher’s ERA this year is a moderate 3.95, but drops to 2.65 thereafter. Funnily enough though, the only two home-runs he has allowed in the first inning were in that game versus the Diamondbacks. It’d be nice if the team can do something similar early here, give Robbie Ray a cushion with which to work and continue his recent run of impressive performances.

There there’s this:

Torey Lovullo media briefing

  • Robbie Ray blocked out distractions of trade rumors. Did not let it affect him at all. Torey does not want to put the “Ace” label on Ray, just wants him to continue to be himself.
  • Key to his performance is throwing strikes more consistently with better alignment, release point, timing
  • Did not answer clearly my question if reduction in velocity was intentional to gain additional command
  • But said Ray is getting to know himself better and can back down and “pitch” when he’s not quite feeling it
  • For the series against the Phillies, it will be Merrill Kelly, Mike Leake and Zac Gallen for starting pitchers from Monday to Wednesday respectively.
  • Believes there was possibly a bit of a “Trade Deadline Hangover” yesterday.