Stephen Strasburg can breathe a little easier now. With a 6-2 victory against the San Diego Padres on Thursday night, Strasburg garnered his second victory of the season, his first since opening day on April 1.
The Washington starter worked eight innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out four.
This was the first time in Strasburg’s major league career that he pitched in the eighth inning, doing so on 117 pitches, two shy of his career high of 119 that was set on June 8, 2012 in a 7-4 victory over Boston.
Strasburg’s performance is likely to quell critics of his proclivity to exit the game after an average of six innings and his personalized pitch count that has followed him since his call-up in 2010.
Strasburg looked stout in his ninth start of the season, maintaining good velocity on his fastball (clocked at 94 MPH) and showing a great deal of patience in the later innings of the game.
As Tyler Clippard began warming up in the bullpen in the eighth inning, Strasburg did not appear to be phased. Instead, he pitched the game and continued to throw off-speed pitches along with his heater.
With two outs in the eighth, Strasburg issued a walk to Chase Headley, grimacing in disappointment following the ball four changeup. Although this may have been a sign of fatigue, Strasburg was able to get the next batter, Yonder Alonso, to ground out to second to end the inning.
Although his 2-5 record reflects nothing short of mediocrity, Strasburg has pitched much better than his numbers let off. Such a lopsided record can be attributed to the fact that Washington’s offense has only scored an average of 2.3 runs with Strasburg on the mound this season, coupled with the ML leading eight unearned runs that he has allowed.
Despite such misfortunes, Strasburg can relish his second win of the season and bring a boost of confidence into his next start on May 21 against the San Francisco Giants.
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