WASHINGTON — Too unhealthy Stephen Strasburg cannot pitch daily.

If he might, the Washington Nationals would not have to fret in regards to the all of the sudden questionable well being of Max Scherzer. They would not have to fret fairly a lot about who’s going to gobble up all these bullpen innings. Maybe most significantly, they would not have to fret about who’s beginning towards the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

Throughout Sunday’s 11-Four win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Strasburg was downright dominant. Dealing with a potent lineup that is borderline all-powerful towards righties, Strasburg restricted L.A. to a run and two hits over seven innings. He struck out 9 and did not stroll a batter. Based on ESPN Stats & Data, it was solely the fifth time this season {that a} right-hander has held the Dodgers — who personal baseball’s finest document (69-38), and boast an .834 OPS towards righties (finest within the NL) — to 1 run or fewer. Of these outings, the one pitcher to surrender two hits or fewer was Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs. All of which is to say, Strasburg was actually good. Once more.

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Sadly for the Nationals, Strasburg is not scheduled to take the hill once more till Friday, which suggests he’ll be a nonfactor when the first-place Braves go to D.C. for a key three-game set that begins Monday. However proper now, that is the least of Washington’s worries.

As for the highest of Washington’s worries, proper now that’d be Scherzer. Following Sunday’s win over L.A., supervisor Dave Martinez stated that his ace in all probability would miss his subsequent scheduled begin, on Tuesday towards Atlanta. Though it is not superb for June’s NL pitcher of the month to overlook an enormous July sequence towards the Braves, it will be infinitely much less troublesome if it have been only a single, solitary begin.

However Scherzer has already missed time this month. On condition that he was lifted after solely 5 innings and 85 pitches (each very un-Scherzerian totals) in his return from the injured record, and provided that he obtained a stem cell shot in his barking again the subsequent day and hasn’t thrown in any respect since, it is solely doable that his well being points might linger properly into August. Within the meantime, the Nationals are targeted on the final three days of July.

“You may make up some floor since you’re taking part in the individuals which can be in first,” second baseman Brian Dozier stated.

Certain, the Braves have a cushty 5½-game lead over Washington and spent the primary half of the season wanting like one in all MLB’s elite groups, however they have been mortal for the reason that All-Star break. On Sunday, they fell 9-Four to the Philadelphia Phillies, their seventh loss of their previous 11 video games. Over the weekend, they misplaced shortstop Dansby Swanson and proper fielder Nick Markakis to the injured record. Though Swanson’s bruised foot should not hold him out for too lengthy, Markakis has a damaged wrist that is anticipated to sideline him for six to eight weeks. Regardless of the Braves’ potential flaws, and regardless of the chance to shut the hole, the Nationals aren’t placing an excessive amount of emphasis on the sequence. Not less than not publicly.

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“Each sport’s necessary,” Strasburg stated following Sunday’s win. “I believe it is at that time within the yr the place we simply must hold our heads down, not take a look at the scoreboard. It is a dash to the end line now. Whoever we have got, we will give it the whole lot we’ve got and let the chips fall as they might.”

In fact, what Strasburg and the Nationals have proper now could be completely different than what they could have come Wednesday afternoon at Four p.m. ET, when the top of MLB’s commerce deadline arrives. Of all of the contenders that want reduction assist, and there are oodles, Washington is true on the entrance of the road. Though the bullpen dominoes are lastly beginning to fall — over the weekend, the Oakland Athletics acquired lefty Jake Diekman from the Kansas Metropolis Royals, and the Minnesota Twins grabbed veteran Sergio Romo from the Miami Marlins — the wild-card main Nats have but to make the commerce (or two) that everybody is anticipating them to make.

Within the meantime, their bullpen, which sports activities a 6.07 ERA (worst within the majors), continues to be the weakest of weak hyperlinks. And Scherzer’s harm points, which have robbed Washington of one of many sport’s most reliable workhorses, solely determine to tax an already paper-thin bullpen much more. Which brings us again to Strasburg.

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“He is been unbelievable,” Martinez stated in regards to the former prime total decide, who has a 3.26 ERA, leads the majors in wins (14-4) and is on tempo to set a profession excessive for innings pitched. He has even been productive on the plate, the place he is at the moment using a three-game hit streak and has extra RBIs this month (six) than earned runs allowed (4). “All the pieces about him this yr has been superb.”

Maybe probably the most superb factor about Strasburg, so far as Martinez and the Nats are involved, is that he has been in a position to keep wholesome this season. Over the previous few years, it often has been Strasburg — a supremely proficient hurler who has developed a repute for being fragile — who finally ends up lacking time, whereas the indestructible Scherzer picks up the slack. These days although, their roles have been reversed.

“I believe that is one thing that you simply guys wish to make a much bigger level of it,” stated Strasburg, downplaying the notion that his sensible July (5-0, 1.14 ERA) is in some way extra significant as a result of it has come at a time when Washington has been lacking its ace. “However when you ask anyone in right here, when it is our time to go, we’re right here to assist the workforce win some video games.”

When the Braves come to city this week, odds are that neither Strasburg nor Scherzer will probably be serving to the Nationals win any video games. That’s, except Strasburg will get deployed as a pinch hitter.

“Yeah,” Strasburg stated with a self-deprecating snicker when reminded that he saved his hitting streak alive Sunday. “It is higher to be fortunate than good generally.”

Proper now, the Nationals will take both one.