Thirteen post-game notes for 13 innings of Nationals - Marlins baseball on a chilly September night in Washington…
– As Donnie Muprhy’s two-run home run broke the 1-1 tie in the 13th inning Saturday night and sailed into the visitors’ bullpen in left field, it simultaneously broke up two impressive streaks for the Nationals pitching staff.
** It was the first runs surrendered by the Nationals’ bullpen in 24 consecutive innings, a streak that stretched back to last Saturday night against the Houston Astros. In the process, the Nationals had reeled off five wins and a loss and the bullpen had held down leads less than two runs in four of those games.
** It was also the first home run surrendered by a Nationals pitcher since Lucas Duda took Livan Hernandez yard on Sunday, Sept. 4. It was a 116-inning stretch before Balester gave up the next one.
– Stephen Strasburg has now faced 50 batters in his three major league starts this season. He has yet to walk a single one, a ridiculously impressive feat for someone coming off Tommy John surgery.
** More impressive? The fact that Strasburg hasn’t surrendered a walk to any of the last 96 major league hitters he’s faced. His last walk happened August 10 in an 8-2 loss to the Marlins in a game in which he surrendered six earned runs.
– The Nationals offense was spared the indignity of getting shutout for the 15th time this season but they were only able to scratch out one run on a pitcher with a 5.13 ERA on the season. After exploding for 10 runs in their series finale with the Mets on Thursday, the Nationals offense now has just one run in its last 22 innings of work.
– Collin Balester was asked to come back out for his third inning of work Saturday night despite the fact that it appeared the Nationals had about six other relievers available in the bullpen. Nationals manager Davey johnson said later that he didn’t have as much at his disposal as it seemed. He was trying to avoid using Tyler Clippard (who’d been used a lot in New York) and Tom Gorzelanny (in case he needs him on Sunday).
– Count Marlins’ manager Jack McKeon among those who weren’t blown away by Strasburg (despite the results) but certainly saw enough to respect where he’ll be at full health.
“I don’t think he was at his best,” McKeon said. “But he still did a heck of a good job. He’s going to get better. He’ll be more consistent. It was a well-pitched game, a good played game. People got their money’s worth.”
– The double that Strasburg surrendered to Chris Volstad was on a 96-mph fastball. The other three hits he gave up were on another 96-mph fastball (single by Logan Morrison), an 81-mph curveball (single by John Buck) and on a 95-mph fastball (another single by Buck).
– Strasburg relied heavily on his fastball Saturday night, hitting 99 with it once and not dropping below 97 with it in the first inning but falling into the 94-96-mph range the rest of the evening for the most part. He only threw 13 offspeed pitches (in 61 total). Eight of those were changeups and five were curveballs.
– The Nationals are now 11-8 in extra-inning games after falling the Marlins Saturday night and fall to 44-77 against Florida since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. It gets worse, though, as the Nationals are just 18-49 against the Marlins since 2008 and the Marlins are now 26-8 at Nationals Park.
– The Nationals will send Chien-Ming Wang to the mound on Sunday, and their rotation for the following week lines up as such: Wang on Sunday, Ross Detwiler and Tommy Milone on Tuesday in Philadelphia (doubleheader), Brad Peacock on Wednesday in Philly, John Lannan on Thursday in Philly, Strasburg Friday vs. Atlanta.
– There was just one player in the Nationals lineup Saturday night that had a multi-hit night. Guess who? Michael Morse, who is now hitting .304 on the season with a .359 on-base percentage and a .542 slugging percentage.