- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Stephen Strasburg left Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins after only three innings of work, possibly because of injury, and the Washington Nationals lost to the Miami Marlins, 2-1. The bullpen threw six scoreless innings following Strasburg’s departure, but the offense did little to help, accumulating just three hits in the game.

With the loss, the Nationals dropped to 13-15 on the season. Strasburg drew the loss and fell to 2-3.

THE RUNDOWN: Strasburg allowed two baserunners but no runs in the first inning, then wavered in the second. It started with a triple by J.T. Realmuto that trickled under the padding in the left-field wall, confusing Michael Taylor and turning two bases into three. Ichiro Suzuki then singled to drive Realmuto in, and Strasburg hit Adeiny Hechavarria. In the following at-bat, Mat Latos laid down a sacrifice bunt, an easy out for Strasburg, who instead skipped a throw to Dan Uggla, who was covering first. He escaped the inning, then labored through the third, before exiting the game after throwing just 64 pitches. The bullpen picked him up, throwing six scoreless innings of relief, but the offense failed to do its part. Even when the Marlins botched a routine 4-6-3 double play in the ninth, giving the Nationals two on with no outs, they could not push across the tying run.

THE HIGHLIGHT: With the pitcher’s spot due up to begin the third inning, manager Matt Williams called on starter Doug Fister to pinch-hit for Strasburg, presumably a move to save the team’s bench for later in the game. Naturally, Fister, who had one hit this season, singled to right field. “Wait,” you might be thinking, “so a single is the highlight of the game?” Yes. It is. And that tells you just about everything you need to know about Washington’s production at the plate Tuesday night.

STAR OF THE GAME: Middle relievers are easily overlooked, but Sammy Solis deserves a lot of credit for keeping the Nationals in this game. In just his second big-league appearance, the lefty pitched three scoreless innings and retired nine of the 10 batters he faced. The lone blemish in his performance was an infield single by Martin Prado, which was just the second hit he’s allowed in five innings with the Nationals so far this season. Obviously the sample size is small, but as of right now, Solis looks like a guy who could serve as a left-handed complement to Tanner Roark in a long-relief or swing role. At the very least, performances like the one he had Tuesday will help fill the void left by Craig Stammen, who had season-ending forearm surgery last month.

THE TAKEAWAY: Yes, the lineup struggled. It happens. After the stretch they’ve put together over the past week, there’s no reason to worry. If you want to worry about something, just a little bit, worry about Strasburg. He didn’t look comfortable out there Tuesday night, grimacing after several pitches and drawing a visit from trainer Lee Kuntz in the second inning. Strasburg, remember, dealt with several injuries in spring training, a sprained left ankle and ingrown toenail among them. It’s unclear what was bothering him Tuesday, if anything. We’ll have more information here as available.

SEE ALSO: Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon diagnosed with left oblique strain

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