- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday night’s game was supposed to be one of the showdowns of the season thus far. The Washington Nationals had undefeated Stephen Strasburg set to pitch. The Los Angeles Dodgers countered with otherworldly Clayton Kershaw, who somehow had been defeated once this season despite entering the game with a 1.58 ERA. He had struck out 133 and walked seven in 108 innings.

Instead, Strasburg was scratched because of an upper back strain, according to the team. It’s the first start of the season that the 10-0 Strasburg has missed.

“We had an idea yesterday [that he may not pitch], but our trainers were working on him,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker told reporters after the game. “They worked on him all day yesterday, they worked on him [Monday]. So, we were even thinking about it at 5 o’clock. He still felt it in there, so we thought it was best he doesn’t pitch because we have a long way to go. We don’t think it’s serious. We’re hoping that he makes his next start.”

Baker said the injury occurred when Strasburg was working out on his off day.

“It was something in his rib cage, so we thought it was best he didn’t pitch,” Baker said.

Yusmeiro Petit pitched in place of Strasburg. He allowed three runs in six innings. The Nationals lost, 4-1, extending their losing streak to three games. The good news for them is that the New York Mets have also lost three consecutive games.

Strasburg made only 23 starts last season because of an ankle injury and what he described as a “knot” in his upper back that both separately kept him from the mound. In the offseason, Strasburg had a fibrolipoma, a benign tumor, removed from his upper back.


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