Stephen Strasburg entered Thursday's start against the Dodgers with a pristine 13-0 record and hadn't lost since Sept. 9 of 2015. This season, his perfect mark had plenty to do with his own performance, but he's enjoyed some of the best run support of any pitcher in baseball. Entering Thursday, Strasburg had the second-best average run support in baseball, 6.44 runs per game.
That luck ran was bound to run out and in the Nats' 6-3 loss to the Dodgers, Strasburg found trouble early. He then saw the Nationals lineup squander chance after chance against eight L.A. pitchers that combined to throw nine innings and keep them to 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Strasburg's two key mistakes were to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner. Turner clubbed two homers with five RBI combined to make up the majority of Strasburg's season-high six earned runs.
“It was just a grind for whatever reason," Strasburg said. "Couldn’t get ahead on him in those AB’s. But I really wasn’t getting ahead on some other guys too. I think once I got past those first two innings I started to throw more first pitch strikes but that’s always a big point in the game is getting ahead on the hitters.”
Strasburg found his groove after allowing all six of his runs in the first three innings. He threw three scoreless frames to finish his start and ended up with 10 strikeouts. Strasburg retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced and impressed manager Dusty Baker along the way.
"I was actually more impressed by Stras today that he didn't blow up, it was extremely hot today and he kept the game where it was," Baker said.
Strasburg has been reluctant to talk about his streak all season, often pointing to the all the things that factor into a pitcher's win that are out of his control.
“There’s been games where I feel like I probably deserved a loss and the team picked me up," he said.
“That’s something that I can’t control. I told myself at the start of the year going into last year that I was going to be relentless regardless of circumstance. I’m going to go out there and battle the whole time. Sometimes it might not be pretty and sometimes it will look pretty good. I’m just going to continue to do that.”
In the middle of perhaps his most impressive season so far, Strasburg isn't ready to stop and smell the roses. He would prefer to focus on his next outing and hope for better results against the Indians next week.
Baker, though, was willing to offer a more detailed analysis.
"During that streak he was outstanding. You know every streak's going to end, that's the best streak I've ever seen, I think. So it was just untimely that it ended today but you knew it was going to end some day. So now you just go back to the drawing board and start a new streak," he said.
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