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Strasburg delivers 'gutsy performance' day after suffering from illness


Strasburg delivers 'gutsy performance' day after suffering from illness

Even as Stephen Strasburg kept the Atlanta Braves lineup at bay throughout much of Thursday's 6-2 win, Nationals manager Dusty Baker could tell in between innings that his starter still wasn't feeling quite right. 

"He came off [the mound] like he was close to needing mouth-to-mouth," Baker said. "I wasn't going to give it to him. I mean, he was struggling big time."

Strasburg, who missed his scheduled Wednesday start with flu-like symptoms, earned his second win of the season despite battling both illness and early command issues. Seemingly running on fumes, the 27-year-old right hander allowed just two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings while striking out seven. 

"Big time," Baker said of the outing. "That was a gutsy performance. Because it didn't look like he had it [early on]."

Strasburg's condition was enough of a concern that there was doubt he'd start Thursday's matinee, with the Nats' skipper tapping reliever Yusmeiro Petit as his contingency plan just in case. But Strasburg let Baker know in the clubhouse a few hours before the game that he was going to be ready. 

β€œI was going to go out there and give it everything I had and that’s what I told them," Strasburg said. "So whatever that was going to be, they were going to get it."

Strasburg explained that his body has a hard time adjusting from Vienna, Florida's warmer climate to D.C.'s chillier spring temperatures. However, he appeared to have to gained strength as the game wore on. 

"It took a little while to settle in," he said. "Once the game got going I guess I sweated it out a little bit and started to lock in.”

Catcher Wilson Ramos said that Strasburg's fastball was out of the strike zone early on, so he had to rely on the rest of his arsenal to keep Braves' hitters off balance. That includes a newly-developed slider, a pitch Strasburg said previously that he's not utilizing despite the fact that opposing hitters, stadium scoreboard operators and even his own catcher are describing it as such. 

"We mixed it up really well with the changeup, curveball and a slider," Ramos said.  "Those secondary pitches help him to come back with his fastball. After that, he threw many fastballs really well."

Illness or not, Strasburg is off to a solid start to 2016, the final year he's under contract with the Nats. He's pitched as least six innings in each of his two starts (both against the Braves), compiling a 1.98 ERA with 11 strikeouts to four walks. And the hope for the Nats is that, like Thursday's effort, even an off-his-game Strasburg can prove to be just as effective as any starter in Washington's rotation. 

"Being able to go out there and do what he did today, that's pretty special," outfielder Bryce Harper said. "He threw the crap out of it and really went about it the right way. He did what he needed to do."

[RELATED: The way Bryce Harper reached HR No. 100 speaks to his greatness]

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

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Did Max Scherzer's dance moves cause the Junkies' broadcast to lose power?

Watching Max Scherzrer rack up Ks during a game is a usual sight for fans.

Dancing is not.

On Wednesday while the Sports Junkies were broadcasting at Nats Spring Training in West Palm Beach, we got a taste of what the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner has to offer on the dance floor. 

With just about a week left until their season kicks off, manager Dave Martinez hired a DJ for the day's workout, saying he wanted to "turn it up a notch." 

Well he turned it up a few too many notches, causing the back end of the complex where the Junkies were broadcasting to lose power.

While the Junkies were put in a pickle because of said DJ, we were able to get a glance of Scherzer dancing to Drakes' "God's Plan."


It's nice to see the usually lazer-focused pitcher let loose.

While Scherzer's dance moves didn't actually cause the Junkies to lose power, it's nice to think they were too much for the ballpark to handle. 

106.7 The Fans Sports Junkies simulcasts on NBC Sports Washington every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 am ET. You can stream the Sports Junkies right here

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again β€” when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner β€” and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down β€” in order β€” the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful β€” and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats.