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Stephen Strasburg becomes fastest pitcher in MLB to 1,500 strikeouts

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Stephen Strasburg becomes fastest pitcher in MLB to 1,500 strikeouts

In the fifth inning of the Nationals' 2-1 win over the Cardinals on Thursday, Stephen Strasburg rang up St. Louis pitcher Dakota Hudson for his eighth strikeout of the game.

But more importantly, the strikeout was Strasburg's 1,500th of his career. Strasburg needed just 1,272 and 1/3 innings to reach No. 1,500, setting a record for the fastest player in major league history to reach 1,500 career strikeouts

When asked about what this milestone means to him, Strasburg said that it is "pretty cool." He noted that strikeouts are not everything and it is important for him to focus on each pitch rather than his strikeout count. 

He surpasses Chris Sale of the Red Sox who previously held the record when he hit the milestone in August 2017.

Though Strasburg has had his fair share of injuries, manager Davey Martinez hopes for a long season full of milestones. "This only tells me what an unbelievable pitcher he really is," Martinez said in his postgame press conference.  "The way he is going right now, if he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit." 

Teammate Max Scherzer, threw his 2,500th career strikeout last week. 

In 2014, Strasburg led the NL East in strikeouts, racking up 247 K's. He finished the game with nine strikeouts in six and two thirds innings, pushing his 2019 season total to 57. 

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Max Scherzer takes the next step toward returning to the mound for the Nationals

Max Scherzer takes the next step toward returning to the mound for the Nationals

BALTIMORE -- Max Scherzer emerged from the visitor's dugout about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday and walked to left field. A bullpen catcher, director of athletic training, Paul Lessard, and a couple of other watchful eyes went with him.

Scherzer progressively backed up while throwing in the outfield. By the end, he was roughly 90 feet from the catcher and throwing with clear effort.

The nightly news will not lead with the development. However, it's progress for Scherzer. Manager Davey Martinez said Scherzer came out of the session -- a little further apart, a little more intense than Tuesday's version -- feeling well. 

So, what's next? Thursday, Scherzer could throw a "light" bullpen session in Atlanta. that will determine if he pitches Sunday. Scherzer (mid-back strain) is first eligible to come off the 10-day injured list Saturday.

The Nationals have their rotation for the series against Atlanta otherwise set: Stephen Strasburg on Thursday, Patrick Corbin on Friday, and Anibal Sanchez on Saturday. If Scherzer can't pitch Sunday, Austin Voth would be on the turn. 

Washington entered play Wednesday night six games behind first-place Atlanta, which lost Wednesday afternoon to Milwaukee. The Braves lost two of three to the Brewers, dropping a series for the first time since time June 4-6. Washington can creep as close as 5 1/2 games back before the four-game series begins.

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Mike Rizzo provides an injury update on Max Scherzer

Mike Rizzo provides an injury update on Max Scherzer

After being placed on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain, Max Scherzer is supposed to come off of the IL by Saturday in time for the Nationals' third game of their series against the Atlanta Braves.

When he will actually pitch, is another question.

On Tuesday, Scherzer reportedly told manager Davey Martinez he's feeling "a lot better." Nationals GM Mike Rizzo followed up those comments during his spot on The Sports Junkies Wednesday.

"If he’s capable of pitching he will," Rizzo said.

Rizzo told the Junkies that he will find out more information about Scherzer's status prior to Wednesday's final game against the Baltimore Orioles. He said he, in conjunction with the Nationals' medical personnel, made the decision to place Scherzer on the 10-day IL.

“He was incapable of pitching the way Max Scherzer pitches so we all decided to put him on the IL," Rizzo said.

Scherzer was scheduled to start against the Braves this weekend, but the decision will depend on how Scherzer feels.

‘We’re still in July," Rizzo said. "Guarantee you this: If this is September and we needed this win, you couldn’t keep Max off the mound. Sometimes I have to be the adult in the room and just say, ‘sorry, buddy, not this time.”

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