The Washington Nationals have had a less than ideal season thus far.
The reigning N.L. East champs entered the All-Star Break 5.5 games back of first place, have a new manager that has gotten his fair share of criticism, are riddled with injuries contributing to a lengthy disabled list and seem to be frustrated to no end on the baseball field.
In his first game back following a right shoulder injury that landed him on the DL for over a month, Stephen Strasburg started Friday night's game in Washington against the Braves, one of tewo teams above the Nats in the East standings.
Following a poor outing in the fifth inning in which Davey Martinez decided to pull Strasburg, fellow ace Max Scherzer attempted to greet the starter. Strasburg brushed Scherzer off as he sat down on the bench and the two got into what seemed like a very heated exchange.
Scherzer and Strasburg (closer look):— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 21, 2018
Strasburg saying "I get it, I get it. Right. Right"
Scherzer pointing: "Let's go down there. I wanna talk to you." pic.twitter.com/3o61vm2fUt
The Nationals never recovered from Strasburg's start and fell to the Braves 8-5 in Washington.
The frustration was evident as Martinez met with Scherzer and Strasburg to hash out the argument, delaying postgame clubhouse access to the media while their meeting was going on.
The meeting was kept under lock by Martinez, Scherzer, and Strasburg, who chalked it up to just being a part of the "family."
So, uh, what happened?— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) July 21, 2018
Strasburg: "It's part of family, man. You got to be in the family."
Strasburg wouldn’t divulge any details, saying that’s only for those who are “in the family.” Scherzer was not available in the clubhouse while we were in there.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) July 21, 2018
According to Martinez, the dugout conversation was hashed out and he immediately brushed it off when pressed for questions.
Davey: "We had a really good conversation. I'll just say that. It was addressed. Look, they're very competitive. Everybody is. I'm glad we talked. It's over. Let's move forward. These guys are professionals. We're good. I'm good that we had the conversation."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 21, 2018
The Nationals look to even up the series against The Braves in Washington tonight.
MORE NATIONALS NEWS:
Friday night marks the first second-half game of Major League Baseball's 162-game season.
The Washington Nationals begin 5.5 games out of the first-place Phillies and host the second-place Braves for a three-game series before traveling to Milwaukee.
One big piece to Dave Martinez's staff who has been missing since June 8 is Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander was activated from the DL and will start on the mound Friday night.
Ryan Zimmerman was also activated but is not in Martinez's starting lineup.
Prior to experiencing inflammation in his right shoulder during a June 8 start that forced him out of the game early, Strasburg saw flashes of dominance throughout his 13 starts owning a 3.46 ERA with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings.
Zimmerman hasn't played since May 9 due to a strained right oblique. With the emergence of Matt Adams, it will be interesting to see how Martinez uses both guys throughout the summer.
Here is a look at Friday night's official lineup:
According to Byron Kerr, Zimmerman is still happy to be back, despite not being in the starting lineup.
Catch the Nationals hosting the Braves Friday at 7:05 p.m. on MASN2.