Team Record: 14-4
About Strasburg's start - With Bryce Harper and Chris Heisey's homers, and a lot of other stuff through 16 innings, Stephen Strasburg's Sunday start sort of got lost in the shuffle. The right-hander posted the 23rd double digit strikeout game of his career and was dominant through seven innings. But he found trouble in the eighth inning when he allowed a three-run homer to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
One part of his outing, in particular, was interesting. That was the fact he threw 114 pitches. He has now reached the century mark in three straight outings. Now, 114 isn't ridiculous, but it is early in the season to push a pitcher longer than they usually go. On this day, though, manager Dusty Baker wanted to give his bullpen as much rest as he could. That was, of course, before the game unexpectedly went to 16 innings.
“My bullpen was spent," Baker said. "We were hoping he could get through that one inning. Plus we gave him a chance to try to win that game. This guy has been dealing, and the worst thing is to take a pitcher out who’s been dealing all game, and then you bring in a reliever and it might not be his fault, but in a matter of seconds the work he did for the day ends up in a loss. That’s certainly what I don’t wish for my players.”
Strasburg had no problem going out for the eighth inning. He also had a funny joke about how the homer he gave up helped set the stage for Harper and Heisey.
"Happy to oblige, I guess."
Tough road ahead - The Nationals have three games against the Phillies this week before embarking on a brutal road swing through St. Louis, Kansas City and then Chicago to play the Cubs. That's all before the Nats return home to face the Tigers and Marlins. After that it's the Mets, Marlins, Mets and then the Cardinals again. That's nine straight series for the Nats against teams that pose difficult matchups.
The first road trip, in fact, will put the Nats up against three of the top four teams in baseball in 2015 based on record. The Cardinals had the best record in baseball with 100 wins, the Cubs were third overall with 97 and the Royals led the AL with 95 wins and went on to with the World Series.
The Nationals look great right now and could ultimately prove themselves as a very good team. But it's hard to judge a club when they are beating up on bad teams like the Braves and the Twins. Pretty soon we'll find out exactly what the 2016 Nationals are made of.
Heisey is a Redskins fan - Just like Reed Johnson the year before him, the Redskins have another bench outfielder who loves the Redskins. This time it's Chris Heisey, who hit the game-winning homer on Sunday, a day Skins guard Brandon Scherff just happened to be in attendance. Heisey grew up in Pennsylvania in a family of Eagles fans, but learned to like the Skins because of trips to their training camp in Carlisle, Pa. with his uncle when he was a kid.
NL East Standings
Offensive game of the week: Jose Lobaton 4/22 vs. Twins - 2-for-3, 3B, 3 RBI, R, BB
Pitching line of the week: Tanner Roark 4/23 vs. Twins - 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 15 SO, 3 BB, 121 pitches (78 strikes)
Quote of the Week
"When I was half between second and third I was like, 'Oh my god, what am I doing here?... I couldn't control my body."
Tweet (or Instagram) of the Week
Mon. – OFF
Tue. - 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Scherzer vs. Velasquez)
Wed. – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez vs. Hellickson)
Thu. – 4:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Roark vs. Nola)
Fri. – 8:15 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Ross vs. Garcia)
Sat. – 2:15 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Scherzer vs. Martinez)
Sun. – 2:15 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals (Gonzalez vs. Volquez)