Postgame analysis of the Nats' 12-10 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field.
How it happened: Stephen Strasburg had been trending in the wrong direction, and the Rockies are a tough test for any pitcher, especially on the road at Coors Field. But this? No one would have predicted this.
Strasburg wasn't just bad on Wednesday afternoon, he had the worst start of his career. The Nats right-hander only made it 1 2/3 innings before he was pulled and that was after he allowed nine runs, the most he's ever given up in a start. The Nats were hoping for a deep outing from Strasburg to help rest their bullpen, and that they did not get.
Strasburg gave up seven runs in the first inning and another two in the second. The Nats chipped away and managed 10 runs themselves, but the struggling Oliver Perez - now the Nats' only lefty reliever - gave up three more runs in the fifth. That was all the insurance the Rockies would need.
The Nats did score 10 runs, so there were some positives to report, including Bryce Harper's 21st homer of the season. Pedro Severino hit the first homer of his career, a solo shot in the seventh inning. Chris Heisey then hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth.
Anthony Rendon had two hits, one an RBI double. Brian Goodwin also had two hits, the first time in his young career that he's done that. And Trea Turner added two hits, a double and a triple. It was his sixth triple of the season in just his 30th game. He leads all MLB rookies in the category.
Jayson Werth walked to extend his streak of reaching base to 45 straight games. That puts him in sole possession of second place in Nats/Expos franchise history. He only trails Rusty Staub, who got on in 46 straight back in 1969-70.
The 12 runs for the Rockies were the most the Nats have allowed all season. Washington lost for the second straight game and once again had to heavily use their already-tired bullpen. That will definitely be something to watch over the next few days when they play in Atlanta.
What it means: The Nats dropped to 70-49 on the season. They lost their first series since July 22-24 against the Padres. It was the first road series they have lost since June 24-26 at the Brewers.
Strasburg gets shelled: Strasburg ran into trouble immediately by allowing four runs before he even recorded an out in the first inning. Charlie Blackmon started the game off with a double on the second pitch and Nolan Arenado later singled him home. Gerardo Parra doubled in three runs and Tony Wolters doubled in another to make it 5-0. Pitcher Jon Gray then doubled home two more runs to make it 7-0 in the first. That was the most runs the Nats have allowed in a single inning this season.
Strasburg gave up an RBI triple to Gerardo Parra and then an RBI single to Ben Paulsen in the second inning. That was enough for manager Dusty Baker, who pulled Strasburg for Koda Glover.
Strasburg has now allowed at least four earned runs in four of his last six starts. He's given up 19 earned in his last three outings across just 11 2/3 innings. This is the first time in Strasburg's career he's given up four or more earned runs in three straight games. It's also the first time he's surrendered six or more in two straight outings.
All in a span of just three starts, Strasburg has raised his season ERA from 2.63 to 3.59. It was just a few weeks ago that Strasburg was one of the favorites for NL Cy Young. Now he'll need a major turnaround just to be in the conversation.
Harper hits it a mile: Harper didn't just homer on Wednesday, he hit the longest bomb of any Nats player this season. That's according to whatever measurement you choose, though there was a discrepancy between StatCast and ESPN on the distance. StatCast says Harper's upper deck shot went 461 feet, while ESPN said it was 481. Either way, it's the longest homer of Harper's career. If we're going with the 481-foot reading, that's the longest ever hit by a Nats player since ESPN has been tracking them back in 2006.
The home run was Harper's first since July 20. He also singled, walked and scored two runs in the game. Since returning from his neck issue, Harper is 6-for-13 with a homer, three doubles, five RBI, five walks and four runs scored. It's too early to say he's back, but those are obviously very positive signs.
Up next: The Nats move on to Atlanta for four games against the Atlanta Braves. Rookie Reynaldo Lopez (1-1, 5.74) will start for the Nats, while right-hander Rob Whalen (1-1, 7.31) gets the nod for Atlanta. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m.
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