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Strasburg rocked as Nats fall 14-6 to Diamondbacks

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Strasburg rocked as Nats fall 14-6 to Diamondbacks

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Stephen Strasburg took the mound Tuesday night at Chase Field with even more eyes focused on him than usual, everyone wondering if he would bounce back from last week's abbreviated start that saw the right-hander wincing after several pitches, or whether there was any cause for lingering concern. Very quickly, it became clear Strasburg wasn't going to put questions about him to rest.

The right-hander was roughed up by the Diamondbacks, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in only 3 1/3 innings. He served up homers to Ender Inciarte and Mark Trumbo, couldn't field a routine bunt and couldn't command any of his pitches. There was no wincing apparent this time, but Strasburg's second straight abbreviated outing did little to quash any concerns about him.

This one didn't prove to be much of a game, because the Nationals' lineup did little against Arizona right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, aside from Bryce Harper (who went 2-for-3 with another home run). The Nats' bullpen didn't help matters, either, with Sammy Solis and Matt Grace combining to give up six more runs. The real pitching star, as it turned out, was Clint Robinson, who became the first position player in Nats history (2005-present) to pitch and recorded a scoreless eighth featuring an 81-mph fastball. That at least brought some levity to an otherwise disconsolate Nationals dugout.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It meant very little in this game, and possibly even in the bigger picture, but Harper's sixth-inning homer was a sight to see nonetheless. De La Rosa threw him a changeup down and away, and Harper sort of waved his bat at it, not even following through all the way. Yet somehow he pulled it roughly 380 feet to right-center field for his 12th homer of the season, his seventh in six games. It was a stunning display of the kid's raw power, and further evidence that what he's doing right now is only the beginning of what is still to come.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: There's plenty of debate right now from those trying to figure out what's wrong with Strasburg, whether he's hurt or whether he doesn't have the mental makeup to pitch through adversity. Truthfully, his struggles probably boil down to this: Poor mechanics and poor command. Strasburg has admitted he's having trouble with his alignment as he releases the ball, his plant foot veering too far to the right. That leads to command issues, especially with his fastball. And that fastball (which doesn't move very much) is eminently hittable right now. The end result isn't pretty: Strasburg now owns a 6.00 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and 50 hits allowed in 36 innings this season. He also has reached the seventh inning only once in seven starts so far. All of that is a real concern.

KEY STAT: The Nationals' regular 5-man rotation now sports a 3.62 ERA. Remove Strasburg and that number drops to 3.10.

UP NEXT: The series wraps up with a Wednesday matinee at Chase Field. Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 3.62) faces Jeremy Hellickson (1-3, 5.85) at 3:40 p.m. EDT.

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Brian Dozier's power on display once again with moonshot HR in Colorado

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Brian Dozier's power on display once again with moonshot HR in Colorado

After a very slow start to the season, Nationals' second baseman Brian Dozier has been seeing the ball a lot better over the past few games.

On Monday, Dozier took Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson deep in the fourth inning to give the Nationals a three-run lead, his third home run in the last four games.

He went deep against Miami twice over the weekend, both solo shots. The first came during Friday's 3-2 loss and the latter in Sunday's 5-0 victory.

This one, though, was a no-doubter. Take a look.

After staring for a brief second, Dozier didn't need to look any longer; he knew the ball was several rows into the seats. That altitude in Colorado definitely helped, as the home run landed 435 feet away.

Dozier has struggled to hit for contact thus far in 2019, posting just a .177 average entering Monday. But when the ball has hit the bat, it's traveled a long way.

For the Nationals sake, hopefully Dozier's power continues. They're counting on better production from the seven-year veteran than they have received thus far in 2019.

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Stephen Strasburg saves Nationals from series sweep

With 11 strikeouts and only two hits in eight innings, Stephen Strasburg contained the Marlins to nothing as the Nationals won 5-0 in Miami. Here are the latest news and notes after Sunday’s victory.

Player notes:

Anthony Rendon remains day-to-day after being hit on his left elbow by a pitch Saturday. He left Saturday’s game and missed Sunday’s outing as well. Howie Kendrick, his replacement thus far, finished the series against Miami going 1-for-3 with a single RBI.

Stephen Strasburg posted double-digit strikeouts for the first time this season (11). Strasburg dropped his ERA by almost 1.5 runs, and is expected to start next against the Padres. That series begins Friday, April 26.

Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 with two home runs. He tallied two RBIs as well.

Injuries:

3B Anthony Rendon: Elbow hit by pitch, day-to-day

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, 10-day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-day IL

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-day IL

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-day IL

Coming Up:

Monday, 4/22: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Tuesday, 4/23: Nationals @ Rockies, 8:40 p.m. ET, Coors Field

Wednesday, 4/24: Nationals @ Rockies, 3:10 p.m. ET, Coors Field

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