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The Morning Briefing: Stephen Strasburg 2.0?

Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball headlines, news, and the latest news for Friday, May 21, 2021

Happy Friday morning! Thank you for starting the day with us! Next stop, the weekend!

Game Time Weather via Capital Sports Forecast:  Great weather for a ballgame with temps in the low 80s at first pitch with partly cloudy skies, a light breeze from the south is possible.

Upcoming Games:

  • Today’s Top Story: Stephen Strasburg Set to Return from IL and Pitch Tonight
  • Friday, May 21, 2021: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals; 7:05 pm EDT
  • Saturday, May 22, 2021: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals; 4:30 pm EDT
  • Sunday, May 23, 2021: Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals;  1:05 pm EDT

Today’s Top Story: Stephen Strasburg 2.0?

After yesterday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs (more on that in a bit), Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez announced that pitcher Stephen Strasburg is going to be activated from the IL and pitch tonight against the Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park. This will be Strasburg’s third start in 2021 and fourth since signing his seven- year, $245M contract after the 2019 season. Strasburg has yet to record a win as he is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA over ten innings pitched. He has given up eight runs, including seven earned runs on nine hits, and has struck out only 1. Strasburg has been sidelined so far this season with a shoulder problem. 

The Nationals’ starting rotation has been a little below average this season, sitting 18th in ERA (4.41), SIERA (4.19), and strikeout minus walk rate (14.7 percentage points). That’s a disappointment for a starting staff that was expected to be the backbone of this team.

Some questions to think about before tonight’s game:

  1. Will Strasburg be on pitch count or innings limit in order to build back his strength and not push him to hard in his first start coming off the IL?
  2. How is Strasburg going to feel after the game? Always an important question that needs to be asked after an injury, especially a shoulder injury. The Nationals need Strasburg back in the rotation, especially since Erick Fedde is now in COVID protocols. 
  3. What will Strasburg’s pitches look like during the game? I think that this is the most important aspect of tonight’s game. What will his velocity rate and spin rate measure? Will his pitches hit the right spots? Only time will tell.

I will post my impressions of Strasburg’s start tonight after he leaves the game on TheNatsReport.


Nationals Drop Getaway Game to End Horrible Road Trip, Head Home to Face Orioles.

Yesterday afternoon, the Nationals ended their two-city swing with a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The Nationals’ offense was only able to pull off six hits throughout the game. Joe Ross didn’t look like the Joe Ross that we saw in his first couple starts of the season and over Spring Training. Ross only went 3 2⁄3 innings but gave up five hits, four runs which two of them were only earned runs. 

The Washington Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with back-to-back homeruns from Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber. However, these would be the only runs that the Nationals offense would score for the rest of the game. 

Joe Ross’s Line: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 78 P, 52 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

The Nationals now head home to face the Baltimore Orioles for a three-game homestand over the weekend. What were once must-see games, the rivalry between the two teams has fizzled a bit as the Orioles have been in rebuilding mode and the Nationals have been fielding playoff caliber teams. Currently, the Nationals are in last place in the NL East. They are 17-23 and are now four and a half games back of the New York Mets, who are in first place.

The Baltimore Orioles are also in last place in the AL East with a record of 17-26 and are nine games back of the Boston Red Sox, who lead that division. 

It should be a great series, right? We will have our full series preview later today.


In the Clubhouse with The Nats Report is back!

Last night, I chatted with my friend Pat and we talked about Nationals baseball. Some of the topics that we touched upon were:

  • Lack of offense of the Nationals
  • What should the Nationals should do with Max Scherzer at the trade deadline and 
  • We touched upon Strasburg’s return to the mound tonight. 

Listen on your favorite podcasting platform!

  • Apple: https://apple.co/3u9widQ
  • Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3v8YcYZ

Must Reads: Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball Headlines

The Nats Report is a daily e-newsletter that focuses on the latest Washington Nationals and MLB headlines, rumors, news, trades, and more. Please consider contributing to support our work.

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