Wednesday night’s walk off win against the Atlanta Braves doesn’t feel like the headline after Stephen Strasburg left the game in obvious discomfort in the third inning.
Strasburg was making his first start since August 17th after a stint on the disabled list. The red flags went up when he lost control of a fastball and sent it high and away, the next pitch would be his last for the night.
While it’s possible that it is nothing serious and he was only removed from the game as a precaution, it’s hard not to let the imagination run wild. The look on Strasburg’s face as he headed into the dressing room was also far from comforting.
Perhaps the hardest part to swallow as a fan watching the game was how brilliantly Strasburg pitched up until he left the game. He pitched 2 1/3 innings allowing one run on two hits, and striking out four. His fastball had its usual pinpoint accuracy and early on it felt like one of those nights where he was going to be untouchable.
Sean Burnett entered the game while Lucas Giolito warmed up and acquitted himself well, allowing a run to score that was charged to Strasburg. Giolito pitched well early on, but judging from the Twitter reaction it was difficult to enjoy his performance with the sour taste still in our collective mouths. Still, the promising young righty dueled out 3 1/3 innings, pitching out of a tough situation in the fourth with a little (read: a lot) of help from Danny Espinosa. He finished the night allowing two runs on five hits and striking out three.
Trailing late in the game the Nats offense came alive, keyed as it so often has been this season by Daniel Murphy. Murphy singled in the seventh, collecting his 99th and 100th RBI of the season scoring Stephen Drew and Trea Turner, and tying the game at three.
The extra innings that followed seemed interminable since the Nationals will never release injury information during a game. Wilson Ramos walked off with the bases loaded in the 11th inning to complete a sweep of the Braves.
If Strasburg’s injury is anything significant, Wednesday night’s game could turn out to be the single most impactful of the regular season. Walking into October without Strasburg would be a daunting task if it came down to it, but we can all keep our fingers crossed that it won’t be necessary.Tags: Nationals, Nats, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals