video thumbnail

WSH@SF: Strasburg solid over six to earn 14th win

At some point, in a certain number of innings, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg's season will be over.

Until that happens, the arguments about whether the Nationals are doing the right thing with their prized young arm will continue. As will Strasburg's dominance of Major League hitters.

Strasburg takes the mound Tuesday in the second of a key three-game series against National League East-foe Atlanta, doing, as Braves third baseman Chipper Jones says, "things that nobody else does."

"I'm speaking strictly of repertoire. He has three pitches that nobody else in the game has," said Jones, who has two hits in seven career at-bats against Strasburg. "When I liken him to a [Justin] Verlander-Kerry Wood in his prime hybrid, he's better than that.

"One thing that neither one of those two has is a 90, 91-mph split-changeup. And it's devastating. It is a devastating pitch. The other guys may have as good a fastball. They may have as good a curveball. But that third pitch is the equalizer."

Strasburg has been nearly unhittable in his last three starts after lasting only four innings against the Phillies on July 31. He has a 1.50 ERA and .133 average against with 19 strikeouts in that span, winning each time out.

Strasburg has a 4.87 ERA in four starts against Atlanta this season. He's been at his best -- seven shutout innings on June 2 -- against the Braves, but also at his worst, working a season-low three innings against them on June 30.

Although Paul Maholm doesn't have Strasburg's stuff, the Braves left-hander has been just as dominating since coming to Atlanta at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Maholm has made three starts, going 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA and .177 average against while impressing teammates.

"He's really figured out how to pitch, he's really figured out what type of pitcher he is," Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. "Not just this year, every year he's been in the league he's been getting better and better. He's a bulldog out there. He's going to challenge you and get you off balance."

Braves: Multi-tool Michael
With one more home run, center fielder Michael Bourn will become the fourth player in Atlanta history to post double digits in homers, triples and stolen bases in the same season. Ralph Garr (1974), Marquis Grissom (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2003 and 2005) are the others. Bourn has nine homers, 10 triples and 32 steals.

• With 17 steals and 21 home runs, Jason Heyward is one of only three Major Leaguers to reach those numbers in both categories, joining Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun and Angels center fielder Mike Trout.

Nationals: Homer happy
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Nationals have won 19 straight games in which they have hit at least one homer, the longest such streak in the Majors this season.

• Roger Bernadina is hitting .386 in his last 30 games.

• Danny Espinosa has reached safely in 16 straight games, hitting .338 with five homers in that span.

Worth noting
• Uggla is hitting .533 (8-for-15) with two home runs and eight RBIs in his career against Strasburg. Heyward also has had success against the right-hander, with five hits in nine at-bats (.556).

• Washington's Jayson Werth is hitting .375 (9-for-24) with three doubles and a homer against Maholm, who is 1-5 with a 5.56 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals.

• The Nationals are 15-5 this month. Comments