Strasburg Almost Perfect; Rendon More of the Same

The Nationals relied on their Cy Young contender Stephen Strasburg and their MVP candidate Anthony Rendon to cruise over the Miami Marlins 7-0. Strasburg was almost perfect, giving up two hits in the first inning and then retiring his last 22 hitters, 14 on strikeouts, 12 of those whiffs of the swing and miss variety. Rendon mashed two homeruns into the left field bleachers to continue his assault on National League pitchers.

Strasburg struggled a bit in the first inning. He gave up back to back singles to Harold Ramirez and Starlin Castro with one out. Neil Walker grounded one up the middle, which was fielded by Strasburg, who started the 1-6-3 double play. After that only 7 of the next 21 hitters put the ball in play as Strasburg showed his dominance with 14 strikeouts.

In the bottom of the first Rendon put his stamp on the game. He launched a 3-2 pitch from Pablo Lopez high into the left field bleachers. Juan Soto followed by going the opposite way on the second pitch he saw, trying to kiss the Rendon shot by also depositing it into the left field bleachers. The back to backs were the 30th homeruns for Soto and Rendon.

Pablo Lopez did not have it this night. In the second inning he gave up a run, Stephen Strasburg ripping a two out single into the third base hole to score Kurt Suzuki. In the third inning Rendon was hit on the elbow with a pitch. Soto lined a hit and run double down the right field line, scoring Rendon. Kurt Suzuki mashed a pitch into the center field bleachers to make it 6-0.

Wei-Yin Chang replaced Lopez and pitched well. He gave up a leadoff double to Victor Robles. After that he retired the next 12 hitters he faced, combining with Strasburg to pitch a perfect game. He was not quite as dominant as Strasburg, striking out just two in his four innings of work, but he got seven ground ball outs with the 13 hitters he faced.

Adam Conley came on to pitch the eighth. Anthony Rendon took his first pitch and launched it into the left field bleachers to finish off the scoring. Tanner Rainey came on to complete the shutout striking out three and walking one. He tested the patience of the National’s fans by getting behind Harold Ramirez 3-0 after walking Jon Berti, but he recovered to strikeout Ramirez.

Game Notes: The Nationals honored the South Loudoun Little League team, who were the first team from Virginia in 25 years to advance to the Little League World Series. They represented themselves well in the games, reaching the finals of the winner’s bracket before losing their last two games…The last time two Nationals had 30 plus homeruns in the same season was in 2009 when Adam Dunn hit 38 and Ryan Zimmerman swatted 33…The homerun in the first inning advanced the hitting streak for Rendon to 16 games…The 14 whiffs gives Strasburg the league lead in strikeouts with 215. He also leads the National League in innings pitched (179) and wins (16). A couple bad outings puts his ERA at 3.47…Strasburg now has a 12 game winning streak against the Marlins…Lewis Brinson was ejected from the game in the eighth inning for objecting to a called third strike, the last of Strasburg’s strikeouts. The replays show that the ball crossed over the plate into the strike zone. Perhaps that is a reason Brinson is struggling to hit major league pitching…With a runner on third and one out Trea Turner grounded out to third, not a place you want to hit the ball. If you want to score that run you have to hit the ball to the opposite side of the infield or find the outfield.

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