The Nationals did not have a good day Saturday for two reasons. They lost to the Cubs 8-2, and since it was raining at "Pups At The Park" Day, Nationals Park probably smelled like wet dog.
Stephen Strasburg retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced -- seven via strikeout -- but Ryan Zimmerman's throwing error in the fifth inning ultimately led to four unearned runs that put the game out of reach.
Two of those runs came off the bat of former Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson, whose full-count double to right center brought home Welington Castillo and Darwin Barney to open the scoring.
Strasburg, who hasn't won since April 1 (Opening Day), has rarely been victimized by opposing pitchers at the plate, hence this statistic from Elias Sports Bureau:
Prior to Jackson's hit, opposing pitchers had combined for a batting average of .081 over Strasburg's 53-game major-league career, with 47 of those 93 previous plate appearances resulting in strikeouts. With one swing, Jackson doubled the total of RBIs that Strasburg had previously permitted to pitchers; Cliff Lee knocked in a run against Strasburg last July 31, the only one by a pitcher prior to Jackson's double.
Strasburg has allowed eight unearned runs this season after allowing six all of last season.
"It's hard to explain," manager Davey Johnson said of his ace's struggles. "He was throwing good, good stuff. Hitting his spots. And then it seemed -- where we needed him to pick us up, the air went out."
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