ATLANTA - JUNE 28: Starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Washington Nationals checks the runner on first base in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 28, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
For the second straight outing, Stephen Strasburg pitched well, got little help and suffered a loss.
The Nationals’ main attraction held the Atlanta Braves scoreless for six innings before encountering the worst inning of his young career.
Strasburg was charged with four runs, three earned, in a five-run Atlanta seventh. Two of the runs charged to the rookie scored after he exited the game.
Although the performance qualifies as a “quality start,” it was probably Strasburg’s most pedestrian yet.
The six hits he allowed were the second most he’s yielded. It was the first time he’s given up more than two earned runs. He’s only walked more than two batters once and he’s never whiffed less than the seven Braves he fanned.
That said, there’s not a big-league starter who wouldn’t be content with the line Strasburg registered in his 6.1 innings of work.
Unfortunately for the 21-year-old starter, the Nationals are supporting Strasburg like a pair of loose boxers.
They haven’t scored in either of his last two starts, and they’ve only tallied one run in his last three outings. Even the wonder kid can’t overcome offense that non-existent.
The loss was the Nats’ fifth straight and 13th in their last 16 games. They’ve stopped hitting during the poor stretch; scoring four or more runs just five times.
Washington’s play in the field has regressed recently, as well. That didn’t change on Monday either, as shortstop Ian Desmond committed his 19th error, which hindered Strasburg’s problematic seventh inning.
While Desmond’s fielding gaffe was the only error the Nats were charged with, there were other defensive miscues that forced Strasburg to work harder than he should've had to.
Strasburg threw 92 pitches en route to falling to 2-2. The league is still hitting just .216 off the flame-throwing right-hander, who has now struck out 48 in 31.2 major league innings.