Phillies Dominated by Strasburg, Harper


Final. 0. 6. 4. 90

Stephen Strasburg was at his dominating best on the mound for the Nationals, and Bryce Harper continued his run at an NL MVP Award in a 4-0 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The 27-year old Strasburg (9-7) had a record of just 6-7 and was having a poor season when he was driven to the Disabled List following a July 4th short outing. At that point, the big righty had a 5.16 ERA and had allowed 73 hits in 61 innings.

In 7 starts since returning on August 8th, including this start against the Phils, Strasburg has been an entirely different pitcher. In that time he has a 4-2 record with a 2.38 ERA, has allowed just 27 hits in 45.1 innings, and has a 62/5 K:BB ratio.

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It was that dominance which the Phillies ran into on Tuesday. Strasburg went 8 innings and allowed just one hit, a single to Cody Asche on a 2-2 pitch leading off the bottom of the 5th inning.

The former #1 overall draft pick was pulled after throwing 105 pitches, 77 of them for strikes. Strasburg struck out 14 batters and walked just one, the 14 K’s matching his career high set all the way back in his first-ever big league start in June of 2010.

On the other side of the ballgame it was the Nationals’ other former #1 overall pick, Bryce Harper, who did the offensive damage. Harper followed up a strong game in Monday’s opener with an even better one, going 3-3 with a pair of homers, driving in all 4 of the Nats’ runs.

Harper took Phillies starter David Buchanan deep in the 1st inning, a solo shot for his 38th round-tripper of the year, putting the Nationals on the board first. Then with the game still tight at 2-0, the 22-year old right fielder doubled the lead with his 39th, a 2-run blast off reliever Adam Loewen.

Buchanan (2-9) wasn’t bad, tossing his best game at the Majors level this season. He went 6 innings, allowing just 2 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5 batters. He simply wasn’t capable of matching the absolute dominance of Strasburg.

The loss, combined with a victory by the Braves, moved the Phillies a game and a half up on Atlanta in the race for the bottom. The Phillies “Magic Number” for clinching the worst overall record in baseball, and the accompanying top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft, is now at 16.