Washington Nationals: Tonight Is A Big Start for Strasburg

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Jul 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws to the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws to the Cincinnati Reds during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Stephen Strasburg takes the mound tonight for the Washington Nationals in what can be a statement way to end his 1st half

After a tough loss last night to the New York Mets at Citi Field, the Washington Nationals will need a big game out of Stephen Strasburg tonight. Strasburg is coming off a start in which he threw 6.2 innings against the Reds in his last start on Sunday. With the way the bullpen was used last night, the Washington Nationals need at least seven strong innings from Strasburg tonight.

This game tonight will be by far Strasburg’s toughest test of the season as he will be going up against fellow All-Star Noah Syndergaard. While Strasburg was named to the All-Star team, he will not be participating in the game. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Max Scherzer (4th All-Star selection) will be going to San Diego instead of Strasburg:

Strasburg is 11-0 this season and you can’t fault him for who he goes up against. However, he hasn’t faced the toughest competition this year when it comes to opposing pitchers. Out of the 14 pitchers he has faced (twice against Matt Harvey), only two of them have a record of .500 or better (Jason Hammel and Jeremy Hellickson) and they have a combined record of 56-87.

While only two of them have a .500 record or better, Strasburg has faced one All-Star (Julio Teheran of the Braves) in addition to going up against Syndergaard tonight. Plus, he would’ve faced Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles if it weren’t for the upper back strain that eventually landed him on the disabled list.

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Last night, the Washington Nationals put up seven runs and hit four home runs against the Mets. Strasburg will be hoping for that same run support tonight. This season, the offense has been helping out since he has received the most support of any pitcher in the National League (7.07 runs per start).

If there’s one thing that works in the Washington Nationals favor, it’s that Strasburg is 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in seven starts at Citi Field in his career and he is 2-0 this season with a 2.13 ERA. Dating back to last season, he has allowed only 11 runs in 30.2 innings and struck out 46 Mets hitters (five starts).

While a win wouldn’t clinch a Cy Young award and a loss wouldn’t ruin the great start Strasburg has had this season, a win would help the Nats seal first place alone going into the second half. In a game that will feel like one that is played in October, the Washington Nationals need one of their aces to deliver against the Mets’ best pitcher right now.

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