WASHINGTON — The Nationals are a completely different team these days.
Completely different from the unrecognizable squad from the days of this post. Back when they were without Jayson Werth, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer. Back when Adam Eaton was out for the season. Back when Stephen Strasburg was still working his way back from a multi-week DL stint.
Oh wait. That post was written four days ago.
Let’s look at the team now: Werth, Turner and Scherzer are all back.
Trea Turner came back Tuesday night, and he quickly followed Werth’s lead and got back to what he does best.
And what’s this? During Mike Rizzo’s weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies, the Nationals GM left open the possibility that Adam Eaton might return this season after all.
That’s three players returning from injury in a span of two days, and the third day brought the hint of a surprise fourth return. What else could you possibly jam into that three-day period?
How about Stephen Strasburg, who hadn’t topped the 7-inning mark since July 15 of last season, throwing a complete-game shutout? It was just the second complete game of his career, both shutouts, with the first coming just more than four years prior. What’s more, Strasburg had thrown 90 and 91 pitches in his two previous starts, not making it past the sixth inning in either, and he had missed nearly a month with injury before that.
In his first shutout, Strasburg’s line looked like this: 9.0 innings, 4 hits, 10 strikeouts, 1 walk, 99 pitches, 0 runs.
On Wednesday night: 9.0 innings, 6 hits, 8 strikeouts, 1 walk, 110 pitches, 0 runs.
So, statistically, his first shutout was a more dominant affair. Two fewer hits, two more strikeouts and 11 fewer pitches — the verdict seems clear. But factor in what the star pitcher did at the plate in each game, and the line becomes a little blurry.
Strasburg in his first shutout: 0 for 3, 3 strikeouts.
Strasburg Wednesday night: 2 for 4, 1 home run, 1 single, 1 run, 1 RBI.
That’s a pretty good night at the plate for anybody, doubly so for a pitcher.