Let’s get the Stephen Strasburg business out of the way first; in his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery, the young righty was masterful, needing just 56 pitches to get through five scoreless innings, allowing two hits. The 99 MPH (-ish, because TV guns can never be trusted) two-seamer with which he made Aaron Miles look foolish in the second inning was a thing of beauty, and it never gets old after one million viewings:
Strasburg was awesome, and seeing him seemingly on his way back to full strength after surgery was a joy. Yet contrary to what Eric Collins & Steve Lyons on KCAL would have you believe, of course, there was a whole lot more to this game than whether Strasburg was going to “come away with a win”, especially considering that the Dodgers ended up winning 7-3.
To be fair, Strasburg’s strict pitch count played a huge part in the victory, because after seeing 15 of 17 mowed down by Strasburg, the Dodgers battered five Washington relievers for eleven hits in the final four innings, including five in the sixth inning alone to plate three. Dee Gordon bounced back from an 0-5 night with three hits, including a leadoff double that just about no one else in the league could have extended past a single, Rod Barajas broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run double in the eighth, and Andre Ethier drive in four with a single in the sixth and a double in the ninth. I don’t think it’s going out too much on a limb that facing a group of nondescript relievers, including two making their big league debuts, was slightly easier than flailing against the dominant Strasburg.
For all the talk about Strasburg, it was Dodger pitching which impressed, setting a season high with 17 strikeouts, the most they’ve had since striking out that many Rockies on the last day of 2009. Ted Lilly led with nine, generally pitching well other than a second inning in which he allowed back-to-back doubles and committed a throwing error.
Oh, and Eugenio Velez got to hit again. He grounded out weakly to second base. Of course he did.