Aug 15, 2010, 10:49 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg made two second-inning mistakes but otherwise pitched well.
There will come a time, perhaps not too far in the future, when Jim Riggleman will let Stephen Strasburg take the mound for the sixth inning of a tie game sitting on 85 pitches.
That time wasn’t this afternoon, though, not with Strasburg still easing his way back from a brief stint on the disabled list, and not when a brief fan protest threw a surprise delay into the Nationals’ game against the Diamondbacks.
So a crowd of 21,695 — the smallest by far to see Strasburg pitch in 11 big-league starts — witnessed the odd sight of the rookie right-hander batting for himself to lead off the bottom of the fifth, then deferring to reliever Tyler Clippard for the top of the sixth.
“I was undecided whether I wanted him to go back out there anyway,” Riggleman said. “Once we sat in there a little bit longer with the [protest] going on, I just decided, you know what, I’m not going to send him back out there.”
The move ultimately paid off for the Nats, who turned Ian Desmond’s go-ahead single, Ryan Zimmerman’s solo homer and four scoreless innings of relief into a 5-3 victory.
The most encouraging development of the afternoon might have been the dominant relief work from Clippard, Sean Burnett and Drew Storen. Read about those guys, plus Strasburg, on CSNwashington.com.
NL EAST STANDINGS
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
Full season schedule
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WED: 4:30 p.m.
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SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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