"Right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched seven solid innings and helped the Nationals blank the Phillies, 4-0, at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon and split the four-game series.
"Strasburg started the game by retiring nine of the first 10 hitters he faced. Overall, he allowed three hits and struck out 10. It was Strasburg's fifth 10-strikeout game this season. The Phillies had runners in scoring three times, but went 0-for-4 in those situations.
"What impressed Nationals manager Matt Williams was Strasburg's fastball command. In fact, Williams, said Sunday marked the best fastball command Strasburg had all year. In the game, Strasburg also threw a lot of curveballs early in the count to get strike one.
"'He had the ability to throw the breaking ball at any time, certainly keeping hitters off balance, so I think he pitched very well,' Williams said.
"During his bullpen session, Strasburg had a feeling it would be a good day against the Phillies.
"'I was trying to get more consistent with all my pitches, locating them a little better. If you do that, it's easier to execute the game plan,' Strasburg said.
"The one thing Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton took notice of was Strasburg's location. Location was never a problem. For example, when Lobaton wanted the ball inside, Strasburg was able to get the job done.
"'He was focused on every hitter,' Lobaton said. 'He was just in the corner a lot. He was throwing the breaking ball, changeup, he was using everything today. Everything was good. He knew what he was doing. Today, he was pounding the zone. The fastball had more life today. The key was, he knew the hitters.'"
In case anyone was questioning whether Stephen Strasburg was still the Nats' ace, he put on a clinic this afternoon http://t.co/MuY4BepAkH— Post Sports (@PostSports) August 3, 2014
NatsInsider.com's Chase Hughes chimed in on the win and on Strasburg's performance:
"HITTING SPOTLIGHT: Given the starters on the mound today, the margin for error was naturally going to be small. The Nationals got their one run against Hamels in the bottom of the third inning. Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Phillies third baseman Cody Asche, who first dropped the ball and sailed his throw wide to the right.
"Strasburg then bunted Lobaton over to second base on a well-executed sacrifice. Span was then able to single to right field, a slow line drive that gave Lobaton enough time to round third and go all the way to home. It took a little luck on the Nats' part, given the Asche error, but they took advantage of the opportunity and made the Phillies pay for their mistake.
"PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Strasburg has been much getter at home this season and that trend continued on Sunday. The right-hander was pinpoint accurate with his fastball, consistently painting corners with 95-96 mile per hour heat. His curveball was also effective with big breaks and late life.
"Three times the Phillies got a man to second base against Strasburg, but that's as close as they would get. Strasburg finished with 99 pitches before Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the seventh."
The 26-year-old Strasburg is in his fifth MLB season, amassing a 37-28 (.569) win-loss record and 681 strikeouts on a 3.07 ERA in 99 career regular-season games, per ESPN stats.
Washington currently leads the National League East division with a 60-49 (.550) win-loss mark as of Aug. 4.