The Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres on Friday night in a game that finally showed the reasons why many picked them to make a run at the World Series in 2014.
Young Bryce Harper, already the subject of some negative attention this season, delivered a big blow for the offense with a bases loaded, bases clearing triple. That was one of a number of highlights as the lineup scored 11 runs. That tally would be more than enough for ace starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg.
Facing a Padres lineup that is the worst in all of baseball, Strasburg took advantage of the opportunity to continue to get his season on track. Coming off an outing against the St. Louis Cardinals where he struck out nine in a victory, Strasburg dominated the Padres to the tune of seven shutout innings with 11 Ks. Here is what he had to say about his performance after the game (quotes from CSN Washington):
It’s always great to go out there in the second with the lead already. It’s not always going to be the case. You have to not look at the scoreboard and just keep pitching.”
It seems obvious to say that scoring a lot of runs and getting awesome starting pitching is a team’s formula for success, so perhaps the following clarification is necessary: the Nationals might be as well-equipped as any team in baseball to implement that formula consistently. That is what they showed on Friday as they stomped the Padres.