Stephen Strasburg makes his first start since early June, gives up 6 runs in 4 2/3 innings, then gets in heated exchange with Max Scherzer in the dugout. This is not the post-break reboot the Nats envisioned.

By Evan Redmon, July 21, 2018

Scherzer and Strasburg squabble after #37 gets the hook in Nationals 8-5 loss to the Braves

The idea was, now that Strasburg and Scherzer were both going to make regular appearances in the Nationals pitching rotation, things would start to come together for the team after the All Star break.

So far, so not good.

Stephen Strasburg gave up two runs before many fans had grabbed their chili dog from Ben’s. The first two batters he faced, Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies, smacked base hits to put the Braves up a run. Freddie Freeman then batted in Albies on a grounder to third.

Just that quickly, in the Nats first game since Bryce Harper electrified the home town faithful in the home run derby, the DC crowd was groaning and sighing – but not panicking. This was Stras’ first start in over a month after a stint on the DL for an inflamed throwing shoulder. He just needed to get his sea legs under him, right?

The ship started to list badly to port in the 5th, however, when the Braves roughed up Strasburg for three more runs. He also gave up a run in the 4th, and Dave Martinez knew he had to get his man off the mound before things really got ugly.

Little did he know the ugliness would happen in his own dugout.

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Either Stephen Strasburg just saw a clown crawl out of a sewer, or he had a really bad outing

Scherzer and Strasburg Hold An Aces-Only Meeting In The Hallway

It seemed like a perfectly innocent pat on the back. It was a perfectly innocent pat on the back.

Pitching in The Bigs is hard. Every arm in the league understands this, in a way nobody else does. So when Max Scherzer gave his fellow ace a reassuring back shoulder tap as he descended the dugout steps, there was nothing to indicate that a problem was brewing.

scherzer-and-strasburg-argue-in-the-dugout-of-a-loss-to-atlanta-native-son-dc-sports-blogHowever, all was not right in the State of the Nationals. Strasburg, clearly frustrated from his stinker of an outing, had some choice words for  Scherzer.

No one seems to know what those words were, or what the source of the friction was, or anything about it, really. No one except Scherzer and Strasburg, that is.

And now, they aren’t talking.

Apparently, they had already done all the talking they needed to do. Clearly cognizant that the cameras were watching, the pitching duo took their belly itching into the hallway, out of sight from prying eyes.

After the game, Dave Martinez did some talking of his own with his 1-and-2. The Nationals manager assured inquiring minds that a productive conversation was had by all, and there was much rejoicing.

“This stuff happens,” asserted Martinez. “I’ve been on teams where guys wanted to choke each other, you know, so it’s a long season.”

In the end, the Nationals lost another game, dropping them to one game under .500. Let’s just hope they can keep the choking off the field from now on.

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