Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg made his 2020 season debut Sunday against the Orioles after missing the first two weeks of play with a nerve issue in his right hand. The veteran right-hander held Baltimore to just two hits through four innings, looking like the Washington co-ace who won World Series MVP honors last October.

But then Strasburg gave up five runs in the fifth inning. Here’s his final line from Sunday:

Strasburg, 32, was solid until he saw some trouble in the fifth inning when he gave up back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. That was followed by a pair of RBI singles and an RBI double before he was taken out of the game. The five-run fifth inning gave the O’s a 5-0 lead in a game that was eventually suspended after a tarp issue led to an unplayable field.

Strasburg was able to build up to close to a full workload during his rehab, but he wasn’t expected to throw more than 80 pitches on Sunday. Of his 69 total pitches, 45 were strikes.

Here’s the pitch chart from Strasburg’s season debut:

Baseball Savant (MLB)

In 2019, Strasburg went 18-6, leading the National League in wins, along with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts. The reigning World Series champion Nationals are 4-7 on the abbreviated season and were trailing Baltimore on Sunday before the game was called. 

Before the start of the 2020 season, own Matt Snyder explained how the shortened second spring training and sprint of a season could possibly hinder Washington’s rotation. Nats ace Max Scherzer was pulled from his last start on Wednesday after one inning due a hamstring issue, but he’s on track to make his next scheduled start Tuesday against the Mets.


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