Strasburg is scheduled to take the mound Saturday night when the Nationals continue their weekend series with the Florida Marlins, who have won 12 of the last 13 in Washington.
Strasburg (0-0, 1.13 ERA) threw 57 pitches while allowing one run and three hits in three innings of an 8-2 win over Houston on Sunday. Manager Davey Johnson said the right-hander was on a 70-pitch limit, but pulled him early after Strasburg’s velocity seemed to dip slightly in the second inning.
“If I wasn’t on a pitch count, it would have been nice to go out there and pitch longer in the game,” Strasburg said. “That’s how it’s going to be sometimes. You’re not going to go out there and feel perfect every time.”
Strasburg had tossed 56 pitches over five scoreless innings during a 7-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 6 in his first big league action after missing more than a year following reconstructive elbow surgery.
In his only career matchup at home against the Marlins, Strasburg was ripped for a career-worst six runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss on Aug. 10, 2010. He would make two more starts before his highly anticipated rookie season was cut short by the elbow injury.
Strasburg will be opposed by Florida’s Chris Volstad(notes) (5-12, 5.31), who’s running out of chances for a second-half win. The right-hander is 0-4 in eight games following the All-Star break despite not allowing more than four runs in any of those appearances.
Volstad failed to get a decision for the second straight game in Monday’s 5-4, 12-inning win over Atlanta. He surrendered two runs and seven hits over five innings.
Vazquez tossed a five-hitter, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter in Friday’s 3-0 victory that snapped the Nationals’ five-game winning streak. It was his first shutout since May 22, 2005, a 1-0 victory for Arizona over Detroit.
“The guy’s just been an inspiration to some of the guys around here. If they can’t get anything out of that pitching clinic tonight, they’re in trouble,” Florida manager Jack McKeon said.
Bonifacio leads the majors with 25 hits this month and is batting .291.
Ian Desmond(notes) and Roger Bernadina(notes), the top two hitters in Washington’s order, combined to go 0 for 8 Friday. However, they’ve fared well this year against Volstad - Desmond has gone 6 for 9 with two doubles, a triple and three RBIs while Bernadina is 5 for 6 with a double and two RBIs.