Strasburg, Santander return to Nationals and Orioles ahead of Beltway series

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Strasburg, Santander return to Nats and O's ahead of Beltway series originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Nationals received a big boost to their rotation on Friday with the return of Stephen Strasburg. The longtime star pitcher had been on the Injured List since April 18, but after one rehab start in Triple-A the Nats felt comfortable bringing him back to the big leagues to start against the Orioles.

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The 32-year old has made just two starts this season, going 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA and 11 strikeouts. It's a small sample size, and fans and the team alike are expecting Strasburg to be closer to his 3.32 ERA across more than 200 innings in 2019 (he missed most of 2020 with an injury).

Washington's rotation has pitched to a 4.33 ERA in Strasburg's absence, with the teamwide mark at 4.04 - just a hair under the league average of 4.05. Max Scherzer is the only National with an ERA below 3, and Jon Lester is the only starter with one below 4, so Strasburg should make an instant impact for a team that needs its rotation to be great to win ballgames.

On the other side of the diamond, the Orioles are receiving a boost of their own with the return of Anthony Santander.

The switch-hitting outfielder was one of the best hitters in the American League in 2020 prior to his season getting cut short in August. He has been out since April 20, and like Strasburg, he started the season poorly over a small sample size.

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He'll slide right back into the heart of the order in Baltimore moving forward, hoping to pack a punch for an offense currently seventh-worst in runs per game in 2021.