Nats fans can't - and probably shouldn't - fight Stephen Strasburg's innings limit as the phenom starter prepares to wrap up his season before the rest of his team, but they can enjoy watching him pitch his last few starts, including a pivotally important outing Tuesday night as Washington looks to extend a six-game lead on Atlanta.
With Strasburg's "160-to-180" innings limit approaching, his start against the Braves will be one of the biggest of his young career. After a 13-inning affair saw Washington use all seven relievers in a 5-4 win in the series opener, Washington's bullpen could use an easy night. Although the Nats have been tentative to let Strasburg go late in ballgames - he hasn't pitched over seven innings in an outing this year - they'll hope he can give them some quality innings before turning to a tiring bullpen.
Strasburg will face off against Paul Maholm, who has been near-dominant, dating back to before he was traded from the Cubs to the Braves: he's won six of his last decisions and has only given up more than a single run once since the start of July, including a 1.57 ERA in his first three starts with Atlanta. All that makes for a great pitching matchup with playoff implications.
Nationals lead the series 1-0
WP: Craig Stammen (6 - 1)
LP: Cristhian Martinez (5 - 3)
|5 - 4 win
|7:05 PM EDT