For now, they'd surely love to see the 23-year-old phenom put his recent struggles behind him.
Strasburg takes the mound looking to snap a career-worst three-start losing streak as the visiting Nationals continue a four-game set with the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon.
In his first full season following Tommy John surgery, Strasburg has gone 9-4 with a 2.82 ERA while striking out 128 in 99 innings. That would leave the hard-throwing right-hander with about 60 innings left if NL-leading Washington (50-35) sticks to its plan.
"I'm a stubborn guy," general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB's official website. "We're not going to change the direction that we think is best for the player and best for the franchise, so we're going to do what's best for the player."
Strasburg doesn't seem concerned about being limited down the stretch.
"I have no clue how many innings I'm going to throw this year," said Strasburg, who threw a scoreless inning during Tuesday's All-Star game. "I've answered that question multiple times, and nobody's said anything to me. I feel great right now."
Strasburg had a rough time in his final three starts before the break, losing each while compiling a 4.80 ERA. He gave up three runs on a pair of homers to Tyler Colvin over six innings of a 5-1 loss to Colorado on July 6.
"It's not a good feeling, but what can you do?" he said. "You can only go out there and give it everything you have and try to keep the team in the ballgame, but sometimes it's not going to work out."
While Strasburg yielded a career-high six runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 loss to the Marlins on Aug. 10, 2010, he's gone 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA in his other four outings against them.
He'll look to help Washington bounce back from Saturday's 2-1 loss. The Nationals, who went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position, have hit .139 in RBI situations while losing four of five at Marlins Park.
"It was a must-win game against the team we are chasing," said manager Ozzie Guillen , whose fourth-place club sits nine games behind Washington in the NL East.
Miami (42-45) now gives the ball to Ricky Nolasco (8-6, 4.35), who appears to have found his groove. The right-hander owns a 0.92 ERA over his last three outings and has won his last two.
He allowed an unearned run while scattering nine hits over six innings of a 3-2 victory at St. Louis on July 6, the last time he took the mound.
Nolasco is 8-2 with a 3.42 ERA in his last 13 starts versus Washington. He hasn't, however, fared well against Ryan Zimmerman , who is 7 for 19 with three homers in their matchups since 2009.
The Marlins have won five of their last six home games.
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|June 30, 2012||Stephen Strasburg||Day-to-Day||Left game - heat exhaustion|
|June 24, 2012||Xavier Nady||15-Day DL||Right wrist tendinitis|
|June 17, 2012||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Oblique soreness|
|June 11, 2012||Roger Bernadina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2012||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|July 08, 2012||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Right finger laceration|
|July 07, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Arthroscopic right knee surgery|
|July 06, 2012||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|June 30, 2012||Edward Mujica||15-Day DL||Fractured right pinkie toe|
|June 16, 2012||Sandy Rosario||15-Day DL||Strained right quad|
|May 23, 2012||Austin Kearns||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
MIAMI (AP) -- Stephen Strasburg found a way to escape trouble against the Miami Marlins on Sunday.
Strasburg (10-4) pitched six scoreless innings and drove in a run for the Washington Nationals in a 4-0 win over the Marlins on Sunday.
"It's one of those days where you get through (the jams)," Strasburg said. "You just have do your best and keep the team in the ballgame."
He allowed six hits and struck out seven.
"He's good, he's got four or five pitches," Marlins catcher John Buck said. "He has a way to be nice and smooth that makes him deceptive."
The Marlins were 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position as they were shut out for the ninth time this season.
"That's the reason why we lost," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "We had golden opportunities and one of the best pitchers in the game against the ropes and we didn't take advantage."
Strasburg was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the third as he struck out Logan Morrison and got Hanley Ramirez to ground out. He also got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the second and the Marlins had a runner on second with one out in the fourth.
"That's the kind of Strasburg I've grown to love," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
Steve Lombardozzi , Michael Morse , and Danny Espinosa also drove in a run for the Nationals.
Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard loaded the bases in the ninth with no outs, but retired the next three batters. Omar Infante flew out to Bryce Harper in foul territory to end the game as Harper collided with second baseman Lombardozzi.
"All I was thinking about was a wide receiver coming through the middle," Harper said. "You're going to get hammered but you have to catch the ball. He got me in my face and on my head, but I caught the ball. Game over."
Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco (8-7) did not allow a hit until the fifth inning when Morse led off with a single to left. Strasburg and Lombardozzi followed with two-out RBI singles.
"I think Ricky fell apart when I walked ( Jhonatan Solano intentionally) and the pitcher go a base hit," Guillen said.
It was the fifth RBI in 52 career at-bats for Strasburg, who also walked.
Nolasco ran into trouble again in the sixth allowing three consecutive hits to begin the inning, including an RBI single by Morse. After Espinosa's sacrifice fly gave the Nationals a 4-0 lead, Nolasco was pulled.
"The balls just found some holes, a couple ground balls here and there," Nolasco said. "Obviously the one to Strasburg just gets by. The big one I think was to Morse."
Nolasco went 5 1-3 innings, allowing four runs and six hits.
NOTES: Guillen exchanged words with Harper in the fourth inning during his second at-bat after Harper pointed a bat in his direction. Following Harper's first at-bat, Guillen informed Nationals third base coach Bo Porter , as opposed to an umpire, about the possibility of Harper's bat exceeding rules regarding pine tar. Guillen was not happy at Harper's gesture in his next at-bat and planned to talk to Johnson following the game. "I've been praising this kid the last three times they've asked me about him, he's a great player," Guillen said. "What he did today was unprofessional." Harper said: "I switched bats, but it wasn't much different from the first one." ... Nationals CF Roger Bernandina took a hit away from Buck in the fourth inning with a diving catch to his right. "That's obviously why he's in the show," Buck said. ... Nationals SS Ian Desmond (left oblique) was held out of the lineup after aggravating the injury in his final at-bat on Saturday. He is considered day to day. ... Marlins RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo, formerly known as Leo Nunez, left his rehab appearance with Triple-A New Orleans due to tightness in his throwing arm. He is eligible to return from his suspension on July 23. ... Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (5-4, 3.73 ERA) will face RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-7, 4.20 ERA) in Monday's series finale. Jackson allowed one earned run in 6 2-3 innings in a 3-1 loss to Miami on May 29.