MLB Baseball

Final 1 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   R H E
Washington0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 130
San Diego2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 x 351
  W: T. Wood (2-1)   L: S. Strasburg (10-4)   S: B. Hand (11)
5:40 PM PT6:40 PM MT7:40 PM CT8:40 PM ET20:40 ET0:40 GMT8:40 5:40 PM MST7:40 PM EST8:10 PM VEN4:40 UAE (+1)7:40 PM CT, August 19, 2017
PETCO Park, San Diego, California  Attendance: 31,590

Nationals' Strasburg set to return versus Padres

SAN DIEGO -- Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg is back home in San Diego.

More importantly for Washington, the right-hander has returned to the mound as the Nationals go for their second win in the four-game series.

Strasburg, a San Diego native and former San Diego State star, will be activated from the disabled list before the game. It will be his first start since July 23, when an elbow injury put him on the shelf.

The Nationals, with a commanding lead in the NL East, will be cautious in bringing Strasburg back into the fold.

"We're certainly not just going to press him to be where he is usually," manager Dusty Baker said. "He will be on a performance-count and we'll see how he does. Hopefully he doesn't have any long innings."

The Nationals are looking for any bright spot for a rotation which took a haymaker on Friday night. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer was a late scratch from his start because of neck issues and placed on the disabled list.

But much like the season, when a key Washington player goes down another one returns.

"That has been the story all year," manager Dusty Baker said. "We lose one and gain one and hopefully before it is all over we will gain them all back."

It's hard to overstate how important Strasburg's performance is to a team that plans to play deep into October. But before that, it has to trek across another six weeks of baseball.

With Baker unsure when Scherzer will be okay, having Strasburg fit to take up the slack is significant.

"It means a lot," Baker said of Strasburg's return. "Hopefully he can take us relatively deep into the game and not use too many pitches. That will be back-to-back games where we will have to have used our bullpen."

Padres manager Andy Green knows all about consecutive games against the Nationals that are noteworthy. When the Padres were in Washington earlier this year, they got a combined one run when facing Scherzer and Strasburg.

"I don't think it is any secret that those two guys dominated us," Green said.

The Padres didn't have to face Scherzer. But Strasburg, who is 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA lifetime against the Padres, is ready to go.

Green said the Padres have to attack him in a different manner.

"Our struggles as a team, if you were to identify them, were the high fastballs and good curveballs and that is what he throws," Green said of Strasburg. "But the way Manuel Margot is starting to hit curveballs and Jose Pirela is starting to hit them and Yangervis Solarte is hitting them, that is no longer a big glaring issue as it once was.

"The challenge for us is still real. But that is what you want to measure up against. It's a challenge but if you want to beat the best teams you have to beat their starting pitching."

The Padres' starter will be Travis Wood as the left-hander looks for his second straight win. Wood, who is 1-0 with a 5.59 ERA in nine games (two starts) versus the Nationals lifetime, has been a solid pickup from the team's July trade with the Royals.

"For the most part, Travis has been pretty decent since he has been here," Green said. "He had two starts in Pittsburgh that were good and then in Cincinnati he picked around a bit and walked four guys. Then his last time out he was back around the zone."

Updated August 19, 2017

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