The Washington Nationals are 5.5 games out of the second wild card playoff spot, and have been streaking. The Nats have won six in a row and eight out of their last nine games. Despite that push, they have gained little ground, because the Cincinnati Reds have won seven of their last 10. If they hope to gain any ground tonight, they will have to do it without starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who has been scratched.
Manager Davey Johnson said Strasburg may have felt the tightness while experimenting with a new pitch, but pitching coach Steve McCatty clarified that Strasburg was simply trying new grips on his pitches, a standard practice for pitchers. Johnson said the discomfort was in the “soft tissue,” essentially the muscle, in the top part of his forearm, opposite of where his 2010 Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery was performed. McCatty referred to Strasburg’s discomfort as irritation.
The Phillies' road tonight will be much easier. Instead of Strasburg they will face Ross Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf has appeared in 14 games, having started five of them. He is 3-0 with a 3.28 ERA. His last start came on September 1 against the Miami Marlins, another fill-in. He went five innings and allowed four earned runs.