Is Werth single-handedly powering the Nats?
[Updated 6:23 p.m.]
Though they've won eight of their last nine games, not all is well for the Nats as they return home on Friday.
Stephen Strasburg was scratched before his expected start against the Philadelphia Phillies due to forearm tightness. The Nats' ace felt the injury during a bullpen session on Thursday in New York, when he was experimenting with a new pitch. Ross Ohlendorf was pulled out of the bullpen to start in his place.
"When he was playing catch he had some discomfort so he came in and got treatment," Davey Johnson said. "The doctor in New York examined him and didn't think it was anything serious, just that it was probably a little tired and tight so here we are. He's not pitching."
Pitching coach Steve McCatty was there and described the situation on Friday.
"He goes out and throws every day. As I was going outside to watch him throw, he was coming back in," McCatty said. "He said his arm, he felt like he couldn’t throw, couldn’t get loose. So we waited until afterwards, he tried it again and it just didn’t feel good."
McCatty said Strasburg only threw about seven or eight pitches before he noticed something was wrong.
Strasburg felt the pain on the top side of his forearm, not in the area he had Tommy John surgery in 2010. Johnson described it as "soft tissue," not involving anything structural.
Strasburg was also examined by team medial director Dr. Wiemi Douogiuh on Friday who prescribed two days off before he resumes throwing and medication for the soreness.
If the next few days go as expected, Strasburg will be set up to make his next start on Sept. 19 against the Miami Marlins. Johnson is hopeful that will be the case.
"All the doctors think it's a non-issue, just give him some rest," he said.
Strasburg was set to make his 29th start of the season on Friday. He also had a 15-day stint on the disabled list in June, missing 12 total games for the Nats with a right lat strain.
Strasburg was shut down last season after throwing 159 1/3 innings as part of his recovery from Tommy John. He recently surpassed that mark to set a career-high for innings pitched and now sits with 170 on the season.
The Nationals have 16 games left on their schedule and are 5 1/2 games out of the final NL Wild Card spot. Even if Strasburg can return on Sept, 19, he'll likely only have two more starts this season.
Ohlendorf will make his sixth start for the Nationals, he has a 3.28 ERA through 49 1/3 total innings on the year. The veteran has found trouble lately after a strong start to the season. He finished July with a 1.31 ERA, but that mark has more than doubled with 11 earned runs allowed in his last 15 1/3 innings.