Sunday, May 28, 2017

Boston's Brian Johnson Fans 8 As Sox Win 6th Straight; Strasberg Fans 15 Padres For Nationals

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 27, 2017

American League

Johnson: CG 5-hit shutout
It was a day for pitching across the MLB spectrum on Saturday. Five teams - Detroit, Seattle, San Diego, Colorado, and the Chicago Cubs - were shut out, though, in a sign of the times kind of way, only one of those shutouts was a complete game.

That was tossed by Boston hurler, Brian Johnson, the 26-year-old lefty rookie who was staked to a three-run edge in the first inning and more than made it stand up, limiting the visiting Mariners to five hits, fanning eight, walking none, in a 6-0 Red Sox triumph.

Johnson threw 85 of 109 pitches for strikes and was ahead 0-1 on 26 of the 32 batters faced. Now, 2-0, Johnson, since left-handers are such a prized commodity, may get more appearances as Boston has taken over second place in the AL East, two games behind the Yankees, 3-2 winners over Oakland on Saturday. However, with David Price due back to the rotation this coming week, Johnson may have to wait until another chance at a spot start appears.

While Baltimore has lost six straight, the Red Sox have won six in a row, moving past the Orioles, who led the division just two weeks ago. Baltimore is 3 1/2 out.

Boston will be looking for the sweep of the Mariners when they meet Sunday, 1:35 pm ET at Fenway Park.

National League

Strasberg: 15 Ks
Favorites to win the NL East and beyond, the Washington Nationals continue to plow through the schedule, now 8 1/2 games clear of second place Atlanta in the division, after Stephen Strasberg and crew shut down the Padres for a 3-0 win.

The flame-throwing Strasberg stuck out 15 Padres over seven innings, his highest K total this season. The two-time all star (2012, 2016) was also largely untouchable, giving up just three singles, protecting a one-run, third-inning lead until Michael Taylor stroked a two-run homer n the sixth for some breathing room.

Strasberg threw 108 pitches and surrendered only one walk. In 67 1/3 innings this season, he has 74 strikeout victims, tied for fifth with Arizona's Robbie Ray in the NL. Teammate Max Scherzer leads the league with 89 whiffers.

Now 6-1 with a 2.94 ERA, Strasberg may be looking at his best season in his eight-year major league career.

The Nationals have taken the first two games of the series in Washington from the Padres, and will be seeking the sweep when the teams take the field Sunday, at 1:35 pm ET.

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