After giving up no hits in his first 6 2/3 innings of action, Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg was forced to watch the rest of Sunday’s game versus the Cincinnati Reds.

Coming off the disabled list for his first start since June 15th, Strasburg had thrown 109 pitches and walked four batters in his first start since June 15th. The high pitch count and his recent DL stint combined to compel Dusty Baker was forced to take out his starter with two outs in the seventh. An inning later, the no-hitter was broken up by Reds catcher Ramon Cabrera.

For Baker, much of his decision came down to Strasburg’s inefficiency. At 109 pitches through 6 2/3 IP, Strasburg would’ve needed a ridiculous number of pitches to finish off the no-hitter. His highest pitch count this season is 114 pitches.

Thankfully for the Nationals, this decision had little impact on the game. Washington led 9-0 when Strasburg was pulled and went on to win the game 12-0.

The decision was a no-brainer for Baker. The Nationals are primed to make the playoffs this season and will need Strasburg if they want to make a run in the postseason. On top of that, Washington gave Strasburg a seven-year, $175 million extension this past offseason and has a lot committed to the 27-year-old.

This is the closest Strasburg has come to a no-hitter in his young career; he previously threw eight one-hit innings in a 2015 start. Though Strasburg is likely disappointed he was unable to finish the job, there is plenty more to smile about. He had a strong start, the Nationals are in first place in the NL East, and he became one of just four players in MLB history to go 11-0 or better in his first 15 starts.

About Ryan Williamson

Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri and has recently returned to his Minnesota roots. He previously has worked for the Columbia Missourian, KFAN radio in Minneapolis and Feel free to email me at rwilliamson29 AT Gmail dot com.