WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg fanned four D-backs batters over eight innings Tuesday night at Nationals Park, tied for his lowest strikeout total since the beginning of July.
However, the performance was enough to give the hard-throwing right-hander 198 strikeouts on the season, a new single-season career high, surpassing his total in 2012, which he set prior to being shut down with six weeks still remaining in the regular season.
"It doesn't mean much to me, to be honest," Strasburg said of the achievement. "I'm just trying to make to good pitches, and just execute it. Just be smart and just hit the glove."
After Tuesday night, Strasburg now leads the National League in strikeouts by double digits. He's 11 ahead of second-place man Johnny Cueto of the Reds, who's thrown 16 1/3 more innings than Strasburg this season.
"He's got really good stuff," Nationals manager Matt Williams said of Strasburg. "With the three pitches that he does throw, he can neutralize both left and right. The curveball to the righty, changeup when he wants it, changeup for the left-hander, which looks like a fastball coming out of his hand. It's just good stuff."
Strasburg has been brilliant over his last two starts, including Tuesday night, when he led the Nationals to an 8-1 victory, their eighth straight. He's now surrendered just one earned run on six hits over 15 innings in his last two outings combined, improving to 10-10 on the season while lowering his season ERA from 3.68 to 3.41.
"It's a long season, got to roll with the highs and lows," Strasburg said. "Got to go out there and give it everything you have when your name is called."
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.