"It's definitely something that I've never experienced before," Strasburg said. "I think it's a test. It's a test for me and I'm gonna look at it that way and I'm not gonna quit. I'm gonna keep going."
After working a perfect first and escaping a two-on, one-out jam in the second, things went south.
The right-hander offered his only walk of the afternoon followed by a pair of doubles -- one by Cesar Hernandez and the other by Ryan Howard. Then, ahead 0-2 on Maikel Franco, Strasburg left a fastball up and Franco clocked his second home run of the year over the center-field wall.
"I know that he's out there, throwing hard, good fastball again," manager Matt Williams said. "Early fastball command was there, but just when he got them to two strikes, he couldn't put them away. So, that happens sometimes, but today it was just outside the strike zone or up in the strike zone or not throwing it where he wanted to with two strikes."
That capped the damage in the third, but it picked right up again in the fourth. Nat-killer Odubel Herrera doubled to left, Cole Hamels singled to right and Bryce Harper's throw to the plate -- Herrera had held at third -- missed everybody and skipped to the backstop.
Ben Revere knocked Herrera in to make it 5-0. Hernandez, up for the third time in four innings, was the last batter Strasburg faced. He snuck a ground ball under the glove of Ian Desmond, one of two errors on the play and four behind the starter.
"I mean, in a sense I can kind of relate [to Strasburg's struggles]," said Desmond. "It's going to be really good to see him bounce out of it. It looks like he lacks a little bit of confidence out there. Maybe he's fighting something mentally. But I have no doubt that he'll shake it off and come back just as good as ever."
In May, Strasburg has allowed 24 hits and 19 runs (17 earned) in 15 innings. His season ERA climbed to 6.50.
Still, Williams remains confident.
"We're not concerned. He's one of our guys. He's been one of our guys. He will continue to be one of our guys," Williams said. "He's going through a rough stretch. It doesn't mean he can't come out of it his next start and be absolutely dominant. He has that capability every time he walks out on the mound. He will work hard until the next one and be ready to go. I'm not concerned about it. Everybody has issues sometimes and has a mini-slump. The next opportunity for him is five days from now and you never know what might happen there. It may be really good."