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The Strasburg Watch: A Solid Seven Innings

UPDATE THROUGH SEVEN: Stephen Strasburg just mowed down the Virginia Cavaliers in the seventh, striking out three straight batters after allowing a leadoff single, and with double-barreled action in the Aztecs' bullpen, that could be the end of his night. His pitch total is 118, although he seems to be getting stronger as the game wears on. If he's finished, here's his line: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 0 W, 15 Ks. But the Aztecs are still trailing by a pair of runs.

UPDATE THROUGH FIVE: After a shaky start, Stephen Strasburg has strung together three straight solid innings -- retiring nine of the 10 batters he faced from the third to the fifth, allowing only a bloop single -- but the Aztecs still trail 2-0 after five innings. And by my count, Strasburg has thrown 92 pitches.

He has started to show more confidence in his fastball, although the radar readings I'm hearing are still in the 94-96 range, and he has struck out 10 batters through five.

UPDATE: A rough first inning is followed by a rough second inning for the talented Mr. Strasburg, This one included two singles (neither particularly well-hit), two wild pitches and a fielding error by Strasburg. It all led to another run for the Cavaliers, who now lead 2-0. I also spoke to a scout with a radar gun who had Strasburg at 96 and 97 mph in the first inning, but only 94 and 95 mph in the second inning, with one fastball coming in at just 92.

Oh, and I also have him at 51 pitches through two innings.
******

Eight pitches into his NCAA tournament debut, San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg was down 1-0, after Virginia designated hitter Phil Gosselin smashed a first-pitch fastball off the scoreboard in left field for a homer. Gosselin rounded the bases and touched home plate as if it were no big deal, but was immediately mobbed by teammates between the plate and the Cavaliers' dugout.

Strasburg gave up two more singles before escaping the inning having thrown 20 pitches. The Cavaliers came out hacking, apparently of the belief that a first-pitch fastball was likely to be the most hittable pitch they would see in any given at-bat.

No radar readings at Anteater Stadium, and I'm not near a television monitor, but I'd be grateful to anyone watching on TV who can post some velocity numbers in the comments section below.

I won't be updating every inning, but will post here as events warrant.

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 29, 2009; 7:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

The sharp basehit up the middle in the first was hit by an 18 year old freshman from St Albans Good player, but please shave a couple mil off Boras.

Posted by: Kev29 | May 29, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen anything over 97mph yet. 2-0 VA. A single, two WPs, two Ks and then an infield single.

Posted by: twinbrook | May 29, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Maxwell has to make that grab

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 29, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Anyone watching the Nat's game? We are watching some of the most immobile defending you've ever seen. Dunn, Willingham and Guzman just can't move.

God effing damn I hate this team. Give me a defender. My Kingdom for a defender!

Posted by: soundbloke | May 29, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg hasn't thrown any faster than 97 mph so far (through 2 innings)

Posted by: rushfari | May 29, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

maybe he doesnt have his best stuff tonight

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | May 29, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice catch, Josh!

Posted by: twinbrook | May 29, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

As I've seen this Nats movie before (at least 40 times in 2 months), I watched Strasburg pitch his first 2 innings. First time I guess most of us have seen him. Good, but certainly not $50MIL GREAT. And why does he need a "personal catcher"? Especially a guy - his roommate, it turns out - who's a 3rd baseman the other 6 days of the week? Kinda surprised Tony Gwynn goes along with that. Is that a Strasburg edict? And also surprising since everybody says he is a "team" guy. The regular catcher ain't good enough for him? Wonder what Nats management thinks about this outing. Can't be real comforting for them.

Posted by: LeeM9308 | May 29, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Notice that the scouts who were behind the plate are gone. I haven't seen a radar gun since the second inning.

Posted by: MKadyman | May 29, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

@sound:

Willingham & Dunn flanking anybody (Maxwell, Harris, Griffey Jr, even DiMaggio) would still be a net minus defense in the OF. One of them has to go before next season begins, or it will be more of the same in 2010, and moveing one of them to 1B IS NOT an answer - it just moves the problem to a more exposed position.

Guzman is a slightly-below average fielder at SS overall, imo. His defensive liabilities are more evident to the fan when he gets into his current "All-hack, all the time" mode. He's nearly at the Manny Sanguillen level of hackdom (Sanguillen had the rep in PIT of never seeing a pitch he didn't want to swing at).

Posted by: BinM | May 29, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah. Keep your eyes on Strasburg. This is all much of the same from your Scats.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 29, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Agreed BinM. With bells on!

But who want's them. We can't trade Dunn, and you wouldn't get a bag of balls for Willingham. We need a quality centre fielder, and Dukes in a corner.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's getting late and this chair isn't going to kick itself out from under me.

Posted by: soundbloke | May 29, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Some of the third-strike swings the Wahoo players made against Strasburg were on clear balls, something I highly doubt a major league hitter would do.

That said, pretty impressive, nonetheless. Too bad the opposing Virginia starting pitcher was just as good.

Posted by: Juan-John | May 29, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

If you look at the 23 K game on YouTube you'll see the same thing. The hitters chase a lot of balls out of the strike zone both up and outside. While it's possible he "set them" up prior to this, I too think big league hitters will be more likely to lay off these pitches. Scarier for me was how many belt-high fastballs he got away with in the 23K game. I have a feeling major leaguers would foul some of them off and others might go a long way, as a souvenir for some lucky fan.

Having written that, I think the Nats have to take Strasburg. I doubt he'll contribute this year but he's the type of talent you simply have to take a chance on.

Posted by: grforbes | May 30, 2009 12:28 AM | Report abuse

way to go Hoos.

Posted by: Durham2 | May 30, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for drafting strasburg first overall and paying him whatever Boras wants. The Lerner's need to make a statement to DC public about their commitment to building the team. I think they were jobbed by the media over the Aaron Crow situation and I'm fine with them getting the 10th overall pick which means they could take the best player available no matter what the position. The overall problem with Nationals farm system is that it was allowed to collapse when the team was owned by major league baseball and it takes awhile to build a farm system...at least 5 years...and we are going to be entering the 5th year next year.

Posted by: eselwyn | May 30, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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