Stephen Strasburg live blog, Syracuse edition, Vol. 2
8:58: Drew Storen has entered in relief on Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg's lines are below.
Tonight: 6 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 7 K
Class AAA: 12 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 2 BB, 13 K
Minors: 34 IP, 4 ER, 14 H, 8 BB, 40 K (1.06 ERA, 0.65 WHIP)
8:53: Strasburg is still no-hitting the Tides through six, but not after a scare. He received a standing ovation from the Alliance Bank Stadium crowd, and he is likely finished after 79 pitches and six innings. Manager Trent Jewett did speak of stretching him out a little bit, but Drew Storen is up in the Syracuse bullpen. It's probably over for Strasburg. If so, four of his last five outings have been one-hit or no-hit starts. To quote Nyjer Morgan, "Jeee-zusss."
In that inning, Adam Donachie rocked a fly ball about 360 feet to left field, just shy of the warning track. It fell into Chase Lambin's glove for nothing but a long out, the second of the inning. Strasburg recovered by just smoking three pitches by Gathright for his seventh strikeout.
8:25: It's still pretty ridiculous at Alliance Bank Stadium. Strasburg struck out two with a groundball mixed in in the fifth. He's still got a no-hitter going against the Tides. He threw 10 strikes in 13 pitches that inning, striking out Michael Aubrey looking at a 3-2, 82-mph curveball to finish off an eight-pitch at-bat. Overall, Strasburg has thrown 47 strikes in 66 pitches, striking out six and walking one.
8:10: Three more up, three more down for the phenom. After a fly to right on a curve ball and a strikeout on a curveball in which Jeff Salazer missed by about a foot, Strasburg had a fascinating at-bat with Bell. Strasburg pitched him backwards, starting him with a curve (looking, strike one) and a changeup (swinging, strike two). Strasburg then pumped a 98-mph fastball under Bell's chin. He missed with a curve outside for ball two. Bell gamely fouled off a fastball and then a changeup, put popped up a 98-mph fastball to shallow left, where Lopez made the catch. That was a great at-bat by Bell, one of the game's best prospects, and he still seemed pretty helpless.
Through four, Strasburg has allowed one walk and no hits while striking out four. Only one ball has been hit hard. Dominating doesn't really do it justice.
7:53: It's becoming pretty clear that Strasburg's presence in the minor leagues, whatever it means for him, is unfair for the competition. Blake Davis reached with the first solid contact all night, a one-hopper on a curve that Syracuse shortstop Pedro Lopez let boink off his glove for an error. From the stretch, Strasburg struck out Adam Donachie on an 80-mph curveball. With Gathright batting, catcher Carlos Maldonado threw out Davis trying to steal by a mile. Gathright then looked at a 98-mph on the black of the inside corner for strike three.
Strasburg threw 10 strikes in 12 pitches in the third, bringing him 26 and 37 for the game. In nine Class AAA innings, he's allowed one hit and struck out nine with two walks.
7:35: Strasburg got it heated up a little bit a 1-2-3 second inning. He hit 98 on the radard gun three times and 97 three times. He struck out Scott Moore looking at an implausible 81-mph changeup right after he threw him a 97-mph fastball. Two grouners to first later, Strasburg had finished his eighth Class AAA inning. The totals: one hit, seven strikeouts, two walks. In the second, he threw 10 pitches, six strikes. 25 pitches total this game, 16 strikes.
7:22: Stephen Strasburg featured mostly fastballs in a pretty smooth first inning. He walked Jeff Salazar with two outs on a tough 3-2 call, a 95-mph fastball that just missed the outside corner, but otherwise got a chopper to short and two opposite field pops to left. Unlike his last Class AA start, Strasburg gave no looks toward the umpire.
He threw 15 pitches, 10 strikes and 11 fastballs. Round 1 of Strasbrug-Bell went decidely to Strasburg. Bell fouled away a 97-mph fastball (the fastest pitch Strasburg threw), swung through a nasty, 86-mph change and then flied lazily to left.
The crowd is not overflowing like Strasburg's Syracuse debut five days ago. Half of the upper deck is completely empty.
7:11: Strasburg is about to get it going against Norfolk leadoff man Joey Gathright. On tap is a titantic prospect showdown with Josh Bell, batting cleanup.
6:55: When Stephen Strasburg pitches here at Alliance Bank Park, "it turns into a zoo," Class AAA Syracuse Manager Trent Jewett. Never has that been truer than tonight. Screech and the Racing Presidents are in the house. Strasburg and the rest of the Sky Chiefs will be wearing pink jersey to promote breast cancer awareness. They had matching pink hats, too, but they turned out to be too small - the back broke when Kevin Mench tried to squeeze one over his famously large noggin.
Strasburg's second Class AAA start may precede some finagling of his pitching schedule. The Nationals have not made a final decision on his next start, Jewett said. Matt Chico will start Friday for the Sky Chiefs, slotting an extra arm in Syracuse's rotation. Strasburg may receive an extra day of rest.
"We'll see how it goes," Jewett said. "At a certain point, [pitching coordinator] Spin [Williams] and the people in the front office will want to see if he needs normal rest, an extra day, whatever. That's a decision they'll make. We'll see how tonight goes."
The takeaway from that: Say Strasburg gets an extra day of rest in between his next three starts. He'll have made five Class AAA starts, 10 minor league outings in total, by May 30. Five days later, June 4, the Nationals open a homestand against the Cincinnati Reds. The Super Two clock will definitely be up. The Nationals could start Strasburg on June 4 and then bring him back for June 10 (the Nats have an off June 7) against the Pirates, the final game of the homestand. Two Strasburg starts in that homestand would be an attendance bonanza.
As for tonight, Strasburg's restrictions have been somewhat relaxed. Caution will still rule the night, but the hard-and-fast six innings or 85 pitches does not apply, Jewett said.
"The last time, he breezed," Jewett said. "The thing we want to do is, we want to get him stretched out. At the same time, we want to make sure we're not asking for too much of him. You can't get emotional about it and try to win a ballgame at this level to the detriment of a young No. 1 starter. I don't know that there's major restrictions, but we'll proceed with caution."
First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Even though Wednesday is Flip Night at Faegan's, we'll be here bringing you updates all game.
May 12, 2010; 6:55 PM ET
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Next: Washington Nationals Q&A with Tracee Hamilton, 9:30 a.m.
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