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Strasburg live-blog: Return to Syracuse

8:25 p.m.: Strasburg is indeed out of the game. Here are his pertinent pitching lines:
Tonight: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Class AAA: 23 1/3 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 27 K (0.39 ERA)
Overall: 45 1/3 IP, 22 H, 11 R, 5 ER, 10 BB, 54 K (0.99 ERA)

8:20 p.m.: A quick 1-2-3 fifth inning (Strasburg's first since the first), and it appears the Chiefs are going to lift him here after five innings. Pitching coach Greg Booker just motioned to the bullpen to get a right-hander up after the inning ended. Nothing is wrong with Strasburg -- who appeared disappointed in the dugout when Booker told him he was done. Strasburg has only thrown 52 pitches (36 strikes), but the Nationals may be looking to shut him down early in his final minor league starts, in order to save some bullets for the majors.

8:05 p.m.: And there goes Strasburg's perfect ERA in Class AAA. The Mud Hens just touched him for three hits -- two singles and a double -- scoring one run (earned, this time) and hitting him hard again. Carlos Guillen, a three-time all-star for the Detroit Tigers (playing for Toledo on a rehab assignment), started it off with a solid single to right on a changeup. After a strikeout of Ryan Strieby (curve, swinging), Jeff Frazier doubled into the left field corner, and Casper Wells drove in the run with a sharp grounder through the hole between third and short. Strasburg escaped without further damage by striking out Brent Dlugach (95-mph fastball, looking) and getting Deik Scram to line out to shortstop, where Pedro Lopez made an excellent diving catch. Strasburg is throwing a lot of strikes -- 30 of them, out of 44 total pitches -- and the Mud Hens are being aggressive, swinging early in the count.

7:43 p.m.: After 20 scoreless innings, Strasburg just gave up his first run in Class AAA, although it was unearned, scoring from third on a passed ball by catcher Devin Ivany. Strasburg was hit fairly hard in the inning, with Deik Scram smoking a grounder past first baseman Josh Whitesell and into the Mud Hens' bullpen for a leadoff triple. Strasburg nearly escaped the inning, getting a weak foul pop and a smashed grounder to second (a nice play by Eric Bruntlett), keeping Scram at third base. But Ivany couldn't handle a low, 93-mph sinker, which went all the way to the wall, allowing Scram to score easily. The inning then ended when Scott Sizemore lined out to third. Eight pitches, five for strikes -- and 28 pitches (18 strikes) for the game.

7:31 p.m.: Strasburg got his revenge on Casper Wells, striking him out on a nasty 83-mph curve after setting him up with two 97-mph fastballs. The other two outs in the inning were on the ground, including a soft comebacker that required Strasburg to come off the mound to his right to make the play. Thirteen pitches in the inning, eight for strikes -- so he's at 20 pitches (13 strikes) through two.

7:16 p.m.: Nice, quick, seven-pitch inning for the phenom, including a strikeout (looking) of Scott Sizemore on an excellent curve ball. The other outs were both in the air (a soft liner to center and a lazy fly to left), which is noteworthy because Strasburg has had entire starts with no fly-ball outs whatsoever. The radar readout here at Alliance Bank Stadium isn't working, but I'm told his fastball was sitting at around 96 mph in the first inning.

7:05 p.m.: Welcome to another installment of the Strasburg live-blog, your inning-by-inning guide to all things Strasburgian. And what a lovely evening it is here in Syracuse -- mostly sunny skies, warm, a slight breeze. We've got Stan Kasten and Pat Corrales in town from the Nationals' front office tonight. (In regards to the ongoing speculation over the date of Strasburg's big league debut, Kasten points out: "The only way to be sure not to miss it is to buy a season ticket.")

A couple of notes before we get started here tonight:

*Strasburg will have a new catcher -- Devin Ivany -- since Carlos Maldonado has been called up by the Nationals and is on his way to San Francisco. Strasburg worked extremely well with Maldonado; he rarely shook off a sign and went out of his way to praise him after each start. Ivany caught Strasburg during some intrasquad games at minor league spring training camp, but never in an actual game.

*In the lineup for the Toledo Mud Hens tonight is the only person to hit a grand slam off Strasburg since he signed with the Nationals last August. Casper Wells, Toledo's center fielder and No. 6 hitter, connected off Strasburg last October in an Arizona Fall League game -- the third of three hitters who homered off Strasburg during one disastrous inning.

In fact, Wells remains the last hitter to homer off Strasburg in non-exhibition play. (Strasburg allowed two homers during spring training, but has not been taken deep during eight minor league starts this year.)

I talked to Wells this afternoon, and he said he hit a hanging curve: "I was trying to stay on the fastball. He left [the curve] up, and I kind of got it out in front [of the plate] and fortunately enough it went out. He's a good pitcher. I'm not going to beat around the bush. But you compete in the game, and you get a good pitch to hit and try to take advantage of it."

When I asked Wells about Strasburg's body language on the mound that day, as he gave up three homers, Wells said he remained composed. "He carried himself really well," Wells said. "I was looking right at him when he gave up those home runs, because I wanted to see if he was kicking at the dirt or whatever. But when he gave up those home runs, he almost looked like he was just like, 'Ah, whatever, you got lucky.' He just got the ball back and went at it."

*Also in the Mud Hens' lineup: Three-time MLB all-star Carlos Guillen, on a rehab assignment.

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 24, 2010; 6:47 PM ET
 
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Comments

Hey Gang-r.e. my last bit on run production-Leonard Davis lookin' good? I recall him as being someone we had some hopes for, huh? Have to check my Baseball Prospectus. And lookee-there's Chris Duncan (who has had some MLB success)... and Canada Pete! Yard...
Oh, yea....7 pitches!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | May 24, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-I'm on a roll!Can we also bring up the Chiefs' sideline female for Debbie Taylor? Although her "reporting" was, if anything, more inane than Ms. Taylors'!(And apologies to all you women gang members for my entirely non baseball related comment).
Ouch! A hit! Karmic retribution?...
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | May 24, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Trent Jewett's argument was probably the most enjoyable rhubarb I've seen since the Earl Weaver era. Hope it turns up miked on YouTube someday.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | May 24, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, that's the kind of start Strasburg needed to have in AAA. He didn't seem particularly sharp and the hitters were definitely looking for a fastball to hit early in the count (maybe a little predictable in the pitch selection?). But he still made a lot of solid pitches and avoided the big inning, which is what good pitchers do. One more game to go...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 24, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

They'll probably let him go a bit more than five innings when he makes his next start Saturday at San Diego...

Posted by: Ted_Striker | May 24, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

One other thing. It's pretty clear there aren't a lot of really good hitters in AAA. Honestly, how many of the guys we've seen in these games look like they'd be dangerous hitters in the bigs? It'll be a big step up for Strasburg, but I think he can handle it (yes, tongue is firmly planted in cheek)...

Posted by: baltova1 | May 24, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Re Strasburg starting in San Diego, read between the lines in Kasten's comment, as relayed by Sheinin:

In regards to the ongoing speculation over the date of Strasburg's big league debut, Kasten points out: "The only way to be sure not to miss it is to buy a season ticket."

In other words, Strasburg ain't starting Saturday night in San Diego. Kasten doesn't get a cut of San Diego's season ticket sales.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 24, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse


I'm not sure what the rush is!

The Nationals aren't expecting to become a World Series contender this year.

Stop putting pressure on the kid and let him get his professional "legs."

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | May 24, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I actually think they should start him on the road and SD would be perfect. A)He's pitched there (in petco) B) Its a big ballpark, C) I couldn't imagine the pressure he will be under starting at home.

His 1st start at home and all after will be sold out, Regardless of whether or not the 1st big league one is at home

Posted by: JDB1 | May 24, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

If he's not ready to take the pressure of his first big league start at home, then he's not ready to pitch in the big leagues.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 24, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Bring back Willy Mo Pena!!!

Posted by: SA-Town | May 24, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

"If he's not ready to take the pressure of his first big league start at home, then he's not ready to pitch in the big leagues."

Thats BS. Plus I never said he couldn't handle the pressure, simply he wouldn't have as much by starting on the road.

Posted by: JDB1 | May 24, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Can Jesus catch on the four days he's not pitching?

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | May 24, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

If he needs to be coddled by being exposed to less pressure by pitching on the road, then he's not ready. If they think he needs to be coddled by starting him on the road, then they're not ready to bring him up. His first start will be at Nationals Park. Bank on it.

Posted by: nunof1 | May 24, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Again dude, no one said he needed to be coddled. Though I'm not sure what you call what they've been doing. I'm a season ticket holder, so I could care less. I will be their either way. I want them to win games not worry about whether or not his first start is at home. It seems half the people who post on here (and I'm not saying you) only care about whether or not his first start is at home. Should it matter? He has nothing left to do in the minors

Posted by: JDB1 | May 24, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Again dude, no one said he needed to be coddled. Though I'm not sure what you call what they've been doing. I'm a season ticket holder, so I could care less. I will be their either way. I want them to win games not worry about whether or not his first start is at home. It seems half the people who post on here (and I'm not saying you) only care about whether or not his first start is at home. Should it matter? He has nothing left to do in the minors

Posted by: JDB1 | May 24, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: JDB1 | May 24, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

In regards to the ongoing speculation over the date of Strasburg's big league debut, Kasten points out: "The only way to be sure not to miss it is to buy a season ticket."

StanK also said there was nothing he could do about that undercoating. It's put on at the factory, you know.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | May 24, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL, I said the same thing to my husband when he got home (well after the tossing had taken place).

---

Trent Jewett's argument was probably the most enjoyable rhubarb I've seen since the Earl Weaver era. Hope it turns up miked on YouTube someday.

Posted by: MikeH0714 | May 24, 2010 8:15 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 24, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

C'mon people, you gotta get real. Virtually all of the remaining decisions regarding Strasburg are business-related. He's not being held back in the minors to work on his pitching, they're waiting for enough time to pass to safely start his major league clock.

His first start is going to be at home. Repeat after me, his first start is going to be at home. There's no word that is happening anywhere else. The Nats want to soak up all of that money and attention.

Posted by: baltova1 | May 25, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

@Sunshine_Bobby: "Can Jesus catch on the four days he's not pitching?"

Yes, he can.

But that's the easy part.

He can also catch on the days that he IS pitching.

And Willie Harris can play the seven other positions.

Posted by: gilbertbp | May 25, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I understand the sentiment for having Strasburg's first start in San Diego, but if the roles were reversed, would San Diego consider starting a comparable phenom in a road game at Nationals Park -- just because it was his home town?

Posted by: KenNat | May 25, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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