Strasburg live-blog: Tim Redding cameo edition
8:51 p.m.: Two of the three inherited runners scored, one on a double-play grounder that Wilkie induced from Chad Huffman, the other on an RBI single by Jesus Montero. That closes the book on Strasburg's night. Here are his pertinent pitching lines:
Tonight: 5+ IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K (and one balk).
Class AAA: 28 1/3 IP, 15 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 33 K (1.27 ERA)
Overall: 50 1/3 IP, 28 H, 8 ER, 12 BB, 60 K (1.43 ERA)
Also, since the Chiefs now trail, 3-2, Strasburg would be on the hook for the loss, which would be just his second of the year.
8:43 p.m.: It was a bizarre ending to Strasburg's night, as he was just pulled with nobody out in the sixth after loading the bases on two singles and a walk. The bizarreness came when Yankees left fielder Jon Weber was ejected in the middle of his at-bat after arguing a strike call. One pitch later, Strasburg was called for a balk -- his first of the season -- when he flinched as if starting his delivery, only to stop. In any case, Strasburg is out and Josh Wilkie is in for the Chiefs, but all three baserunners are Strasburg's responsibility.
8:32 p.m.: The Yankees just lifted one ex-Nationals pitcher for another, as Redding was yanked with two outs in the fifth in favor of Zack Segovia. Segovia, as you surely remember, made eight appearances for the Nationals last season, going 1-0 with a 7.84 ERA. And guess who else is on the SWB Yankees' roster? That's right -- Jonathan Albaladejo. Reckon we'll see him next.
8:26 p.m.: Strasburg gave up a two-out single to the No. 9 hitter, Matt Cusick, but otherwise struck out the side in the fifth with an overpowering display of pitching. The strikeouts came, in order, on a curve (looking), a 98-mph four-seamer (swinging) and a 96-mph two-seamer (swinging). The first of those strikeouts was of Rene Rivera, as Strasburg exacted a measure of revenge for the homer Rivera hit off him in the third. That's six strikeouts and four hits allowed by Strasburg, who has thrown 77 pitches so far (49 strikes). No one is warming in the Chiefs' bullpen. Meanwhile, the Chiefs took the lead against Tim Redding in the bottom of the fourth, on RBI singles by Chase Lambin and Luis Ordaz. It's 2-1, Chiefs, as we play the bottom of the fifth.
8:03 p.m.: Strasburg had to work hard once again in the fourth, surviving a one-out walk to Jon Weber and helping himself again with the glove by fielding two comebackers flawlessly. The first of those was particularly impressive, as Strasburg had to jump and glove a high-hopper that was nearly over his head. He also struck out Chad Huffman, looking, on a curve -- Strasburg's third K of the night. Through four: 63 pitches, 39 strikes.
7:55 p.m.: More on Rene Rivera: He was signed by the Yankees eight days ago out of the independent Atlantic League, where he was playing for the Camden River Sharks. But he did play parts of three seasons in the majors (2004-06), and owns three career big league homers.
7:48 p.m.: It took nearly 48 innings, but Strasburg has just given up his first home run as a minor leaguer. (Obviously, we're not counting Arizona Fall League or spring training when we say that.) The perpetrator was Yankees DH Rene Rivera, who crushed a 99-mph fastball the opposite way to right-center on the seventh pitch of an at-bat leading off the third inning. Strasburg was peeved at himself and shouted something into his glove after the ball left the yard. Greg Golson also singled in the inning, smashing a grounder through the left side of the Chiefs' infield with two outs. So right now, Tim Redding is beating Strasburg; it's 1-0, Yankees, as the Chiefs bat in the bottom of the third. Strasburg is at 45 pitches (29 strikes).
7:33 p.m.: The best thing to come out of the second inning was Strasburg's display of fielding acumen. After giving up a sharp, ground-ball single up the middle on a first-pitch fastball to Jon Weber, Strasburg induced a weak comebacker from Chad Huffman, and he played it perfectly, fielding it, pivoting and throwing a strike to shortstop Pedro Lopez, who came across the bag and threw to first to complete the 1-6-3 double play. Strasburg then won his first encounter with catcher Jesus Montero, the Yankees' top prospect, who lined out to center on a 98-mph fastball for the third out. Twenty-seven pitches through two innings (including 19 strikes).
7:20 p.m.: The first inning will go down as a 1-2-3 frame in the scorebooks, but Strasburg had to battle to get there. The Yankees fouled off no fewer than seven pitches in the inning -- including four with two strikes -- and battled Strasburg for 20 pitches. He did come away with two strikeouts in the inning, getting leadoff man Greg Golson on a 99-mph fastball (his hardest of the inning) and shortstop Eduardo Nunez on a 90-mph changeup at the end of an eight-pitch at-bat, after Nunez had fouled off two curve balls and a fastball. I almost never see anyone put a good, aggressive swing on one of Strasburg's curves, but Nunez did -- hooking one deep but foul to left.
7 p.m.: Greetings once again from Syracuse's Alliance Bank Stadium, where tonight we have a double treat: Stephen Strasburg's fifth start for the Syracuse Chiefs (and his 10th overall in the minors) plus former Nationals pitcher Tim Redding's first start of the season for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
Redding, 32, was released by the Colorado Rockies a few weeks ago and signed with the Yankees on May 12. As many of you will recall, Redding spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Nationals, then signed with the New York Mets the following offseason. He made 30 appearances (17 starts) for the Mets in 2009, going 3-6 with a 5.14 ERA.
As for Strasburg, he'll be throwing to his third different catcher in his last three starts. Veteran Jamie Burke, who has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors (including six games for the Nationals in 2009), has those duties tonight.
I've already spotted three members of the Nationals' front office here -- Director of Player Development Doug Harris, Director of Minor League Operations Mark Scialabba and Director of Pro Scouting Bill SInger.
The Chiefs have already announced the game as a sell-out, and one team official told me they could get over 14,000 fans -- in a stadium that officially holds 11,700.
Indications are that Strasburg will have one more start for the Chiefs after tonight, with that start coming either June 3 at Buffalo or June 4 back here.
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