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The Strasburg effect

The city of San Diego, where Stephen Strasburg spent the first 20 years of his life, gets an average of 10 inches of rainfall per year. As a 21-year-old minor league pitcher, however, he has such a propensity for bringing rainfall wherever he goes that teammates have taken to calling him "Rain Man."

On Tuesday, the meteorological phenomenon known as the Strasburg Effect came into play yet again, as the Syracuse Chiefs' scheduled game at Rochester's Frontier Field -- which was to have been Strasburg's third start for the Washington Nationals' Class AAA affiliate -- was postponed by rain. Four of Strasburg's five starts for Class AA Harrisburg were also affected by rain -- either delays or postponements.

Strasburg, 5-1 with a 1.06 ERA in the minors thus far, will now pitch the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday, with the first game at 11 a.m. (with Matt Chico pitching for the Chiefs) and the second at 7 p.m. The decision to pitch Strasburg in the second game was at least partly influenced by the wishes of the Rochester Red Wings' management, who were expecting a sell-out Tuesday night for Strasburg's start and did not want to disappoint starstruck fans who could not attend an 11 a.m. game.

Despite the postponement, the Nationals can still keep Strasburg lined up to make his major league debut at Nationals Park on June 4. His next start for the Chiefs, currently scheduled for Sunday in Syracuse, will almost certainly be moved to Monday, also in Syracuse. Nationals assistant general manager Bryan Minniti, who is in Rochester with the Chiefs, said the team had not determined when Strasburg will start again beyond Wednesday night, but confirmed the team would not allow him to pitch Sunday on short rest.

If Strasburg starts again Monday, he could make his final minor-league start on either May 29 or 30 -- the Chiefs play at home both nights -- then make his long-anticipated debut for the Nationals on June 4 against the Cincinnati Reds, in the first game of a six-game homestand.

By Dave Sheinin  |  May 18, 2010; 6:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

Better "Rain Man" than "The Human Rain Delay," I suppose. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | May 18, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Have they decided that the June 4 game against the Reds will be Strasburg's first start, or is it still a moving target? Last week, it appeared that June 8 against the Pirates was the favored date. If they go with June 4, they'd be able to pitch him twice on the homestand, so that might be the bottom line.

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Posted by: itkonlyyou67 | May 18, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I like "Rain Man" a lot - it will highlight his humility despite all this hype and hoopla -- and will reinforce his time in the minors as part of his future development.

I think he is definitely something special, after watching as many games that I could, and a nickname like this sure beats Jesus, Jee-zus, or anything else so far.

Not to mention when he establishes himself as a true ace and holds the foundation of the org, his Rain Man will mean much more (and for one more year due to another few weeks in AAA)!

I am holding off on June 4 tix as of yet! Going wed and sun

Posted by: mo_dc | May 18, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

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