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What's next for Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals?

Morning roundup

So. That wasn't bad.

Now how'd you like to be those poor Pittsburgh Pirates batters who faced Stephen Strasburg's lightning bolts last night who now get to face Livan Hernandez's tantalizing slop John Lannan's low-90s sinkers today?

Life will go on for the Nationals after Strasburg's singular debut last night, and it suddenly seems a whole lot sweeter. Strasburg, of course, will pitch only every fifth day, but his impact runs deeper. The Nationals had hit their first major rut of the season, having lost four straight series while going 4-9, extending a downswing to 7-16. All of that was forgotten last night.

"The energy he brought tonight and just kind of the atmosphere tonight, after a rough couple weeks we've had since I've been here, it's exciting," reliever Drew Storen said. "Obviously, we're happy to have him. The biggest thing we're happy about is, what a great asset. You've got a guy like that like coming out every five days, it's pretty awesome. We're real excited about it."

Strasburg is going to have three different effects on his new team. If he pitches anything like last night, he's going to win a lot of games himself. He's going to baffle opposing teams and leave them searching, likely making things easier for the next day's starter. He's going to infuse energy into the stadium and, therefore, his teammates.

"We sold out," closer Matt Capps said. "Hopefully every fifth day we have that. Hopefully, the people that come to see him see us play and get excited and start coming two or three times."

Strasburg, somehow, not only met the runaway expectations. He exceeded them. It's because, simply, he was good enough to justify everyone's wildest hopes. Before the game, Strasburg chatted with Storen, his best friend on his new team. "Be yourself," Storen told Strasburg. "There's a reason all this is happening."

Imagine the joy Strasburg felt last night. He was nervous at first. He settled in. He doffed his cap. He smiled through shaving cream on the field. He walked into his postgame press conference and hugged his mother. While he spoke, his family, his wife Rachel, his agent Scott Boras and his college coach Tony Gwynn looked on. He sat next to Ivan Rodriguez, who nodded while Strasburg spoke, a proud future Hall of Famer.

"It really is surreal," Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner said. "It's hard to sink in. The whole spring and every time he touches a ball, the whole anticipation, I've never seen anything like it. There are so many people who were looking forward to this day."

We know now it was for good reason. Strasburg will next start in Cleveland on Sunday at 1:05. What can he possibly do next?


The hype became reality, Dave Sheinin writes.

Stephen Strasburg obliterating the expectations was something unlike Washington has ever seen, Boz writes.

Strasburg may have been a myth before, but now you can believe, Mike Wise writes.

Strasburg set a new Nationals strikeout record as he utterly dominated the Pirates.

Dan Steinberg covered Strasburg's debut from the stands last night.

As Strasburg started his career, Ivan Rodriguez was behind the plate and approved of every last thing Strasburg did.

Bryce Harper can see himself playing behind Strasburg in years to come.


Syracuse 7, Louisville 6: Pete Orr went 2 for 4 with a home run. Joel Peralta pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two while lowering his ERA to 0.67.

Altoona 7, Harrisburg 3: Chris Marrero went 3 for 4 with two doubles and raised his average to .282. Rafael Martin retired all four batters he faced, striking out one.

Potomac 8, Frederick 7: Chris Curran went 2 for 5 with a triple. Tyler Moore went 2 for 4 with two doubles.

Delmarva 4, Hagerstown 3: Mitchell Clegg allowed no earned runs in seven innings on eight hits and one walk, striking out five and lowering his ERA to 2.95. J.P. Ramirez went 2 for 3 with a walk.


Strasburg's debut was an event to cherish forever, Mark Zuckerman writes.

Last night could happen only thanks to many different people, Chris Needham writes.

Strasburg may not be mortal, Jeff Passan writes.

Somehow, Strasburg exceeded the hype, says Joe Lemire.

Joe Posnanski was live-blogging Strasburg's debut.

Strasburg teetered on the line between what is possible and what isn't, Jayson Stark says.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 9, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Game 59 discussion thread: Nationals vs. Pirates
Next: Stephen Strasburg's debut: A breakdown


How far out can you project his starts, including post All Star break? Does the 5 day rotation take into account days off/rain outs?

Posted by: joemktg1 | June 9, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Heh - I have tix for June 19 (Zimm bobblehead night). If we could get a rainout between now and then, I get a bobblehead AND get to see SS.

Spahn and Sain and pray for rain...

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

So is anyone thinking what I'm thinking?

If Nats Park gets amped up like this every five days all summer long, how many people are going to decide, come September, that they're more interested in the Nats than in the Redskins?

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

ESPN,SNB&MLB are talking about switching the Nat's and the Tribe to sunday night and national tv and i'm like please God NOOOOOO!! let the kid just pitch please not all this over the top coverage, yes he is one hell of a talent but now every freakin sports paparazzi is crawling out of the woodwork to cover Strasburg leave him alone and let him pitch Rizzo,StanK,and the Lerners need to get a handle on this before it gets out of hand.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Re. today's starter, on the broadcast last night, they said that it would be Lannan, followed by Martin tomorrow. That duo is also listed on the team site (probable pitchers).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Re. projecting beyond the All-Star break, on one of the previous broadcasts, Ray Knight indicated that SS could be getting extra rest immediately after the break.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone tell me what the plate umpire said to Strasburg on the mound while he was warming up before the second inning? He went over to talk to McCatty too.

Posted by: ramgut | June 9, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

ramgut, he was telling the kid about the extra time between innings for commercial breaks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

He was telling Strasburg to slow down his between-inning warmups, 'cuz they have to allow 2-1/2 minutes for commercials. According to Carp and Dibb.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Between half-innings, rather. The ump suggested that the kid might want to slow down on his warm-up pitches, but SS opted not to. (per the post-game interviews)

Speaking of the home plate ump, my husband noted that the choreography on his strike three calls was awesome. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I'll have a Coke Classic, gilbert. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Okay, he was REALLY telling SS, "Hey kid, could you take a couple of MPH off your fastball? I can't tell if they're balls or strikes 'cuz they go by so fast I can't see them..."


How about this?

"Hey kid, after the game, can I get you to autograph a few dozen balls I have in my locker? We don't make $15.1 million,and I need to pay for college for my kids."

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a safe bet that Stras will throw Saturday the 19th - Fox moved the game time to 4:05 so they can air it. Guessing they didn't make that move to show the country John Lannan.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Who gets the start tonight, Livo or Lannan?

Posted by: 4U2Know | June 9, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"If Nats Park gets amped up like this every five days all summer long, how many people are going to decide, come September, that they're more interested in the Nats than in the Redskins?"

Zero. Don't you remember, Donovan McNabb is going to lead the Redskins to three Super Bowls?

Posted by: Section506 | June 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Who gets the start tonight, Livo or Lannan?

Posted by: 4U2Know | June 9, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Scoreboard at the park last night was showing Livo.

Posted by: bryc3 | June 9, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

First off, the fact that people are going to start coming every 5 days makes me hate almost everyone there. Obviously with the exception of the people who show up when Strasburg isn't pitching. Be a fan. DC loves to jump on bandwagons.

Second, the guy who threw back the homerun Strasburg gave up is awesome.

Third, we should definitely throw Levo and Strasburg back to back. I think Levo should go first to get them used to the slow stuff... then BAM! The contrast would just be hilarious.

Section 506, you're sarcasm is spot on...

Posted by: Kavorka | June 9, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Woooohoooo! What a great night!

Pete Orr hit a dinger for the 'Cuse!

Go Orr! Go SkyChiefs!

Strasburg, Shmasburg. You guys just wait to see the frenzy created by an Orr recall!

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | June 9, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Second, the guy who threw back the homerun Strasburg gave up is awesome.

Posted by: Kavorka | June 9, 2010 10:00 AM

Awesomely moronic?? First of all, that's Cubs sh*t. Why would someone want to copy that loser franchise's traditions? Second, I think you can (and should) get ejected from the Park for throwing something on to the field of play. Third, why give up an incredible souvenir?? Hell, I'd take it up to PNC Park and ask Delwyn Young to sign it. That's a piece of baseball history you just chucked back into right field.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Don't you remember, Stephen Strasburg and Willie Harris are going to lead the Redskins to three Super Bowls?

Posted by: Section506 | June 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Fixed that for you.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

People coming every five days is better than not coming at all. Anyone who has been going to the park has certainly noticed there are about 30,000 empty seats on the bandwagon every night. I say welcome aboard.

Posted by: bryc3 | June 9, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Spot on, Kev29. Get Young to autograph it, AND get Strasburg to autograph it.

Then put it on eBay for a week and buy a nice island somewhere after you sell it.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

After 1 start, FanGraphs has his xFIP at -0.50. Is that even possible???!!

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | June 9, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

The hope is that people coming every five days eventually will lead to everyone coming every five days plus weekends. Then, maybe a few random weekday games. Pretty soon, the team is competing for a playoff spot and selling out every night.

People will come, Ray...

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | June 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't linked here, but pretty good story on MASN's site:

Posted by: Ryan_13 | June 9, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Kev29, that post about the June 19 game time being moved made my day. Come here so I can kiss you.

In a decent, manly way, of course...

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Oh, BTW, Strasburg's page is up on I went there hoping to buy it for fifty bucks or so for the Ski Club of Washington DC ( We sponsor Jordan Zimmerman's and John Lannan's pages, was hoping to gobble up Stras real quick.

They want $450.00 for him. Looks like we're gonna have to pass.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I think getting lost in all of this is how the Nat's hitting came through to provide the perfect frame for SS's masterpiece -- Zim promptly gives him a lead to work with, in typical seize-the-big-moment Zim fashion; then Dunn grabs the lead back with the monster upper-decker, and the Hammer tacks on the needed insurance run. It felt like they were his big brothers an d were going to make damn sure that he had everything he needed to make his debut perfect. It could have been a kind of muted post-game after a 2-1 loss, but instead, perfectly scripted.

Posted by: joebleux | June 9, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

NY Times Tyler Kepner column that leads the sports section:

"We cannot put the Washington Nationals in the World Series yet... But every climb must start somewhere, and Tuesday seemed like that moment for this franchise.''

Let's go, Nats!

Posted by: nats24 | June 9, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

They could start Strasburg on June 18 and June 23 and get two home games out of him on that stand. Depending on how they shuffle the order -- and I think it will be Lannan, JD Martin, Atilano, Livo, SS -- then Lannan would start the game on Fox. If they start SS on 6/19, then his next start would be on 5 days rest Friday night at Baltimore.

Posted by: GiterDunn | June 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Love it, gilbertbp!

Posted by: Section506 | June 9, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Metro, I missed the first inning. Actually, it's not fair to blame Metro for turning a 40-minute trip from Greenbelt into an hour. Had to deal with a minor crisis at home, when gf was working with her laptop on top of a chocolate bar (I guess I should say chocolate soup) I had left on the kitchen table.

Through the gates in time to watch Zimm's homer on a screen. After that...great fun. I'm taking the gf's family on the 19th. Let's see the ChiSox get any hits when Stras is pitching out of the shadows...

Perhaps the best part, for me, was the potential this showed for Nats fans. They can get excited and make noise, and pay attention to the game. Let's hope they start making a habit of this -- with good crowds rooting for - gasp! - the home team.

Of course, the team looked good -- from timely power-hitting, good defense, a perfectly executed run-and-hit -- and the best rookie pitcher anyone will ever see. Should be an interesting summer, as the Nats' rotation may keep getting better (Olsen, Wang, Detwiler, Zimmermann ).

Posted by: fischy | June 9, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

A few things. I'm with those who would encourage nouveau fans to not limit their attendance to SS starts only. There *are* other players worth watching on this team. On a somewhat related note, my husband got home around the 3rd inning and watched the rest of the game with me. After watching a few innings, he turns to me and says, "I think I'm ready to get on that bandwagon now." (Sigh. Front runners. :-))

For those newcomers who will be coming every 5 days, welcome. A few ideas off the top of my head: could you perhaps try not to boo when obvious balls are called such? Also, maybe consider not standing up for the entire top half of the inning, thus blocking the view of anyone behind you who might wish to sit? 'kay, thanks.

I'm with kev re. throwing back the dinger, for all of the reasons noted. (sorry, erstwhile Cubs fans)

Good points by joebleux re. the offense picking up. I was making a similar point to my husband about how the big boys stepped up to help ensure the W for the kid. I'd also add that Capps got back into the save groove (and, forgive me, Matt, but I was sooo glad that he had the 3-run cushion when he came in).

(oh, and LIvo and ZimmermanN the pitcher)

That about covers it. Thanks for listening.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Oops, I was evidently typing at the same time as fischy. My comments were not in response to his, as I'd not yet read them.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg's bog, they're tossing around nicknames. Some people are offended by "Jeezus," which I understand even though I'm not a Christian (plus it's inviting divine retribution). Someone suggested "K Street."

"K Street Strasburg."

Yeah. That's a winner. Reminds me of Whitey Ford's nickname - "The Chairman of the Board."

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Eh, that one doesn't really work for me. I tend to think that nicknames should be organic rather than forced. A good one will suggest/insinuate itself with time, imo.

Didn't they used to have a K Street graphic on the RFK scoreboard that they showed after an opposing batter struck out? The image was a street sign that twirled around, if memory serves. I remember seeing it a number of times during Patterson's complete game shutout (13, if memory serves).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Agree that nicknames should be "organic," should spring up out of almost nowhere so that its origins are lost in antiquity.

But that having been said, I like "K Street" better than "Jeezus."

I wonder if SS isn't a little uncomfortable with it, too; I noticed a cross on a chain around his neck last night.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Why were people offended by Jeezus? They know that it's what people say when they see him pitch, right? No one is calling him the Messiah. Are they offended by the blasphemy?

Posted by: Section506 | June 9, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1: Thank's for hipping the newbees to the culture, come out to see the team not just Strasburg,this is a team worthy of support all the time yes they hit a rough stretch but so did the Phils,Marlins,Braves and Mets and trust me here in the A-T-L the support is massive when rookie Jason Heyward got off to a hot start the fans went crazy over the kid and it hasn't waned, they showed up in droves to Turner field to support the the team. The fans in DC need to do the same not just when SS pitch's a good 30k a night would motivate this team and by the way MAKE SOME NOISE!!!! don't wait for the PA system get the whole stadium rocking this ain't the US Open tennis match get the opposing pitcher off his game rattle his cage GET INVOLVED IN THE GAME!!!. GO NATS!!

Posted by: dargregmag | June 9, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? I'm a devout Catholic and a Sunday school teacher (then again, maybe that's the problem) and Jeezus doesn't faze me one bit, I'm curious why people are bothered. I mean, our (supposed) catcher of the future name is Jesus, does that offend people?

Posted by: Section506 | June 9, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I have to say -watching on TV last night - I was really happy to see everyone standing up for the whole frame. It was what struck me as most incredible. Not only were the stands filled, but the people we truly engaged, hanging on every pitch. I even stood up in the family room to watch the 7th (sorry, 1a).

I have been at play-off games that lacked such enthusiam.

As for bandwagoners, bring'em on. Zimm (an Dunn and Willingham) went a long way to showing them that is their is more than just one horse to watch. And that will be obvious over the next two months if they can win some games.

Caught up in the moment, I retired last night thinking "They should go trade for Oswalt, take on the $29 mil, and make a run now." Who's with me?

Posted by: lowcountry | June 9, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

506, imho, being offended or not is a personal reaction, and I don't need an explanation from those who might be offended. Speaking for myself (which is all that I can do, really), I'm not offended by the nickname on religious grounds,* but I do tend to think that it's overblown and hyperbolic.

*I'm deliberately not getting into my own beliefs/values here because (1) I tend to feel that my political or religious choices are a private matter, (2) I'm not particularly interested in knowing what others' choices might be in that regard, and (3) Why open that can of worms on a baseball forum? It's not likely to change anyone's mind, and it has potential to generate a flame war.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

It's okay to stand in the family room, lowcountry, as I will not be sitting behind you there. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 9, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, 506 but I suspect some people just need something to be miffed about so they can be heard.

OTH, it does warrant acknowledging that the Jeezuz nickname came from Tony Plush - who, last time I checked, was calling Jamie Moyer by the same name!

Posted by: lowcountry | June 9, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Kev29, that post about the June 19 game time being moved made my day. Come here so I can kiss you.

In a decent, manly way, of course...

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 10:38 AM

Yikes! :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | June 9, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Okay, here's the problem with Jeezus. I'm not saying i subscribe to all the reasons, but that I understand them.

1) TPlush wasn't implying that SS was the messiah, or the savior, but lots of people see him as exactly that, figuratively. A few weeks before he came up from Syracuse, my wife asked me, "So when does Jesus get here?" Turned out she hadn't heard of TPlush's nickname yet. But she was creating a metaphor - that Strasburg was going to be the team's savior. Devout Christians would, I think, be understandably uncomfortable with a ballplayer widely-regarded as the team's savior being called "Jesus."

2) It comes across as immodest and egotistical, especially for a guy who, to all appearances, is quite the opposite (though I loved the irony last night when he modestly said, "I'm a humble guy").

3) And when you think about it, "Jee-zus" is actually a mild expletive, which was TPlush's original intent. Friend of mine once observed, "How come when the goys want to curse, they say the name of their lord?" "Jesus Christ, is that @#$%% gonna stop tailgating me?"

4) It invites smackdowns. Strasburg will certainly have a bad outing someday; imagine a stadium full of Phillies fans up the road singsinging him with "JEEEE-ZUS! JEEEE-ZUS! JEEEE-ZUS! JEEEE-ZUS!" as he gets pulled after 2-2/3 innings having given up 5 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and a wild pitch.

Posted by: gilbertbp | June 9, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse


I was just listening to Riggleman on WTEM, and he just said that for now the team plans to keep him on an every five days routine, and that Strasburg's next home start would be the 18th. Riggleman did caveat that by saying that in the Mid-Atlantic Region weather can be a factor, but barring rainouts that is the plan.

Of course, anytime you buy tickets looking for a specific pitcher you're rolling the dice (as we discovered with the debut lol) but according to Riggleman the plan right now is the 18th.

Posted by: JCCfromDC | June 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

What's the big deal? The Tigers have had 2 pitchers for years that thow over 100mph. Zumaya has been clocked at 103mph many times, and Verlander at 101mph, including in later innings. Rodney, who left the team before this season, was also up near 98-99 regularly.

Posted by: lsoprano | June 9, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

How does Wise get a gig writing about Strasburg when he's been so incredibly mean about the Nationals and their fans for years? Ever hear him on the radio? Just hateful.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | June 9, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Whether people like it or not, SS will struggle at some point. It will happen like it happens to ALL pitchers, rookies or not

People just need to relax a bit and remember how young he is

Posted by: Bious | June 9, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I think he will pitch the 18th and 23rd - both at home. 2 huge money makers (unless foxes nat. tv. money makes up for that)....AND BIGGEST REASON - DENY ANGELOS (sorry baltimore) A STRASBURG APPEARANCE AT HIS STADIUM - WE DON'T FORGET YOU TRYING TO DENY US BASEBALL YOU A*S*S*!

Oh - and don't tell people to sit down, and don't tell people to boo - it was obviously faceitous when the first two pitches were balls and everyone was hyped and wanted a strike. Please - nobody needs fan lessons. Come out and cheer and be engaged and come to as many games as you can - even if it's just to time SS's appearances.

Oh - and the engagement and atmosphere last night was incredible with SS pitching. The thing was - he was so f-ing efficient - zero walks - relatively few balls, he worked fast - AND FOR GOD'S SAKE HE STRUCK OUT HIS LAST 7 BATTERS AND 8 OF 9. HOW CAN YOU NOT BE ENGAGED IN EVERY PITCH WITH THAT?

I hope our nats stay energized starting with tonight and kick but between SS starts - and get us back over .500.

Let's go Nats!

Also - HUMAN BEINGS ARE BANDWAGON FANS! show me a losing team with a huge following (other than redskins ha!). you think red sox and yanks fans aren't band wagonners? they buy a team and everyone says 'that's my team'. i don't remember so many sox fans before they got the monkey off their backs.

I'm out.

Wahoowah, go Zimmerman! Go Nats! Go SS!

Posted by: IwillkickyourrightwingA | June 9, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

WOW! THAT was fun to watch! Some people like to throw a little mud on his star but that was one hell of a rookie debut - even the skeptics have to acknowledge that (reluctantly) - Sure, one day he won't pitch as well and he's bound to have a bad game - the best always do at some point - but Strasburg IS one of the best prospects to hit MLB in recent memory and it's been a while since anyone has had such an impact on a team and a city - like the Caps, the Nats are headed in the right direction - maybe even the Redskins will have an turn around season - the Wizards.....well, at least they've got an owner now with a proven record of turning a franchise around. Now if we can get DC United back to winning ways....... sports are getting fun again in DC.

Posted by: whelms1 | June 9, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

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