Lee to start Game 1 of the World Series, then what?

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Charlie Manuel surprised nobody on Sunday, announcing that Cliff Lee will start Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night,
against either the Yankees or the Angels. Lee has been everything the
Phillies hoped he would be and then some this postseason, going 2-0
with an 0.74 ERA and 0.70 WHIP over three starts.




But what was more telling was what
he didn’t say. Manuel refused to commit to Cole Hamels for the Game 2
assignment. After compiling a 4.32 ERA and 1.29 WHIP during the regular
season, last year’s World Series MVP has a 6.75 ERA over three starts
in the 2009 postseason. He has served up an alarming six home runs in
14 2/3 innings.




Though Manuel continues to hedge,
Pedro Martinez is a real possibility to start Game 2. Asked who he
would rather face in the World Series,
it wasn’t hard for him to reveal his preference.

“I respect the Yankees. I love the Yankees. But I would love to beat them as bad as I look forward to them,” Martinez said.

Reminded of his long history with the Yankees, Martinez smiled and said: “Really? They have a long history with me.”

Martinez was brilliant in Game 2 of
the NLDS vs. the Dodgers, allowing just two hits over seven shutout
frames. Martinez hasn’t faced his former rivals since last June 27 as a
member of the Mets.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”