Stephen Strasburg fans eight in second MLB start

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strasburg first road start.jpgNationals phenom Stephen Strasburg just completed his second major league start, a strong 5.1-inning performance on the road against the Indians.

He served up a home run, just as he did in his impressive 14-strikeout debut last week.  He also walked five batters, showing a lack of control that he never once displayed while tearing through the minor leagues.  But Strasburg still flashed impressive velocity and movement, and now boasts 22 strikeouts through his first 12.1 innings of Major League Baseball.  He allowed only two hits.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tracked Strasburg’s fastball throughout the day and found nine pitches of 100 MPH, 31 at 98 MPH or higher and 40 at 97 MPH and above.  The 21-year-old was bringing heat yet again and departed with a 6-1 lead.  He’s in line for his second consecutive victory and will finish the day 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA if the Nats are able to hang on.

Strasburg’s arrival has not only been good for the Nationals, but also the cities he will pitch in over the remaining months of the 2010 season.  Today’s start drew 32,876 fans at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the best crowd that stadium has seen since the Indians’ home opener.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics