Stephen Strasburg just finished his sixth major league start a short while ago, allowing two runs over five innings against the Mets. Not only was it the shortest outing of Strasburg’s brief major league career, but he managed a career-low five strikeouts.
After Strasburg labored through a 37-pitch first inning, it was pretty obvious he wouldn’t be long for this one. He issued three walks in the opening frame, the most notable of which was a 10-pitch at-bat by Josh Thole. Somehow, he was able to escape with just one run crossing the plate, courtesy of an RBI double by Jason Bay.
Things really could have been a lot worse, as he was able to get Jeff Francoeur to fly out with the bases loaded to end the inning. This, after nearly beheading Francoeur earlier in the at-bat. I’ll give Frenchy some credit for actually staying in the batter’s box after that pitch, because I probably would have needed a new pair of pants.
Strasburg retired the final seven batters he faced after allowing an RBI single to Thole in a 26-pitch third inning, but it was too little too late. He was pulled after throwing 64 of 96 pitches for strikes.
The 21-year-old right-hander now has a 2.45 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over his first six major league starts, posting a 53/10 K/BB ratio over 36 2/3 innings. He’ll wrap up the first half with a start against the Padres next Thursday.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has had a tough month of May. Opposing pitchers have become increasingly unwilling to throw hittable pitches in the strike zone for him, and he’s had trouble adjusting. Entering Thursday’s action, Harper was hitting .194/.454/.306 with two home runs in 97 plate appearances this month. 31 of those plate appearances ended in a walk, nine intentionally.
Harper finally got a pitch to hit in the sixth inning against Cardinals starter Mike Leake. Leake threw a 1-1 curve and Harper promptly launched into the upper deck at Nationals Park. It’s Harper’s 12th homer of the year.
Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. was unable to continue his hitting streak on Thursday night, going 0-for-4 out of the leadoff spot against the Rockies in an 8-2 loss. He hit a deep fly ball to right field in the first inning, missing a home run by a few feet. He hit another deep drive in the fifth, but it was caught in front of the wall in center field at Fenway Park by Charlie Blackmon. In his final at-bat, Bradley weakly grounded out on the first pitch from Jon Gray to lead off the eighth inning.
Bradley’s 29-game streak tied Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio still has the longest in club history at 34 games.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was able to extend his hitting streak streak to 19 games. He went 1-for-3, hitting a line drive single in the first.
Softball legend Jennie Finch will make history on Sunday when she will serve as a guest manager for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League. She will become the first woman to manage a men’s professional baseball team.
In the club’s announcement, GM Jamie Toole said, “We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team. She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day.”
Finch won the 2001 Women’s College World Series with the University of Arizona. She won the gold medal with Team USA in the 2004 Summer Olympics and silver in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Finch is only managing one game, but it’s still a positive step for inclusiveness in professional sports. Hopefully, in the future, we see more women in sportswriting, broadcasting, coaching, and front office positions.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas has been placed on disabled list with a torn right ACL, the club announced on Thursday. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan. Outfielder Brett Eibner has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha.
Moustakas suffered the injury colliding with teammate Alex Gordon attempting to catch a foul ball. Gordon suffered a fractured scaphoid bone, which will keep him out of action for three to four weeks.
It’s a tough break for Moustakas as he missed time earlier this month with a fractured thumb. He lands back on the DL hitting .240/.301/.500 with seven home runs and 13 RBI in 113 plate appearances.