By looking at Friday’s 8-1 win over the Giants, it would appear that the Nationals finally gave Stephen Strasburg some runs to work with. That wasn’t really the case.
Strasburg gave up a leadoff home run to Andres Torres to begin the game, putting himself in an early hole. The Nats answered with runs in the first and fourth innings to jump out to a 2-1 lead, but that’s the biggest lead Strasburg would have all night. Working with a razor thin margin of error yet again, the young phenom completely shut the Giants down after the first inning.
All told, Strasburg gave up just three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He threw 61 out of 95 pitches for strikes before exiting after six innings. The Nationals offense did their part after he left the game, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth and four in the seventh to preserve the victory. Strasburg moved to 3-2 on the year, earning his first win since June 13.
Through his first seven starts in the big leagues, Strasburg has a 2.45 ERA and 1.06 WHIP, posting a 53/10 K/BB ratio over 36 2/3 innings. He’s slated to start the first game after the All-Star break against the Marlins next Friday, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
There was some thought that the Nationals would delay Strasburg’s first start after the break and provide him with some extra rest during the second half in order to have him available in September, but he is now expected to pitch every fifth day until he reaches the 160-inning plateau.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?