On tap tonight: Strasburg vs. Heyward

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There are a ton of high-profile rookies this year — and actually, Jaime Garcia may be the most deserving of the NL Rookie of the Year award right now — but certainly the two most hyped rookies this season are Stephen Strasburg and Jason Heyward.  They face off tonight in Washington.

It’s their first meeting, but it’s not the first time Strasburg has faced the Braves. Atlanta handed the kid who really needs a nickname a loss back on June 28th when Heyward was on the disabled list. It was arguably Strasburg’s worst start of the season, though not a terrible one.

But more than seeing the two young beasts of the NL East face each other, I’m looking forward to this for another reason: it’s the first time Strasburg has faced a team for the second time.  Will they adjust to him and give him more trouble, or will he build upon what he learned about them the last time and exploit their weaknesses?

That’s really the only thing we haven’t see from Strasburg yet: the strategic side of the game. He’s got great stuff. But how quick a learner is he?  We find out tonight at 7:05 P.M. Eastern.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.