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.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.