Stephen Strasburg, starting pitcher. A man barely alive.
“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic pitcher. Stephen Strasburg will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”
Davey Johnson said Strasburg hit 95 today. And that was “a little tentative.”
That was Adam Kilgore on Twitter, describing Johnson’s performance of Strasburg’s simulated game.
As many have noted, of course, velocity is not the biggest trick when it comes to rebounding following Tommy John surgery. It’s touch and command. And what made Strasburg so special last year were all of those things. Yes, that heater was impressive, but more impressive was his ability to go from mid-to-high 90s and then break of the bender or throw that changeup of his for strikes. The changeup that was faster than many guys’ fastballs, yet still made hitters look foolish.
So this is obviously awesome, but know that even if Strasburg pitches late this season, we may not see him at his post-surgery best until next spring.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.