Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams had a very positive review of Stephen Strasburg’s simulated game yesterday, telling Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the rehabbing former No. 1 overall pick “threw extremely well.”
Kilgore reports that Strasburg threw around 50 pitches, with breaks in between simulated innings, and a September appearance with the Nationals now seems realistic.
Or as Williams put it: “I think he’s getting very close.”
Strasburg underwent Tommy John elbow surgery on September 3 of last year and the typical recovery timetable is 12-18 months, although the timetable for a pitcher’s velocity and command returning to full strength varies significantly and is far from guaranteed. He still has plenty of hurdles to clear, including a likely rehab assignment in the minors, but so far so good.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.