UPDATE: Strasburg allowed zero runs and only two hits Sunday over three innings of work against the Cards. He also fanned two batters and tallied six groundouts.
12:23pm: It is Stephen Strasburg Day again in south Florida, as the young right-handed starter is scheduled to make his second appearance of the spring this afternoon against the Cardinals.
Strasburg turned in two scoreless frames in his Grapefruit League debut last week versus the Tigers, hitting 98 MPH with his fastball and displaying a gorgeously sharp slider. According to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler, tickets for Sunday’s spring game are fairly tough to come by, and the Nationals are certainly hoping that excitement will carry over to the nation’s capital once the regular season begins.
Washington manager Jim Riggleman has yet to make a decision on where Strasburg will open the 2010 season and continues to tell reporters that the club is employing a “wait and see” approach. In other words, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick is in control of his own destiny. If he continues to rattle off scoreless innings we’ll see him in a big league uniform in early April.
The Dodgers only need one more win to clinch the NL pennant and advance to a World Series showdown against the Red Sox, but they might not get that chance tonight. Following David Freese‘s leadoff home run off of Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley, the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.
In his second start of the NLCS, Dodgers’ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu had a two-on, two-out situation when Jesus Aguilar came up to the plate in the first inning. Aguilar worked a 2-1 count against Ryu, then lashed a two-run line drive double to right field, bringing both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun home to score. In the next at-bat, Mike Moustakas drove in Aguilar with a first-pitch double to right, while Erik Kratz‘s RBI single topped off the Brewers’ four-run spread to give them an early 4-1 advantage.
Ryu didn’t get a reprieve for long. In the second, Christian Yelich and Braun went back-to-back with another pair of doubles to advance the Brewers 5-1 above their National League rivals. The lefty was pulled after just three innings of seven-hit, five-run, three-strikeout ball — per MLB.com’s Bill Shaikin, it marked just the second time the 31-year-old had given up four or more runs in a start this season.
The Dodgers started to work their way back in the fifth inning: Freese returned with an RBI double that plated Brian Dozier, who scooted around from first and easily beat the tag at the plate to score the Dodgers’ second run of the night. Together, the teams have combined for five doubles in five innings. The Brewers still lead in the fifth, 5-2.