Stephen Strasburg struck out six batters in a three-inning rehab start Monday night at Single-A and the Nationals announced that he’ll move up to Triple-A for his next start Saturday.
In addition to being just one step from the majors Strasburg told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he’s looking forward to facing Triple-A hitters because so many Single-A hitters “are just up there hacking” and don’t give him an opportunity to work on his full repertoire.
Strasburg, who’s about 12 months removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, could be back in the Nationals’ rotation as soon as September 2, with Kilgore reporting that the most likely date for his return to the majors is September 6 or 7 because the minor-league season ends on September 5.
Strasburg had one bad rehab outing last week, but has consistently been clocked in the mid-90s with his fastball and has a remarkable 18 strikeouts in 9.1 innings.
Fresh off our “Manny Machado didn’t hustle” post, here’s one about him trying a little too hard. Machado was called for interference in the bottom of the fourth inning during Monday night’s NLCS Game 3 against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium. It was actually Machado’s second attempt to interfere with Orlando Arcia during the game.
In the bottom of the second, Machado led off with a single. Cody Bellinger followed up by hitting a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who fed to Arcia. Machado slid towards Arcia enough to disrupt the play, allowing Bellinger to reach first base safely. The Brewers didn’t challenge, in part because Arcia didn’t attempt a throw.
Fast forward to the bottom of the fourth. Machado again leads off and again reaches base, this time with a walk. Bellinger hits another grounder. First baseman Jesús Aguilar snags the ball and fires to Arcia covering the second base bag. Machado slides into second base and reaches out with his right hand to mess with Arcia’s throw to first base. It succeeds, as Arcia’s throw skips past first base towards the dugout. Brewers manager Craig Counsell challenged the call, alleging slide interference (the “Chase Utley rule”). The umpires reviewed the play and agreed that Machado did indeed interfere with Arcia, so Bellinger was called out. What made Machado’s effort even worse is that Bellinger would’ve reached easily regardless, so there was no need to interfere with Arcia.
The Dodgers trail the Brewers 1-0 through the first half of the game. The Brewers got their run early thanks to an RBI double by Ryan Braun off of Walker Buehler in the top of the first. Jhoulys Chacín has pitched excellently for the Brewers thus far.