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Stephen Strasburg’s Next Start for Washington Nationals

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Looking for details on Stephen Strasburg’s next start for the Washington Nationals? We’ll keep you updated here as the 2010 season continues.

8/27/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

On a night when former top pitching prospect Jordan Zimmerman returned to the Washington Nationals after a year-long absence from Tommy John surgery came devastating news that Stephen Strasburg will need the same operation. The torn ACL ligament in his throwing elbow will have to be replaced. Now a standard medical procedure with a year to eighteen month recovery time, there is hope Strasburg will return to normal form in 2012. Cardinals’ ace and former Cy Young Award winner Cris Carpenter also pitched last night. He, too, had the procedure done years ago and is thriving. Strasburg capitvated the DC audience and the entire baseball world with his splashy start. The team-record 14 K’s in his debut vs. the Bucs. Strasburg finishes his first year in the majors with a 5-3 record, a 2.91 ERA, 17 walks and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings, giving him the highest strikeout rate per nine innings — 12.2 — of any starting pitcher in the majors.
 
Ironically, the other topic of my Nationals’ blog here on CULTUREMOB has been Bryce Harper, the 17-year old #1 overall pick from this past season. The freshly-inked phenom was introduced to the masses yesterday. Strasburg deliberately delayed the announcement of his injury so as to not overshadow Harper’s DC debut. Class act. Harper took batting practice at Nationals Park, launching several long homeruns. One landed in the third level. Here’s hoping he progresses through the minors at a rapid rate and can stay healthy. Cursed Nats fans certainly hope so.

8/21/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*My late father used to call teams like the Washington Nationals “snakebit“. What he meant was for every golden moment, there was tons of grief and hardship. Modern day translation: CURSED. Stephen Strasburg was forced to leave tonight’s game after 4 1/3 innings. He was pitching brilliantly (one run, two hits, six strikeouts, no walks) when he suddenly clutched his right forearm after a pitch. His night was done. And in all likehood, his season as well. The Nats can’t take a chance sending him out there anymore this season? For what? They are not going nowhere this season except for another top five draft pick. Hope it’s not a major injury. Talented righthander Jordan Zimmerman still has not returned from his elbow a year ago. He showed a great deal of promise as well and would have  made a competent #2 starter. Snakebit? I would say so!

8/15/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*Most MLB teams would be elated with a rookie pitcher giving up just one earned run, walking zero and striking out seven in five innings of work. But Stephen Strasburg elevated the bar so high in his early big-league appearances that today’s effort vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks appeared ho-hum. Strasburg continues the pattern of giving up opening inning long balls (Adam LaRoche touched him up for a solo shot). The costly play for the talented righthander was firing a routine tapper back to the mound over the head of gigantic Adam Dunn at first base. When you miss that behemoth with a throw, you deserve the error. And it cost the Nats two first-inning runs and forced Strasburg to work even harder in the first frame, running up his pitch count and forcing his early exit.  He ended up with a no-decision in a 5-3 Washington victory.

Strasburg appears to be working on his normal five-day rest pattern. This means his next two starts should be at Philly on Friday, August 20 and then back home again to face the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, August 25. Realize that the Nationals brass could opt to give the prized rookie an extra day of rest. So stay tuned to see if Strasburg does indeed take his normal turn the next two appearances.

8/10/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

The last thing Stephen Strasburg needed upon returning from the disabled list was whiplash. But the sudden neck jerk that Strasburg experienced watching Florida Marlins 2nd baseman Dan Uggla’s first-inning blast fly out of  Nationals Park could have caused more physical damage. The early 2-0 deficit certainly seemed to do some mental damage to the Nationals’ prize prospect. In what was Strasburg’s poorest outing as a pro, the rookie righthander was roughed up for six earned runs in just over four innings of work. The good news is that Strasburg felt fine physically after the start. The bruised ego might take a little longer to heal. Afterthought: Florida 8, Washington 2

Normally, Strasburg would start the finale of this homestand on Sunday vs. Arizona. But it’s August, the Nats have nothing to play for and the club’s multi-million dollar rookie just got shelled. He will be babied. He will be coddled. Stay tuned to see if Strasburg does take his normal turn in the Nats rotation.

8/4/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

Prize pitching jewel Stephen Strasburg continues to progress physically. He threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session this afternoon and was deemed ready to return to the rotation at home on Tuesday, August 10 vs. the Florida Marlins. That is the first game of two-team homestand. If all goes well and he feels fit afterwards, he likely would start the Monday, August 16 finale vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Washington Nationals lost two home starts from the stud rookie during this initial DL visit. They are drooling in financial anticipation for these next two starts! Hope to see you at Nationals Park!

7/29/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*As I predicted two days ago, Stephen Strasburg’s balky right shoulder would shut him down for at least the next several starts. The shoulder irritation that the Washington Nationals’ brass tried to downplay orginally lead to the 22-year old being placed on the 15-day disabled list this afternoon. You know GM Mike Rizzo would have loved to have Strasburg fill Nationals Park on Sunday vs. the Phillies. But it just won’t happen.

I’ll plot Strasburg’s physical recovery closely. I’ve written about him more than his Mother has the last several months! Hopefully, he will be back on the hill sometime in the middle of August!

7/27/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*The collective groan you heard tonight coming from Nationals Park was the sound of Stephen Strasburg’s right shoulder tightening up. Unable to loosen properly, Nats management pulled the plug on Strasburg’s scheduled start vs. the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. They called it a “precautionary measure” but if medical tests and MRIs indicate anything serious, the Washington baseball fortunes would take a monumental hit. Hopefully, it’s only a minor ailment and the big righthander takes his normal turn in the rotation. But that’s unlikely.

Stephen Strasburg’s next scheduled start is supposed to be the finale of the current two-team homestand against the hated Philadelphia Phillies on August 1. But the condition of that $15,100,000 right shoulder would have to prove ready. And my instinct tells me, Strasburg will miss his next several starts. The Nats will be more than cautious with their prize prospect and err on the side of safety.

7/21/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*George Bernard Shaw once said, “It’s all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.” The Washington Nationals have won just two games since the All-Star break. Birthday boy Stephen Strasburg has both of the victories. The freshly-minted 22-year old allowed three runs on seven hits, struck out seven batters and walked only one for his fifth career victory, a 8-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Once again the Strasburg effect packed an away ballpark (37,868 at Great American Ball Park). Amazingly, Strasburg leads the Nationals in strikeouts (75) after just nine starts. He is clearly the pitching leader of this team, regardless of age or experience.

The Washington Nationals return to DC for a brief two series homestand next week, and Stephen Strasburg will make two of those starts. He’ll pitch the opener vs. the first-place Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, July 27. He’ll close out the series against the reeling Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, August 1. Plenty of tickets will be available for both starts. I hope to see you at the ballpark!

nationals ticket

7/16/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*Historic FIRSTS are going to come in bunchs for Washington Nationals super rookie Stephen Strasburg. Making his first start since  the All-Star break, Strasburg continued his pattern of laboring in the opening inning. He piled up 34 pitches in the  first stanza and had two baserunners on in each of the first three innings before settling down in the Florida heat. It was the FIRST scoreless outing (six innings, four hits, seven strikeouts) for the talented Strasburg. Scoreless into the sixth, the Nationals erupted for four runs propelling Strasburg to his fourth career victory. Nationals 4, Marlins 0.

What is even more impresssive than the six shutout frames that lowered his era to just over two is the Strasburg effect on the turnstiles. He did it in Cleveland in his first road start. A patheic last-place American League town drew a record crowd. The Marlins haven’t been drawing snails to the aptly-named Pro Player Stadium. Many nights there are more pro players in the stadium than fans. Yet tonight, the Marlins drew over 27,000. Even their own All-Star righthander and Cy Young candidate Josh Johnson can’t lure that many people into the stands. Just too many things going on in South Beach on a summer night. Might bump into LeBron at the local pub.

Stephen Strasburg’s next two starts will be at first-place Cincinnati  this Wednesday, July 21 before returning to DC to face the red-hot Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on Tuesday, July 27.  Plenty of quality seats still available. I hope to see you at the ballpark!

7/9/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*It did not start off promising tonight. My friends and I had just settled down into our seats with our buffalo chicken tenders when Washington Nationals super rookie Stephen Strasburg was giving up a moonshot off the right-field upper deck to San Francisco Giants leadoff hitter Andres Torres. And when the next three batters all ripped vicious line drives to Nationals outfielders, it looked like a long night for baseball’s most ballyhooed newcomer. But showing the poise of a ten-year veteran, Strasburg settled down over the next five shutout innings and proved overpowering. He gave up just two more hits, fanned eight while walking only one. Thanks to Adam “Big Donkey” Dunn’s mammoth pair of skyscraper-high homeruns and a vicious line-drive double that nearly knocked down the center-field fence, Strasburg and the Nationals had a rare offensive explosion, winning easily 8-1.

Dan Picca and Friends
Dan Picca (L) and friends at the Nationals-Giants game

Some young entrepreneurs were trying to sell “Witness 37” t-shirts on the way to the metro after the game. Everyone is trying to cash in on DC’s newest phenom. The Nationals attendance tonight was double the previous night’s gate. The kid is a cash cow, singlehandedly boosting Mayor Fenty’s ailing economy.  I got a chance to “witness” firsthand what the excitement is all about. Stephen Strasburg is clearly legitimate.

The excitement over the NBA’s remake of “The Three Amigos” should just be dying down in South Beach as Stephen Strasburg makes his first start after the All-Star break. He will pitch the Nationals opener at Florida on Friday, July 16. With the Marlins struggling to draw four figures, there will be plenty of seats available. Bring a group of four or more and the team might let you sit in dugout. With normal rest and assuming no rain-outs, Strasburg’s subsequent starts should be Wednesday, July 21 at first-place Cincinnati before returning home on Tuesday, July 27 to face the division-leading Atlanta Braves. I hope to see you at the ballpark!

Stephen Strasberg pitches against the San Francisco Giants
Stephen Strasburg pitches against the San Francisco Giants

7/3/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*If the Washington Nationals and rookie pitching sensation Stephen Strasburg were a troubled married couple, the young righthander would be suing for LACK OF SUPPORT. Coming off a heartbreaking loss in Atlanta in which he pitched six shutout innings before fading in the Georgia heat, the Nationals were blanked yet again, 5-0. In today’s start at home vs. the New York Mets, before a sell-out holiday crowd, Strasburg battled early wildness, ran up his pitch count and lasted just five innings in the most pedestrian start of his career.  He left trailing 2-0. Miraculously, the Nationals got him off the hook and rallied to win in the ninth, 6-5. Today’s no-decision and a 2-2 record heading into his last start before the All-Star Game will not get to him Anaheim on July 13. There is no doubt that Strasburg will appear in many All-Star games if he stays healthy and the Nats get an offensive clue in the immediate future. He is learning that the major leagues are not that easy when you play for team that doesn’t score for you. This isn’t World Cup soccer. Strings of zeros don’t lead to a shootout and an eventual win at the end. Although it would be interesting to see mammoth first baseman Adam Dunn take a penalty shot against the hideous orange uniforms of the Dutch (my final four selection to WIN IT ALL in South Africa). Dunn’s nickname is “BIG DONKEY” so I assuming he would do a donkey kick!

Stephen Strasburg’s next start will be Friday, July 9  at home vs. the San Francisco Giants. Your trusted CULTUREMOB reporter will be in attendance thanks to his good friend, Mark Nishan.  Mark is a powerful government official and lifelong Giants fan. He got me a ticket. But you’ll have to get your own. There should be plenty of prime seats available. I hope to see you at Nationals Park!

6/24/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*For the United States soccer team in South Africa, the 1-0 win over Algeria literally meant everything to their World Cup chances, advancing the team on to the round of 16. For Washington Nationals pitching phenom, Stephen Strasburg, the 1-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday, June 23 in the blistering heat of early DC summer saddled him with a heartbreaking first career loss. It certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. Strasburg did everything except sell Italian Ices to the sweaty masses on South Capitol Street. He struck out nine to set another major-league record (41 K’s in four starts), didn’t walk a batter, allowed only one run over six innings and even got his first hit. Unfortunately for the fading Nationals offense, it was one of only six hits (all singles) in the contest.

The baseball buzz is whether Stephen Strasburg should be considered a National League All-Star on July 13 in Anaheim. Barring rain outs, Stephen Strasburg will likely get three more starts before the All-Star game (Tuesday, June 29 at Atlanta, Sunday, July 4 at home vs. New York Mets and Friday, July 9 at home vs. San Francisco Giants). Is there a precedent for a rookie pitcher who just made his debut three weeks ago to be an All-Star? In 1976, the late Mark “The Bird” Fidrych didn’t make his first Tiger start till mid-May. Yet his impressive pitching stats and crazy antics earned him the start for the American League team that year in Philadelphia. While Fidrych used to like to talk to the baseball, the soft-spoken Strasburg has baffled major-league hitters talking to themselves. We will have to wait and see if just seven first-half appearances will warrant an All-Star roster slot for Stephen Strasburg.

6/15/2010 Stephen Strasburg Update

*On Friday night, the only BP the world’s most powerful man wanted to see was Batting Practice. Escaping the ever-worsening oil leak crisis for at least a night, President Obama surprised everyone and took the opportunity to see his beloved hometown Chicago White Sox in DC for the first time ever vs. the Washington Nationals. With both daughters and his brother-in-law in tow, #44 saw another record-breaking strikeout performance by #37 Stephen Strasburg. After battling out of a first-inning jam allowing his only run of the evening, Strasburg dominated and befuddled the North Siders lineup, striking out ten without a walk. His total of 32 K’s after three career starts scattered the previous mark of 29 by another flame-throwing righthander of the past, Houston’s J.R. Richard (The Strasburg Future Legend-O-Meter Comparison: Richard was also a towering high draft pick who racked up huge strikeout numbers. He dominated National League hitters from 1976-1980, when a stroke suddenly ended his career at age 30 and sent him to the Texas streets homeless.) Both Strasburg (his first no-decision) and Obama (his daughters had become bored and wanted to watch Glee on the White House DVR system before lights out) were long gone by the time the Nationals fell in extra innings, 2-1.

DC fans won’t have to wait long for Stephen Strasburg’s next start at Nationals Park. He is slated to face the Kansas City Royals in the homestand finale on Wednesday, June 23. Strasburg’s first two home appearances were sellouts, but some tickets remain for the mid-week clash with Royals. I’ll see you at the ballpark!