Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faces the Hickory Crawdads tonight at Municipal Stadium.
This is Strasburg's fourth rehab start, and it comes on the heels of perhaps his worst professional outing to date, in which he was tagged by the Lexington Legends for five runs over 1 2/3 innings. Tonight, the right-hander faces the Hickory Crawdads, low-Class A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The big name to watch out of the Crawdads' lineup is leadoff hitter and shortstop Jurickson Profar, an 18-year-old top prospect out of Curacao who enters tonight hitting .286 with 11 homers, 32 doubles and a .396 on-base percentage.
The plan for Strasburg: four innings or 65 pitches, whichever comes first. Mike Rizzo and Mark Lerner are here to watch in person. I'm here, too, and I'll be providing updates during each of Strasburg's innings of work. Obviously, I won't be in D.C. for tonight's game against the Diamondbacks, but I'll post a game thread for that one shortly...
HICKORY at HAGERSTOWN
Where: Municipal Stadium
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Weather: Clear, 74 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to RF
STARTING LINEUPS7:05 p.m. -- And we are underway with a strike from Stephen Strasburg to Jurickson Profar. Much smaller crowd here tonight than for any of Strasburg's previous rehab starts. There might not be 1,500 people in the stands right now.
HAGERSTOWN (70-55, 30-25 second half)
CF Michael Taylor
3B Blake Kelso
2B Adrian Sanchez
C David Freitas
RF Kevin Keyes
SS Jason Martinson
DH Adrian Nieto
1B Mills Rogers
LF Wade Moore
(P Stephen Strasburg)
HICKORY (71-52, 31-24 second half)
SS Jurickson Profar
2B Odubel Herrera
DH Tomas Telis
3B Christian Villanueva
CF Jake Skole
1B Alejando Selen
RF Josh Richmond
C Kellin Deglan
LF Jonathan Roof
(P Will Lamb)
7:20 p.m. -- Well, that was another shaky first inning for Strasburg, though not nearly as shaky as last time. He wound up allowing one run on one hit (a single up the middle), a walk and a hit batter (he plunked Profar in the foot with an 0-2 curveball). He did strike out two batters swinging at curveballs, but really was all over the place with that pitch. I'll have to ask one of the scouts here about his velocity later, but it looked fine to me. 27 pitches, 16 strikes in the inning. Hagerstown trails 1-0.
7:33 p.m. -- Now THAT was more like it. Strasburg retires the side in the top of the second, needing only 12 pitches. He got a lazy flyball to left on his first pitch of the inning, then struck out the next two batters (one on a fastball looking, one on a curveball swinging). He's at 39 total pitches, 24 strikes, through two innings. I should also mention that plate umpire Aaron Reynolds has been squeezing Strasburg quite a bit, much to the pitcher's consternation.
7:53 p.m. -- More good stuff from Strasburg in the third, might have been even better had his defense not let him down. He allowed an unearned run after shortstop Jason Martinson airmailed a throw to first for what should have been the third out of the inning. As it was, Strasburg still struck out a couple more batters, including Profar (who got into a nice battle with the right-hander, fouling off four straight pitches before striking out looking at what I believe was a changeup). He's at 60 pitches, so that's probably going to be it for tonight. If so, his final line is: 3 ip, 2 h, 2 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 6 k, 1 hbp, 60 pitches, 40 strikes. Velocity topped out at 98 mph. He did surrender four stolen bases (two of them coming on a double steal, one of them on a pitchout). Hagerstown trails 2-0.
7:58 p.m. -- Strasburg is indeed done for the night. Full story coming shortly.
8:16 p.m. -- Full story is posted on CSNwashington.com