Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg returns to Hagerstown tonight for his latest rehab start.
Strasburg makes his third rehab start. He already pitched here 10 days ago in his return from Tommy John surgery. Five nights ago, he dominated at high-Class A Potomac. The plan tonight:
Strasburg will be facing a Lexington lineup that features second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. I actually covered his father's final season with the Orioles in 2001. And yes, it's stuff like that starts making me feel really old.
I'll have inning-by-inning updates from here. Obviously, I'm not in D.C. for the Nats-Reds game, but I'll have a game thread posted shortly so everyone can follow along there and comment as always...
LEXINGTON at HAGERSTOWN
Where: Municipal Stadium
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF
STARTING LINEUPS5:05 p.m. -- OK, so we were all mistaken: Strasburg won't be going four innings or 60 pitches tonight. He'll be at three innings and 50 pitches again. Probably evidence that he'll make three more rehab starts before he rejoins the Nats: A couple of four-inning outings and a five-inning start.
HAGERSTOWN (68-52, 28-22 second half)
LF Michael Taylor
3B Blake Kelso
2B Adrian Sanchez
C David Freitas
RF Kevin Keyes
SS Jason Martinson
DH Adrian Nieto
1B Mills Rogers
CF Chris Curran
(P Stephen Strasburg)
LEXINGTON (51-69, 16-34 second half)
2B Delino DeShields Jr.
LF Tyler Burnett
RF Domingo Santana
1B Telvin Nash
3B Mike Kvasnicka
DH Ben Heath
SS Ben Orloff
C Roberto Pena
CF Emilio King
(P Luis Cruz)
6:35 p.m. -- You know who's scheduled to come in and pitch after Strasburg's done? Doug Slaten. No, really. He's on a rehab assignment here. How would you all feel if I didn't bother providing any Strasburg updates and just focused on Slaten?
7:20 p.m. -- Well, that was about as bad an inning as Strasburg has experienced as a pro. He allowed Lexington's first four batters to reach, three of them on line drives smoked to right-center, two of them doubles. He also walked DeShields to lead off the game. Fastball was down a tick, about 96-97 mph consistently, and he did not have his usual command. He did, however, get better as the inning went on, and struck out a batter on a fantastic curveball. But it took 33 pitches (20 strikes) to get through the three-run inning. That's as many as he threw in his entire, three-inning start last time at Potomac. Hagerstown trails 3-0.
7:33 p.m. -- Well, at least Strasburg is off the hook for now. Kevin Keyes smokes a three-run homer to center, knotting the game back up at 3-3 after one inning. Strasburg back out for what could end up being his second and final inning of the night.
7:48 p.m. -- And that's it. Strasburg doesn't even finish the second inning. He did look much better in this frame, recording a pair of strikeouts. But he still allowed another double and walked DeShields for the second time. And with his pitch count at 49 (29 strikes), manager Brian Daubach emerged from the dugout to pull him. Making matters worse, reliever Sam Brown entered and gave up a two-run single, bringing both inherited runners in. So Strasburg's final line is: 1.2 ip, 4 h, 5 er, 2 bb, 3 k, 49 pitches, 29 strikes. Hagerstown trails 5-3. Full story coming.
8:23 p.m. -- Here's my full story, which will be updated later with Strasburg's reaction.