Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Class A: Lexington at Hagerstown

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg returns to Hagerstown tonight for his latest rehab start.
HAGERSTOWN -- Hello from historic Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, where tonight the low-Class A Suns host the Lexington Legends in the finale of a three-game South Atlantic League series. Most notable, of course, is the name of Hagerstown's starting pitcher: Stephen Strasburg.

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: Four three innings or 60 50 pitches, whichever comes first. (Considering he only needed 33 pitches to get through three innings at Potomac, the right-field bullpen could be getting some extra work in the fifth 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...

Where: Municipal Stadium
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: None
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees, Wind 4 mph out to CF
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)
5:05 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.

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.


natsfan1a said...

You want to talk old? I remember my dad and brothers listening to SF Giants games featuring the Alou brothers. Now, that's old. You're a mere pup. ;-)

sunderland said...

low-Class? Awww.
Bummer that Strasburg has to pitch against not just low A ball, but against a team stinking it up in low A ball, 16 wins and out of the past 50 games. Ah well. Have fun Stras.

Nats Outsider said...

Given Stras' success last time against the slightly better hitters in high Class A, is there a particular reason why he was moved back to throw again in low Class A rather than up to AA?

webman said...

This is about giving his arm a workout against live batters in a game situation, not working him up the ladder through the minors. They want to keep him in the dc area so he can sleep at home at night instead of in some fleabag motel 6.

Tcostant said...

Back to Potomac on Tuesday?

natsfan1a said...

If memory serves, only Hagerstown and Syracuse (AAA) were at home.

Traveler8 said...

Isn't going to Strasburg's games rather than the team games sort of the tail wagging the dog?

Anonymous said...

True enough, webman, but the Harrisburg Suns are playing at home today, too. The drive time difference to DC is maybe 30-40 minutes at most.

Tcostant said...

To Nats Outsider said: you answer is that Rizzo made it clear he only wants Strasburg pitching at minor Nats home; so he may "control the enviroment". AA was on the road and AAA was likely to big a step after 2 short outings.

natsfan1a said...

Also if memory serves (the sequel), he's on the every five days plan, which would put his next start on Monday if all goes well (and I believe that only Hagerstown is home on that date).

MicheleS said...

Mark... just saw you on MLB network... Is he going 3 innings or 4 innings?

natsfan1a said...

Hagerstown Suns are at home. Harrisburg Senators are on the road.

natsfan1a said...

Well, technically the P-Nats may be at home then but it's an off day.

natsfan1a said...

Also if memory serves (the sequel), he's on the every five days plan, which would put his next start on Monday if all goes well (and I believe that only Hagerstown is home on that date).
August 17, 2011 4:57 PM

NatsLady said...

For $6.99 (minor league TV subscription) you can watch it live.

MicheleS said...

I have a feeling that MLB Network will have it too... Especially since they interviewed Mark from Hagerstown!

NatsLady said...

Do you have to have cable to receive MLB network? Or can you get it on your computer?

NatsLady said...

Was listening to Baseball America podcast. According to one of the guys, after the recent haul, the Nationals farm system ranks third in MLB. The other guy ranks the Nats in the top 5, or at least in the top 5 to 10.

Considering that the Nationals had basically NO farm system when transferring here from Montreal, that's pretty amazing.

natsfan1a said...

I think it's only available via cable, NatsLady. That said, the site does tend have some video clips:

natsfan1a said...

(It being MLB Network and me still being in serial commenting mode.)

MicheleS said...

SLATEN? Is he still around? Good lord they have buried him haven't they! And the answer to your question Mark.. Stras vs Slaten... hmmm.... tough choice, but I don't think Hazel would be asking you about Doug....

Jim Webster said...

Natsa1a... Old? I remember listening to PHils in SEries...musta been 50 or 51.

MIcheleS said...

hmm.. Not a good night for Stras... Hopefully, this is just a blip on the radar...

flynnie said...

"That leaves Strasburg’s line a very unsightly one: 1 2/3 innings, four hits, five earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts. He also threw a wild pitch in the second inning. . . . We have rarely seen Strasburg so hittable." Adam Kilgore

It took him 33 pitches to get the 1st out against the lowly Lexington Legends, who are at the bottom of the low-A division. I'm sure there's an explanation. Anyone? Anyone?

natsfan1a said...

I will defer to my distinguished colleague, Jim W. ;-)

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