Friday, August 12, 2011

Class A: Myrtle Beach at Potomac

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg makes his second rehab start tonight at Pfitzner Stadium.
WOODBRIDGE, Va. -- Hello from Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Class A Potomac Nationals and site tonight of Stephen Strasburg's second rehab start. I've jumped off the major-league Nationals beat for one day to cover this game, but I'll be heading up to Philadelphia tomorrow for the rest of the weekend series against the Phillies.

The plan for Strasburg tonight: Three innings or roughly 45-50 pitches. I wasn't in Hagerstown Sunday for his first start, so this is the first time I've seen him pitch since that fateful night at Citizens Bank Park nearly one year ago when his ulnar collateral ligament tore. I'll be interested to see not only how hard he throws, but also how he commands all of his pitches.

The working conditions here at the Pfitz are ... well, this isn't a major-league ballpark. The press box has room only for the two radio announcers, scoreboard operator, official scorer and one local writer. So the rest of us schlubs will be sitting on the metal bleachers in the stands. Hoping to be able to provide updates here, so please check back. I'll also post a Nats-Phillies game thread shortly, so please use that for tonight's game commentary...

Where: Pfitzner Stadium
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: None
Weather: Mostly sunny, 82 degrees, Wind 1 mph in from LF
POTOMAC (53-62, 24-22 second half)
SS Francisco Soriano
2B Jeff Kobernus
LF Destin Hood
DH Brian Peacock
RF Archie Gilbert
1B Steven Souza
C Sandy Leon
3B Jose Lozada
CF Eury Perez
(P Stephen Strasburg)

MYRTLE BEACH (63-52, 23-23 second half)
SS Leury Garcia
1B Jared Boldin
DH Travis Adair
RF Jared Prince
C Vinny DiFazio
CF Ryan Strausborger
LF Jared Hoying
3B Chirino Santiago
2B David Paisano
(P Wilfredo Boscan)
3:30 p.m. -- And yes, you read the name of the Myrtle Beach center fielder correctly: Ryan Strausborger. That's just too good to be true.

6:46 p.m. -- Just about ready to get going here, and the stands are nearly at capacity. About every third person here is wearing a Strasburg T-shirt or jersey. Just to warn you: The wireless connection has been spotty. If for some reason I lose it, I'll still be posting updates on my Twitter page.

7:05 p.m. -- And we're underway. Strasburg's first pitch to Leury Garcia is a 93-mph fastball for a strike. Because this ballpark faces west, all left-handed hitters are looking directly into the sun. Cause facing Strasburg isn't difficult enough.

7:10 p.m. -- Pretty impressive first inning for Strasburg. He struck out Garcia, then got three straight groundballs to shortstop. No. 3 hitter Travis Adair beat his out, just barely on a bang-bang play that had the crowd booing. The radar gun here on the scoreboard appears to be a bit off, because it was saying he threw a few curveballs 98 mph. That said, his fastball definitely was hitting 98 consistently. 12 pitches, 9 strikes.

7:27 p.m. -- Tell you what, this guy looks pretty sharp to this untrained eye. Strasburg struck out a pair in the second inning, one on a 99 mph fastball, one on a wicked curveball that had Jared Hoying totally fooled. He did give up another infield single to doppleganger Ryan Strausborger -- I think I felt a ripple in the space-time continuum on that one -- and saw another batter reach on an error by Jeff Kobernus. Nobody has hit the ball out of the infield, though. Through two innings, he's thrown 25 pitches, 19 strikes.

7:43 p.m. -- A 1-2-3 third inning for Strasburg, who recorded a pair of strikeouts on 90 mph changeups, then got an easy comebacker for an 8-pitch inning. The bullpen is warming, so that's probably it for him. If so, his final line will be: 3 ip, 2 h, 0 r, 0 bb, 5 k, 33 pitches, 26 strikes. Not one ball left the infield.

7:55 p.m. -- Strasburg is indeed done. At least in the game. He's spending the fourth inning in the bullpen throwing more pitches to build up some arm strength because he was just so efficient in the game.


Ballston Nat said...

Too bad they didn't cut a deal to play this game at Nats Park. Better facilities for the reporters, and they probably could have gotten a lot of folks to come over for at least a couple of innings.

Anonymous said...

Have seen a couple of games there. The most impressive player in the games I saw was second baseman Jeff Kobernus. He made a couple of plays that reminded me of Danny.

JaneB said...

We have a seat we aren't using in section 2, row b, seats 8-12. Come sit with us for a while! Meeting up with some Insiders before, too.

Scooter said...

Oldguy, I'm envious. I don't think I've ever seen Kobernus -- or he hasn't stood out when I was there -- but he's apparently having a swell season.

P. Cole said...

Can't wait for the Strasburg / Strausborger matchup.

SacTown said...

I read Brian Peacock as Brad Peacock, and was wondering how a AAA pitcher became a A+ DH. Are they related?

Scooter said...

No relation, SacTown. Brian is a catcher who's actually been with the P-Nats for a few years. (So, he used to catch Brad.) That doesn't bode well for his development, but it does make the fans happy. He seems like a good fella who plays the game hard.

Court said...

Does Perez usually bat 8th? That troubles me.

face said...

I heard they ran out of Desmond bobble heads within 10 minutes of the gates - must be quite a crowd

Mark L said...

The player to watch right now is Destin Hood, he's having a great season where each successive month he's better than the one before.

JaneB said...

Drat! I was really really wanting one! Oh well.

DCGuy7 said...

mark - can see you working hard on your laptop in Sec 5 just below the press box! keep up the good work!

DCGuy7 said...

kobernus got a nice hit in the 1st and was caught off 1st base.

do single A shortstops always play so deep? soriano's been basically on the grass for 2 innings now.

MicheleS said...

Mark. Is it 3 innings max? Or do they go by pitch count?

JaneB said...

Nice triple by another Siriano.

natsfan1a said...

Reposting from the other SS thread. (That's what I get for having a not-so-smart phone.) We got there at 4:45, gates opened at 5:00, and we scored our bobbles. Evidently they were all gone within 15 minutes of the gates opening.

On a player name note, I do recall watching a Peacock/Peacock battery at the Pfitz back in the day. Also, I was making with the Strausborger remarks during the game (SS will grill him, Strausborger: It's what's for dinner, etc. :-))

Hadn't realized that Mark was there until another Insider told me. Didn't see him, although I did see Byron Kerr and some sister Insiders.

It was a fun game and I have to say I was surprised at how many folks stayed until the end (although others did leave after SS was out of the game). Early in the game one of the staffers was telling some folks that they would have their choice of seats after SS was done, as 80 percent of the "fans" had left after he exited the game at Hagerstown. As we were walking out after the game was over, it occurred to me that some folks may have stayed later because the Strasburg jersey raffle didn't take place until after the final out. Clever. :-) Anyway, it was an enthusiastic crowd and fun to see so many in attendance at the Pfitz. Wish there would have been such crowds for their playoff games back in the day but oh, well.

btw, I was not sporting SS gear. I'm undefeated at the Pfitz in my white curly w t-shirt, and we all know that you don't mess with a streak. Plus, I don't own any SS gear. I didn't win the jersey raffle but I did get a bobblehead. So there's that. Plus I got to see another P-Nats win.

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