Stephen Strasburg really sucked it up (by Stephen Strasburg standards) in his fourth start for the Nationals AAA affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs. Strasburg went five innings and shockingly...ALLOWED A RUN, something he had not done in his first three wins for Syracuse.
Strasburg's line: 5 innings, 52 pitches (36 strikes), five hits, two runs (one earned), no walks, and 5 K's. His overall ERA in eight starts for Harrisburg and Syracuse is a nasty 0.99. His ERA with the Chiefs...0.39.
Make no mistake, this kid is going to have some nights at Nationals park when he gets roughed up by the likes of a stacked lineup (see the Philadelphia Phillies). Combine this with the fact that the Nats offense can always be selectively anemic, and Strasburg will face his share of difficulties once he gets to the big leagues. That said, he has proved thus far that he is well worth his $15+ million contract value, and fans in Washington can sense that the arrival of Strasburg in Washington over the next few weeks is becoming more and more of a reality.
Strasburg is expected to start one more game with the Chiefs before being promoted to Washington. You have to think that the Nationals will give Strasburg a home debut, but the Nats are currently on a lengthy road trip (with visits to the Giants, Padres, and Astros), and don't return home until the June 4th - June 6th series against the Reds.
Jason Bergmann (yes he is still around) got the win for Syracuse, a 6-3 win against Toledo. The Chiefs (28-16) hold a slim half game lead over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in the North Division of the International League.
The Nats kick-off their road trip tonight in San Francisco, with Livan Hernandez (4-2) facing off against Todd Wellemeyer (2-4).
The Nats will be without Pudge Rodriguez, who landed on the 15-day DL after coming out of Saturday's game against the O's with back stiffness. Super-utility man (a generous term) Mike Morse is now listed as the backup catcher behind Nieves.