Tag:Stephen Strasburg
Posted on: September 11, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2011 7:19 pm
 

Nats rookies dress as 'smurfs' on way to New York



By Matt Snyder


This is smurfy smurftuation (forgive me, I had to sit through that movie in the theater with my kids).

In what appears to be some good-natured hazing, the Nationals veterans have mandated that the rookies dress as Smurfs for their trip to New York. The photo above was posted on Twitter by Jesus Flores and Papa Smurf (the one with the beard and the red pants/hat combo, for those uninformed on the Smurfs) is none other than Stephen Strasburg, who started Sunday. I can't make out who Smurfette is, but he seems to be embracing the role.

So, yeah, if you are en route to New York and run into a band of Smurfs, it's the Washington Nationals' rookies.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 11, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: September 11, 2011 11:52 am
 

On Deck: Strasmas, McGowan, AL Wild Card race

OD

By Matt Snyder

It's September 11, 2011. Much smarter people than myself have written about today, but things other than baseball should certainly be somewhere in our minds. Ten years ago today was a rough one. Let's be happy for what we have and cherish life. When you do stumble back to baseball for entertainment -- and it's essential for maintaining sanity -- you can follow all the live action on CBSSports.com's scoreboard. For me, though, it feels like baseball takes a back seat to the 10-year anniversary of a day that was so horrible, yet brought us all together as one, big family.

Strasmas ... again: It's Strasmas in D.C. Phenom Stephen Strasburg (0-0, 0.00) will make his second start of the season Sunday for the Nationals, as they host the Astros. He worked five shutout innings Tuesday, allowing just two hits while striking out four. In his major-league career, Strasburg has a 2.71 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 73 innings. Expect him to work somewhere from four to six innings, depending upon how the pitch count falls. Henry Sosa (2-3, 4.11) takes the hill for the Astros, whose next loss will match a franchise-high 97 for the season. Astros at Nationals, 1:35 p.m. ET.

Dustin's Return: Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan hasn't started a game in the majors since July 8, 2008, but he'll give it a go Sunday against the Orioles. He's had several surgeries -- two to his shoulder and one to his knee -- and a long road of rehab back, so it's difficult to not root for him. He allowed three runs in four relief innings earlier this week, but it feels like a clean slate in his start Sunday. Tommy Hunter (3-3, 5.28) takes the hill for the Orioles. Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. ET.

Sunday's Big Game: If the Rays beat the Red Sox, it will only be a 3 1/2 game lead for the Sox in the AL Wild Card race. And the Rays visit the Red Sox for a four-game series on their upcoming road trip. As if the stakes weren't high enough, two All-Stars take the mound. James Shields (14-10, 2.77) squares off against Jon Lester (15-6, 2.93). Last time the two started in the same game, the result was a 3-1 Red Sox win -- in which Shields only allowed a three-run homer to Jacoby Ellsbury in one of his major-league leading 11 complete games. Rays at Red Sox, 1:40 p.m. ET.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 7:23 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 7:30 pm
 

Nats reveal Strasburg's schedule

By Matt Snyder

Strasmas already happened once this September, as Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg dominated the Dodgers for five innings Tuesday. Now, the Nationals have mapped out his schedule for the rest of the season. It will include four starts at home before he's either shut down or makes one road start.

Strasburg will start Sunday against the Astros, and then the Nationals will give him an extra day of rest between each of his next two starts. That conveniently means Strasburg's first four starts will all be at home, and attendance will surely benefit the Nationals' financially.

More Strasburg Coverage
Of course, that's not why they're giving him an extra day.

“I can assure you it has nothing to do with home or road,” manager Davey Johnson said (Nationals Journal). Johnson added that he's using a similar schedule that the Nationals used with Jordan Zimmermann, who came back after having Tommy John surgery this season. It is the same procedure Strasburg had.

So Strasburg will start Sept. 17 against the Marlins and Sept. 23 against the Braves. From there, the Nationals will decide whether or not to bring Strasburg back on the last day of the season (Sept. 28) in a road game against the Marlins on traditional four-days' rest or to simply let the start against the Braves on the 23rd be the final outing of his second big-league season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 10:48 am
 

Bowden correctly fires off on Strasburg critics



By Matt Snyder


In case you've completely ignored baseball this week, we'll inform you that Stephen Strasburg made it back to the majors -- and dazzled. It had been just a few days over a year since he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) elbow.

I guess you could call the return at least slightly controversial, because there are some who believe the Nationals should not allow Strasburg to pitch this month. Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden had some pretty serious words for those against Strasburg pitching this season. On his radio show, he was reacting to a poll as to whether or not Strasburg should pitch this season -- and he didn't hold back (via Washington Post):
“This is a really dumb poll and a really dumb question, and it infuriates me,” Bowden said. “And it’s probably just because I’m a former GM, but how anybody can criticize the way the Washington Nationals have brought Stephen Strasburg back?

“[Critics] know nothing about baseball, nothing about rehab, nothing about the history of the surgery, and have NO respect for the medical profession. They followed this to the t. This is Dr. James Andrews, who is one of the best in the country; this is his exact plan, TO THE DAY. It’s 12 months and 3 days from the surgery, and he never had a setback, and they carried about the exact program. His velocity’s up to 98, 99 with no pain, and they’re doing absolutely everything they’re supposed to from a medical perspective, from a baseball perspective and for the future of Strasburg.

“He’s not on the mound tonight to sell tickets. He’s on the mound because this is the program that you do when you come back from Tommy John, and you want to build up Major League innings as part of this program at the end, so that next year if they’re in a pennant race, they’re gonna be prepared to have Strasburg pitching important games in September. This is nothing that can be debated. Nobody can sit here and say that this is wrong and have any medical or baseball reason for that....

“C’mon. Give me a freaking break. I don’t even want to be discussing this. KUDOS to Mike Rizzo and the Nationals, KUDOS to Jim Andrews, KUDOS to Stephen Strasburg, KUDOS to the training staff of the Nationals, to Dr. Wiemi Duoguih, to Dr. Andrews, everybody that was involved in this process did their job, and he’s on the mound tonight BECAUSE of that.

“God Bless the Nationals, God Bless Strasburg, and God Bless the United States of America.”

Awesome.

Thank you, Jim. Allow me to supplement.

From a personal standpoint, every time I post anything about Strasburg, there's bound to be someone in the comments section or on Twitter saying the Nationals are "rushing" Strasburg back. Publicly, there have been a few critics, too. Rob Dibble, for example, has been critical of the return -- which is ridiculous, because Dibble told Strasburg last season to "suck it up" and keep pitching. Curt Schilling also said there was no reason to bring Strasburg back this year.

Nevermind that Tommy John surgery carries a 10-14 month recovery period nowadays and that Strasburg came back well within that frame. Nevermind that freaking Dr. James Andrews -- easily the most respected sports surgeon around -- has cleared him. Nevermind that the Nationals have handled Jordan Zimmermann as perfectly as possible in his recovery from the exact same procedure.

Nah, none of that matters when it comes to Strasburg for some. Since the Nationals are out of the race, they should just shut him down for the season ... seemingly just for the sake of shutting him down. Really?

What I find most hilarious/maddening is that we'll often get comments complaining about players not playing through pain. You know, because if it was a real job they'd have to show up for work everyday. Since they are millionaires, they should just show up for work no matter what. Sometimes it's completely fair (if an injury doesn't affect performance and can't get worse through playing, I'd agree whole-heartedly players should play through pain).

Strasburg is ready, willing and able to show up for work now. His doctor says his injury is healed enough for him to pitch. He's throwing nearly 100 miles per hour. And people still complain. It's amazing.

In response to the fair question of what can be gained by Strasburg pitching this month, I'll reply with the following: He's building arm strength at the absolute ideal time in his rehab process to do so. In the process, he's getting more experience working against major-league hitters for a few starts, which will only speed the process in his development as an ace. Remember, he's still only 23 years old and only has 13 big-league starts under his belt.

Now, I have two questions for the naysayers:

1. Are you smarter than Dr. Andrews when it comes to surgical recovery?
2. Do you know how Strasburg physically feels?

If you answered no to both of the above, stop complaining and enjoy watching Strasburg's immense talent. If you answered yes to either, you're delusional and need to find a different kind of doctor.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 7, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 11:04 am
 

Pepper: Crane's purchase of Astros in doubt

Crane
By Evan Brunell

Limbo: The saga of Jim Crane as Astros owner continues to take a strange path, and that path may be headed toward a rejection.

BizofBaseball.com outlines the reasons behind why the deal has stalled... and why approval may be a pipe dream at this point. You'll have to click through to get the full breakdown, but the main takeaway is that Crane shares some sobering similarities with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, and we all know how that turned out.

For one, Crane had a contentious divorce himself that ended up in the papers back in 2000, where he reportedly came to blows with his son. Crane's history in court is also checkered, as allegations of racism and war-profiteering are very real concerns, and baseball understandably may not be interested in being affiliated with such a person, especially one whose companies were in federal court 130 times in 15 years.

Current Houston owner Drayton McLane expects a vote to be passed at any minute. But it won't come this week, and might not come at all unless commissioner Bud Selig and all 29 current owners can get on board. But even that might be rendered moot, as Crane is reportedly having a hard time keeping his investment group together, which is large and has investments as low as $25 million committed. Eventually, these investors may tire of having their money tied up in a venture that looks less and less ideal.

Time for a four-man: For a few years now, I've strongly believed that the best rotation would be that of four men plus a fifth starter who could start every now and then. I've blogged on it before, and now Jeff Passan comes out in favor of a four-and-swing rotation, even as teams move to six-man rotations these days. (Yahoo! Sports)

Managers of the year: You know it's September when you start seeing articles on who should win certain awards. Today, two candidates for manager of the year are discussed: The Angels' Mike Scioscia by the Orange County Times while Ron Roenicke of the Brewers gets love from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Return of Strasburg: The return of Stephen Strasburg was highly anticipated, and the phenom delivered Tuesday night with a dazzling performance. Here's a pitch F/X review of the outing. The biggest takeaway? Strasburg is throwing a new changeup. (Fangraphs)

Finally: It took three years, but Dustin McGowan has finally moved past all his injuries, surgeries and rehab. For the first time since July 2008, McGowan pitched in a game when he threw four innings Tuesday night. He wasn't lights out, but that's besides the point. (Toronto Star)

Done in Pittsburgh? Paul Maholm is shut down for the year due to injury, which may bring an end to his Pirates career. The club holds a club option, but it's anyone's guess if the option is exercised. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Venable a Bear: Wil Venable's brother has made the Chicago Bears football team. Winston was an undrafted free agent, but made the squad on special teams. (North County Times)

Beer me: If you're looking for a good beer, give AT&T Park in San Francisco a try, a destination that received a glowing beer review. (Fangraphs)

Montero wants to return: 'Zona catcher Miguel Montero will be in his final year of arbitration next season before becoming a free agent. The backstop has indicated his desire to stay, and the team has reciprocated, with both sides likely to discuss an extension after the season. (Arizona Republic)
 
Team USA
: Brett Jackson won't be called up to the Cubs this season, as he will instead play for Team USA in the Pan American Games. With a solid spring training, Jackson should cement himself as the Cubs' center fielder. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Back in L.A.: Rod Barajas has found a home in Los Angeles and is interested in returning. The Dodgers may disagree, though, and may prefer to go young at the position next year. (Los Angeles Times)

Social day: Speaking of L.A., it's hard to argue against the fact that the Dodgers have taken the biggest step back in public relations this year. As an attempt to reconnect with fans, the team is holding a Social September campaign, a month-long campaign that will give fans the ability to win prizes and interact with the team. (MLB.com)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:13 pm
 

Strasburg dazzles in return

Stephen Strasburg

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Our own Danny Knobler will have more from Washington later, but if you missed it -- Stephen Strasburg didn't disappoint in his return from Tommy John surgery. In his first start in the majors just days after the anniversary of his surgery, Strasburg was dominant, throwing five shutout innings, allowing two hits, no walks and striking out four.

As impressive as the results were, so too were the brush strokes on the masterpiece -- a fastball that was clocked as high as 99 mph, the same knee-buckling curveball we saw last year and the change up that can make anyone looking for heat look silly. As many words as have been used to describe Strasburg, they all seem apt.

Last season his debut dress both viewers and raves. Strasmas went from a one-time event to a traveling carnival, and even if he didn't live up to the billing in every start, nobody walked away not understanding that the hype was justified.

Tuesday was no different.

Many pitchers have come back from Tommy John surgery, so coming back soon and even better isn't unheard of at this point. However, for most pitchers coming back requires the search for their old release point and control. In Strasburg's return, he had 14 first-pitch strikes to the 17 batters he faced and didn't seem to have an errant pitch. And that's what's always been so impressive about Strasburg, it's not just the stuff, but the command. He knows he can overpower a batter and also trick them. Set up for one and you set up for failure. 

In the fourth inning, one of baseball's best, Matt Kemp, watched two strikes and a ball all at 96 mph or better and then went after a 90 mph two-seam fastball that darted down below the zone that had Kemp flailing at it for the third strike and Strasburg's third strikeout of the night.

In all, Strasburg threw 56 pitches, 40 for strikes. He gave up a leadoff double to Dodgers rookie Dee Gordon to lead off the game (on what would have been a single for anyone with mere human speed) before retiring the next 11 batters he faced. The only other hit was a grounder by Juan Rivera that shortstop Ian Desmond got a glove on, but couldn't corral.

There will be bumps along the way, that's what baseball's all about. But Tuesday wasn't one of those bumps, instead it was a triumph, one of many seemingly to come.

If everything pans out for the Nationals -- which of course will always be a huge if -- the one thing Strasburg brings is not only an ace, but maybe something just a tad more  -- that ace that isn't swayed by an stage or any spotlight. Strasburg's entire career has been in the spotlight, one that has been bright and hasn't bothered him a bit.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 6, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 4:48 pm
 

On Deck: Strasburg returns, Worley chases history



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

StrasburgViva Strasburg: Stephen Strasburg is set to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday, but it could be washed away by rain. Right now, the game is being threatened and likely to be called or at the very least, delayed. Skipper Davey Johnson told the Washington Post that a delay or even a threat of one would scrub Strasburg's start, so you can expect him to pitch tomorrow instead. Assuming Strasburg pitches he'll do so up against the Dodgers and Ted Lilly. Lilly has been on a roll as of late, lowering his ERA to 4.13 and will look to win his third straight game against Washington. Dodgers vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

SantanaHernandezBest matchup
: The Angels are hoping to keep their rebound going by sending Ervin Santana to the mound against Seattle. Santana has had a career season to date, the likes of which he hasn't seen since 2008. Santana isn't as good as his 3.27 ERA shows, but he's still plenty good and will have a stiff test against Felix Hernandez. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has an identical 3.27 ERA, but has a 2.63 ERA in his last seven starts, the Associated Press says. Santana can do better than that, as he's run up a 2.13 ERA in his last 12 starts. It lines up what should be a very intriguing matchup, as Hernandez has killed the Angels this season, but L.A. is riding a hot streak. Mariners vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

WorleyClosing in on Carlton: That's Steve Carlton, not Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Vance Worley is taking the mound for the 14th time this season since his one and only loss this season back on May 29. In those 13 games since, Philadelphia has won every game, and Worley is now closing in on the franchise record for that distinction, which is held by Steve Carlton. The Phillies won 15 straight games in 1972, the Associated Press says. The longest winning streak the team has with a rookie pitcher is 14 by Wayne Simpson in 1970, so Worley can make some franchise history Tuesday night. He'll run up against Tim Hudson, looking for his 15th victory. Braves vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: September 6, 2011 4:47 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 4:48 pm
 

On Deck: Strasburg returns, Worley chases history



By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

StrasburgViva Strasburg: Stephen Strasburg is set to make his 2011 debut on Tuesday, but it could be washed away by rain. Right now, the game is being threatened and likely to be called or at the very least, delayed. Skipper Davey Johnson told the Washington Post that a delay or even a threat of one would scrub Strasburg's start, so you can expect him to pitch tomorrow instead. Assuming Strasburg pitches he'll do so up against the Dodgers and Ted Lilly. Lilly has been on a roll as of late, lowering his ERA to 4.13 and will look to win his third straight game against Washington. Dodgers vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

SantanaHernandezBest matchup
: The Angels are hoping to keep their rebound going by sending Ervin Santana to the mound against Seattle. Santana has had a career season to date, the likes of which he hasn't seen since 2008. Santana isn't as good as his 3.27 ERA shows, but he's still plenty good and will have a stiff test against Felix Hernandez. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner has an identical 3.27 ERA, but has a 2.63 ERA in his last seven starts, the Associated Press says. Santana can do better than that, as he's run up a 2.13 ERA in his last 12 starts. It lines up what should be a very intriguing matchup, as Hernandez has killed the Angels this season, but L.A. is riding a hot streak. Mariners vs. Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET

WorleyClosing in on Carlton: That's Steve Carlton, not Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Vance Worley is taking the mound for the 14th time this season since his one and only loss this season back on May 29. In those 13 games since, Philadelphia has won every game, and Worley is now closing in on the franchise record for that distinction, which is held by Steve Carlton. The Phillies won 15 straight games in 1972, the Associated Press says. The longest winning streak the team has with a rookie pitcher is 14 by Wayne Simpson in 1970, so Worley can make some franchise history Tuesday night. He'll run up against Tim Hudson, looking for his 15th victory. Braves vs. Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com