Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Progressive Field will be packed with fans wanting to catch a glimpse of Stephen Strasburg.
A large crowd (anywhere from 30,000-35,000) is expected. An extra 50 media members have been credentialed. There will be three TV crews (MASN in D.C., STO in Cleveland and TBS around the country). All to watch Stephen Strasburg make his second big-league start.
Strasburg will have a little different defense behind him. Ryan Zimmerman will be DH'ing, with Alberto Gonzalez at third base. Michael Morse also is in the lineup, starting in right field.
Check back for updates throughout. There should be plenty...
NATIONALS at INDIANS
Where: Progressive Field
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Ch. 50-HD, MASN2-HD, TBS-HD (outside D.C. and Cleveland)
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 79 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from LF
2B Cristian Guzman
CF Nyjer Morgan
DH Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
3B Alberto Gonzalez
(P Stephen Strasburg)
CF Trevor Crowe
RF Shin-Soo Choo
C Carlos Santana
DH Travis Hafner
LF Austin Kearns
1B Russell Branyan
3B Jhonny Peralta
2B Luis Valbuena
SS Anderson Hernandez
(P David Huff)
12:35 p.m. -- The phenom has emerged on the field. Just came walking out of the dugout to head down to right field for stretching and jogging before beginning his bullpwen warm-up. Lots of people in Nats (and more specifically, Strasburg) jerseys here already. It's going to be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to strikeouts today. Will the Indians fans be cheering against their team? I wouldn't be surprised.
12:44 p.m. -- Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Ted and Mark Lerner, along with plenty of other team execs are here today. (And no, ownership doesn't usually travel to a weekend series in Cleveland.)
1:00 p.m. -- The stands still aren't half-full. Lots of people still waiting outside the left-field gate to get in. Good thing Strasburg doesn't take the mound til the bottom of the first.
1:07 p.m. -- We are underway with a 91 fastball from David Huff to Cristian Guzman. I have a feeling the first pitch of the bottom of the inning will come in with a bit more velocity.
1:11 p.m. -- Nothing doin' for the Nats in the top of the first. Guzman lined out to second. Morgan lined out to left. Zimmerman hit a sharp grounder to the hole at short, but Anderson Hernandez (remember him?) gunned him down at first. Clearly, the Nats are intentionally trying to lose this game to make Manny Acta feel better about himself. Meanwhile, here comes the kid...
1:21 p.m. -- Well, anyone worried about a letdown in start No. 2 has nothing to be concerned about. Strasburg blew away the Indians in the bottom of the first. Retired the side, striking out both Trevor Crowe and Shin-Soo Choo to open the game. Carlos Santana did scald a line drive to left for the final out. Still, pretty impressive. 15 pitches, 10 strikes, four of them hit 100 mph on the stadium radar gun. Lots of buzzing in the crowd.
1:29 p.m. -- All you Michael Morse fans out there have plenty to crow about right now. Two-out, RBI single to right scores Dunn (who inadvertently bowled over Santana at the plate) to put the Nats up 1-0.
1:38 p.m. -- Strasburg has been saying all along that major-leaguers can hit 100 mph if it's not located, and Travis Hafner proved it in the bottom of the second. Crushed a 100 mph heater down and in over the right-field fence for a solo homer. It wasn't a horrible pitch by any means, but against a left-handed power pitcher, that's not the best location. Strasburg rebounded from the bomb just fine, though. He got Austin Kearns to fly out, then struck out both Russell Branyan and Jhonny Peralta on curveballs. So it's 1-1 after two innings.
1:39 p.m. -- By the way, Strasburg has now thrown nine big-league innings. His total pitching line: 9 ip, 5 h, 3 er, 0 bb, 18 k. 123 pitches, 84 strikes. Not bad.
1:52 p.m. -- Big-time efficiency from Strasburg in the third. He retired the side on eight pitches, five of them strikes. Three weak groundballs to the right side of the infield. Total of 38 pitches (25 strikes) so far. It's still 1-1 after three.
2:04 p.m. -- A bomb from Adam Dunn puts the Nats on top 2-1 in the fourth. Strasburg is looking to set the record for most strikeouts before issuing his first career walk. The record is 22, by Johnny Cueto of the 2008 Reds. Strasburg is at 18 entering the fourth.
2:08 p.m. -- And there's the walk to Santana. Streak ends at 19. You knew that was going to happen.
2:17 p.m. -- Strasburg followed up his first walk with another walk. Funny how that happens. No problem, though. He merely struck out Kearns and Branyan on fastballs. So not a single ball was put into play in the fourth. It's like a Little League game. Strasburg's line through four: 4 ip, 1 h, 1 r, 2 bb, 7 k. 63 pitches, 39 strikes.
2:22 p.m. -- Strasburg has been having problems with the mound all afternoon, especially where his left foot lands. The umps have called for the grounds crew to take care of it. Gonna be a slight delay here.
2:35 p.m. -- Another walk, another strikeout and one really nice play by Alberto Gonzalez in the fifth. With two outs and a man on first, Crowe dropped a bunt. Gonzo, doing his best Zimmerman imitation, calmly scooped the ball and fired to first for the out. It's still 2-1 Nats through five. Strasburg at 79 pitches (47 strikes). Probably has one more inning in him, anthat'll be it.
2:46 p.m. -- Big, BIG hit from Pudge right there. Two-out, two-run double to left-center puts the Nats up 4-1 in the sixth. Some much-appreciated breathing room for Strasburg and the bullpen.
2:52 p.m. -- Make it 6-1 after Trevor Crowe takes a bad route on Ian Desmond's smoked line drive to center. Turned into a two-run triple and even more cushion for Strasburg and Co.
3:01 p.m. -- More mound problems in the sixth. After allowing a single and walking Hafner, Strasburg notes that he's slipping. Jim Riggleman comes out to talk to the umps and gets the grounds crew back out. The crowd doesn't like it. Drew Storen is warming, by the way. Strasburg's just about finished for the day.
3:06 p.m. -- Another walk, more mound issues and that's it for Strasburg. He's pulled with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. Fellow 2009 first-round pick Drew Storen is on to pitch out of this jam, facing a tough hitter in Russell Branyan.
3:15 p.m. -- How bout some love for Drew Storen? Got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting Branyan to pop out and then blowing away Peralta with a 96 mph fastball. Preserves the 6-1 lead after six.
3:35 p.m. -- Today's paid attendance: 32,876. That included 3,823 fans who walked up and bought tickets at the ballpark today. Pretty impressive.
3:43 p.m. -- This is turning into a rout. Roger Bernadina crushes a two-run homer to right-center, putting the Nats up 8-1 in the eighth.
4:31 p.m. -- It's over. It's all over. Nationals win, 9-4. Strasburg gets the win, improves to 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA. He's allowed six hits and five walks in 12 1/3 innings, striking out 22. The Nats avoid a series sweep in Cleveland and head to Detroit at 31-33. Lannan and Scherzer on Tuesday night at Comerica Park.