It was probably the most anticipated start in major league baseball for as many years as I can recall. I don’t remember a time when a rookie was as hyped as Stephen Strasburg was this year. I know the opponent was only the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it is still a team of major league players. Strasburg was brilliant despite the incredible pressure of high expectations. He matched the season high in strikeouts for any pitcher by striking out 14 batters (Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers struck out 14 on May 30th against the A’s). It was also the highest strikeout total in a pitching debut since James Rodney Richard of the Houston Astros in 1971 and Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. Strasburg went 7 innings until he was lifted for a pinch hitter, allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs. Matt Capps closed out the game to give Strasburg his first major league victory in his first major league start. I’d say expectations were met…
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
I am happy for the Washington Nationals and their fans. The Expos/Nationals have historically been the Los Angeles Clippers of Major League Baseball. Great baseball players have passed through the organization, but too often they achieved their greatest successes elsewhere. However, they’ve finally started to collect good, young talent and are the new Tampa Bay Rays. Their future is very bright, and Strasburg gives the team a leg up on everyone else. Five years from now, when many current stars will be fading or retired, Strasburg should be at the top of the heap with the Nationals, with an outfield that include 2010 #1 overall pick Bryce Harper, and primed for championships.
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the Yankees first round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft. They selected a player that did not appear on any mock draft boards and wasn’t targeted to be selected until possibly the 4th or 5th round. When his name was read, an internet search yielded nothing. Cito Culver/RHP. I was surprised that the Yanks would go for a high school pitcher, but later reports indicated that his name was actually Christopher Culver (Cito is his nickname) and he was drafted as a shortstop. It’s possible that he may be Derek Jeter’s future replacement. Before the draft, I had heard that the Yankees had intended to go for the best player available. Given that Culver is a New York-area player, I am hopeful that the lack of praise for Culver is the product of a very astute Yankees scouting department and not simply a reach for a player with potential promise. Time will tell…
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Oh yeah, the Yankees did play a game tonight. Granted, the Yankees generally struggle against lesser teams but the next two series involving the Baltimore Orioles and the Houston Astros should serve the team well as they start revving up the momentum for interleague play which ultimately leads to Dodger Stadium. Behind Phil Hughes, the Yankees defeated the O’s 12-7. Hughes’ performance wasn’t quite Strasburg-like, but it was enough to win his 8th game of the season. He only went 6 innings, giving up 9 hits but only 3 runs, and struck out 4. Kevin Millwood (0-7) continued his no-luck pitching for the O’s in taking the loss.
If it is possible to blow a 9-run lead, Chad Gaudin did his best to try. He allowed a two-run homer to Adam Jones in the 8th, and gave up a two-run scoring double in the 9th. Personally, I thought that Manager Joe Girardi let Gaudin pitch too long and if it were up to me, I would designate Gaudin for assignment after the game. Just like he did for Oakland, he has done nothing for the Yanks and is occupying valuable roster space.
Unfortunately, both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Ray won so no ground was gained in the AL East standings.
Oh well, tomorrow is a new day! J