Strasburg struck out five while walking none tonight (Photo by Nicholas Lisi, The Post-Standard).
Rookie Phenom Yields One Earned Run in No Decision
Syracuse, N.Y. (Monday, May 24, 2010) – The fastest rising star in the Major League Baseball farm system wasn’t his nearly perfect self tonight for the first time since joining the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. Unfortunately for the Toledo Mud Hens, slightly less than perfect for rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg is better than most on their best day.
Strasburg was restricted to 52 pitches tonight at Alliance Bank Stadium, and the stingy hurler gave up the first runs he has suffered since joining the Chiefs, who are the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. After retiring six of the first seven hitters he faced, Strasburg was touched up a bit in the third frame. Toledo outfielder Diek Scram led off the inning with a base hit to right field that he was able to stretch into a triple, but Strasburg appeared to work himself out of trouble after sitting down the next two Mud Hen batters. With two outs and a runner on third base, Strasburg threw a sharp curve that catcher Carlos Maldonado was unable to handle, and Scram took advantage to score the unearned run. The next hitter was retired to close out the third.
At the top of the fourth, veteran major leaguer Carlos Guillen, who is on a rehab assignment for the Detroit Tigers, got the stanza started with a lead-off single. After Strasburg picked up an out on the next batter he faced, Toledo outfielder Jeff Frazier put runners on second and third base after hitting a one-out double. Next up for the Mud Hens was outfielder Casper Wells, who touched Strasburg for his first and only earned run at the Triple-A level after scoring Guillen on a single. The one run would be all of the damage in the fourth inning, with Strasburg and the Chief defense stopping the next two Toledo batters before they were able to advance Frazier past third base.
Strasburg then retired all three of the hitters he faced in the fifth inning before being removed prior to the start of the sixth. Reports from the ballpark are that Strasburg appeared very disappointed in his early dismissal. In his five innings of work, Strasburg allowed the sole earned run and fanned five while walking none. Once he left the mound, Syracuse rallied for four runs in the sixth frame to trigger an eventual 6-3 victory.
With the first “touch-up” of his Triple-A career, Strasburg is now 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in 23 1/3 innings of work. He has also registered 27 strikeouts while allowing four walks.
Strasburg will likely make the final start of his overstayed trip in the minor leagues this Saturday against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees before joining the Nationals for a homestand in early June.