- The Washington Times - Monday, May 11, 2009

THE BUZZ

Tracking the Nationals’ news and trends from the past week:

UP: INVADING THE CIRCUS

Nationals in Los Angeles during Manny problem, in Arizona when manager fired — two wins

UP: THE STREAK

Zimmerman keeps hitting and keeps letting us reference the immortal Heinie Manush

DOWN: TO BE CONTINUED

After 11 innings and 20 runs, rain forces Astros series to finish in Houston in July

UP: 9-2

Kearns and Flores team up on an impressive 9-2 forceout

STRASBURG WATCH

Your weekly update on San Diego State right-hander (and presumptive Nationals No. 1 draft pick) Stephen Strasburg:

Strasburg started his final home game Friday night, and he couldn’t have drawn up a better script to cap a brilliant college career. With an overflow crowd of 3,337 (largest ever at Tony Gwynn Stadium) cheering his every move — and Nationals acting GM Mike Rizzo and scouting director Dana Brown seated behind the plate — Strasburg no-hit Air Force in a 5-0 victory. The big right-hander struck out 17, including the three batters he faced in the ninth inning, and allowed only two men to reach base (leadoff walks in the fourth and sixth).

The final punchout set off a wild celebration at the center of the diamond as Strasburg was mobbed by teammates after the first no-hitter of his life.

Season stats: 11-0, 1.24 ERA, 87 1/3 innings, 48 hits, 17 walks, 164 strikeouts

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH

Collin Balester entered spring training believing he had made the Nationals’ Opening Day rotation. But an inconsistent March — coupled with the development of Jordan Zimmermann and Shairon Martis — left him on the outside when camp broke.

Determined to get back in the big leagues, the 22-year-old right-hander finally has strung together some solid starts for Class AAA Syracuse. Though his 1-4 record and 4.94 ERA are hardly excellent, he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his past four starts. And perhaps more importantly, he has struck out 24 and walked 12. All of that leaves Balester as the most likely pitcher to be called up if the Nationals need to make a rotation change.

Mark Zuckerman

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide