(Photo of TV/MASN by Nationals Enquirer staff. Stephen Strasburg, pretty in pink.)
"I’m still not where I want to be. I’m still hungry. I’m starting to smell it a little bit. Hopefully, I can get there soon. But as of right now, I’m getting ready for my next start." (Stephen Strasburg, via Syracuse.com, 5/13/2010)
Well, it looks like Baseball Jesus might finally, really be ready now.
Yawn. Another dominating performance: six no-hit innings in his second AAA start. (Drew Storen blew the no-hitter in the 7th!)
Strasburg's line: 6.0IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 7K. 80 pitches, 55 strikes. And that's 80 more pitches wasted in the minors. He's ready, but we'll have to wait a few more weeks.
The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore floats an interesting idea involving robots to make things more challenging while Baseball Jesus waits his turn:
There is no higher class of minor leagues left for Stephen Strasburg, so what happens now? Let him face robots in the bullpen? Make him throw left-handed? Baseball's financial structure all but ensures he will not become a Washington National for about three weeks...
So the $15 million question still remains: When will Strasburg make his major league debut?
All along, we've been thinking rather shortsightedly (surprise!) about his start date: June 8 vs. Pittsburgh at home, hey, maximize ticket sales for an otherwise unattractive weekday game against a bad team. But Brian from Nationals Farm Authoritypushed us into the June 5th/Reds camp, pointing out in a Tweet: "If [Strasburg] comes up on 6/5 vs Cincy, Nats could get 6 of his first 8 starts at Nats Park." That's huge. They've already left enough money on the table in 2010 (ignoring the long term impact if you start his arb. clock early), wasting Strasburg's bullets in the minors.
But there's one scenario where we can see the Nationals saying "to hell with baseball economics, we're calling him up immediately". And that's if John Lannan doesn't make it out of Colorado with his arm intact tonight. It's a terrible thought, but that might be enough to force Mike Rizzo's hand. Here's hoping it doesn't come to that.