(Stephen Strasburg makes his fourth start this afternoon. AP Photo via Daylife.)
All I want for Strasmas is a win. And not to die of heat stroke this afternoon at Nationals Park.
Strasmas Heat Wave: Baseball Jesus in 95+ degree heat with heat index in the triple digits? Seems oddly fitting.
If there's such a thing as a must-win game against the Royals, this is it. And it sounds like the Royals are looking forward to seeing Strasburg in person. The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton checked in with the Royals before Wednesday's game:
"I know he's got great stuff. Everybody knows that. I've seen him on TV. Actually, we've been watching him quite a bit. It's a good challenge for our offense."
(Royals 1B Billy Butler, via The Kansas City Star, 6/22/2010)
"It's great for the game. There's a (Mark) Fidrych-type atmosphere to it. Or (Fernando) Valenzuela. Those are big moments in baseball history, and I think it's fun to be part of."
(Royals starter Brian Bannister, via The Kansas City Star, 6/22/2010)
And from MLB.com:
"As a group we're going to try to come up with an offensive game plan to try to put some runs up against him. It'll be fun to go out and battle arguably one of the guys that they say has some of the best stuff in the league."
(Royals LF Scott Podsednik, via MLB.com, 6/23/2010)
Charge of the Light (hitting) Brigade!
Meanwhile, Rustin Dodd of Kansas City.com's Royals blog caught up with former college player Corey Shimada, who faced Strasburg last year for the University of Utah. Shimanda describes what it's like to step into the box against Baseball Jesus:
"I don’t have any words to describe how fast it is...or how hard it is to hit. ... I don’t really remember pitch sequences...But I did realize that from his sophomore to his junior year, he started using his breaking ball a lot more"
(via Ball Star/Kansas City.com, 6/22/2010)