Stephen Strasburg faces the Pujols-less Cardinals
After having missed Stephen Strasburg when he was a late scratch in the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Showcase game, my wait was rewarded when I caught the phenom, now wearing a Washington Nationals uniform, pitch on Sunday versus the St. Louis Cardinals in Viera.
Tony La Russa’s lineup featured four starters but among the missing were the club’s top three RBI men Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Ryan Ludwick. Second-year player Colby Rasmus batted clean up.
Still, Strasburg finished his day with three shutout innings. The 21-year-old allowed two hits, neither hit particularly hard, a walk and he fanned two. He induced six groundball outs and looked to mix his offerings most effectively. Strasburg worked consistently in the 93-97 mph range and looked effortless in doing so.
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak spoke for both of us when he told me he characterized Strasburg’s performance as “impressive.”
In the home third, former Cardinal Adam Kennedy blasted an RBI triple off Adam Wainwright and scored on a Ryan Zimmerman single so Strasburg departed with a lead.
Looking a bit slimmer than in the last few seasons, Livan Hernandez' results were the same. He quickly gave the visitors the lead back in the top of the fourth. The 14-year veteran had trouble finding the plate, but you knew to avoid him anyway, right?