Big Lead Sports Bar

6/08/2010

FOR AT LEAST ONE NIGHT, STRASBURG MATCHES THE HYPE


Tuesday was the perfect night for the not-so-long-suffering Washington Nationals fans, right down to the opponent. Even lousy hurlers get excited when the Pittsburgh Pirates' weak-hitting lineup comes to town,  so it was obvious that a game against the Bucs would be the perfect starting point for Stephen Strasburg's much-hyped MLB career.


Yes, the Pirate 9 showed up for their rare national television appearance with a lineup featuring six of nine starters batting below .250, which certainly didn't help the odds in a situation like this. To complicate things, C Ryan Doumit sat this one out due to concussion-like symptoms, which was the baseball equivalent of watering down a bottom-shelf well-drink on special night. For those of you under 21, let me translate: the Pirates' lineup was even worse than usual.

But there's no sense droning on about that topic; a lethargic lineup could be the storyline for virtually any Pirate wrap-up. Tuesday was all about Strasburg, who silenced the Bucco bats to the tune of 14 strikeouts, two earned runs, and a fastball topping out at 100 mph in his MLB debut. Of his 94 pitches in seven innings, a whopping 65 were strikes. Every batter in the Pirate lineup struck out at least once, and seven Pirates struck out twice. I could go on and on, but you get my drift: the guy was dominant.

Dominant yet mortal was Strasburg, who did allow a two-run shot to Delwyn Young in the fourth inning. Nonetheless, the Pirates would total just five hits on the evening, with the other four being singles scattered throughout their lineup. Many a Buccaneer walked back to the dugout in disappointment, clutching their bat in frustration.

On the other side, Washington lit up Pirate starter Jeff Karstens on homers from Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, and Josh Willingham, and Ivan Rodriguez's Corpse nearly stretched a double into a triple in the second inning due to Lastings Milledge being out of position. Karstens went five innings in all, yielding nine hits, four earned runs, and three dingers. He was not confused for Strasburg in any way, shape, or form during the game.

The Nationals would end their storybook night walking away with a relatively easy 5-2 win (closed by Matt Capps), Strasburg got the standard shaving cream pie-in-the-face treatment during his postgame interview, and Washington  management will probably be working well into the night counting money and thinking of future opportunities to capitalize on their wunderkind. As much as it pains me to say this considering it came at the Pirates' expense, baseball needs more nights like this.

With Strasmus now behind us, we can now look ahead to another milestone, albeit one with considerably less national fanfare: Brad Lincoln will make his Pirate debut on Wednesday, going up against John Lannan (4.79, 2-3) in Washington at 7:05. I doubt many people will save their ticket stubs and say "I was there" like they did on Tuesday, but make no doubt about it: Wednesday will be an important night in the future of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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19 comments:

okel dokel said...

It will be interesting to see how Strasburg does when he faces a major league caliber line up.

The Mad Bubbler said...

Ha, McCutchen Walker and Jones, supposedly the future of this "franchise" went 1 for 12 against a rookie picther making his first MLB start. I think I've about given up (almost) on trying to convince morons on this site that the Pirates will never do anything under the current ownership, so now I just have to have fun pointing out how they truly are the worst franchise in North American sports. 18 and counting!!

mikebenjaminschops said...

ok mad bubbler, just some rookie pitcher making his first start?...a record crowd, no standing room, flash bulbs popping, nationally televised, most hyped prospect in history...something tells me he was a little more than just some rookie pitcher making his first start...

pirates or not, the guy was nasty...i dont care if it's the yankees, this guy was striking out a ton of guys tonight...

have fun pointing buddy...us true pirate fans are well aware of how bad they are...doesn't mean we'll stop rooting or following them anytime soon...so perhaps you should give up trying to convince us "morons"...now go root on your rapist quarterback dicknose

Koz said...

When Strasburg was announced to debut against the Bucs, I asked in these comments what the record was for Ks in a debut. Well, I think he came within 1 of that record. If we weren't in the uber conservative pitch count era, I'm sure he would have obliterated that too. He was showing no signs of slowing down.

Excited to watch Strasburg for years to come.

BurressWithButterflyWings said...

@KOZ,

I agree, he is exciting to watch no doubt. I enjoy watching a pitcher who is that dominant get his stuff working.

I thought that Wehner and Neverett were acting like 5 year olds last night trying to minimize everything Strasburg did, even at one point noting he lost to Cuba in the 2008 Olympics as a signal he isn't that great. I am upset we weren't able to see Wehner when Young hit the HR, because I am almost certain he had tongue out and thumbs in his ears saying " NA-NA-NA-NA-NA-NA!".

So Bush League, but they are a part of the Pirates organization, so I wouldn't expect much less.

The Angry Fan said...

Tim Neverett is turrible!

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Ummm... I think we all know the Pirates suck Bubbler, so who the f--- are the morons that you're referring to who apparently have delusions of Pirate grandeur?

Does the fact that we merely DISCUSS the Pirates mean that we think we're good or something? And why is the word "franchise" in quotations? They're definitely a franchise. They paid money to be in the league and everything!! You're making no sense.

Just because they Pirates are the only Major League team that we care about, it doesn't mean we think they're playoff bound or something genius.

And I like how you disparage Andrew McCutchen. Hey, great idea! When illustrating how bad the Pirates are, let's go after the only really good player they have!!


Of course, he's barely been around a year, so I suppose by your logic, all of the pitchers in Major League Baseball should be ashamed of themselves for allowing a mere rookie to hit .300 against them in the last 365 days.

78Deville said...

Keep drinking the kool-aid.

17 seasons of 5-year plans, new managers, new owners, give-aways, fireworks nights, perogie races, et al haven't improved this franchise at all. Unless MLB & the union changes the salary structure, the Pirates are never going to field a winner.

Scott said...

@78Deville:

Should you be held accountable for the crappy job done by the guy who held your position before you? The current regime doesn't get a free pass, but they are NOT to blame for what happened before them.

Get upset all you want. Blame who you want. But if you blame people for sh*t they didn't do, you're just another f*cking idiot Pittsburgher who will gladly jump on the bandwagon when thing go well.

Remember when the Steelers sucked for most of the 80s? Did you scream for Noll to be fired and the Rooneys to sell? No. Because you're a slime bandwagon fan. Go drive out to Latrobe and get in line to masturbate to Roethlisberger throwing a football.

The Mad Bubbler said...

@MikeBenjamin: Well first off, for the record I think Rapistberger is a slime bag too, and I don't root for him at all. That being said, I don't think that "true Pirate fans" is the correct term. Maybe "delusional Pirate fans". Let's say I have a friend that I've known for years, and all of a sudden he starts sleeping with every girlfriend I get. If I quit talking to him have I "jumped off the bandwagon"? Does continuing to be his friend make me a "true friend"? No, it just makes me a shmuck with no stomach to stand up for myself. The owners constantly f*** over their fans, and they keep coming back.

@LouisLipps: No sorry, all of you do not think they suck (Adam, Nate), and they are more of a business than a franchise.

@Scott: You do realize that Bob Nutting has been Chairman Of the Board since 2003. I repeat, 2003. He had no problem sitting back and watching the team trade off expensive players year after year, while collceting his paycheck. But all of a sudden, when he's the face of the ownership, he starts to spend a little money, keyword LITTLE. I love how Succos fans say "hey ownership drafted Pedro Alvarez and gave him $6 million!". Wow, $6 million. Out of $80 million MLB gave you. Stop the presses. That's like saying if I found $80 on the street and I bought you a beer I deserve some kind of reward. You're SUPPOSED to draft the best player available (as long as you need that position I mean), you're SUPPOSED TO pay him for what he's worth. If you don't think Nutting has wielded most of the power for the past 7 years then you really don't understand how a business structure works.

Scott said...

Bubbler,

You assume the Pirates start with ZERO debt at the start of the FY.

How do they pay the staff? The stadium employees?

Do you know what operating expenses are?

Something tells me your business knowledge doesn't go beyond being 32 and working at 7-11.

The Mad Bubbler said...

Scott, well first off it looks like you accepted the fact that Nutting has had his hands soiled in this sham of an operation for longer than you thought. That being said, NOBODY knows what their operating expenses are, cause those crooks have their books closed. Open them up and we'll know the truth. Usually in life when you don't want someone to know something, you just refuse to disclose it. You hide it.
That $80 million is only what they get from MLB too, lord knows how much they get from idiots going to their games, spending $8 on beer, printing someone's picture on a 75 cent Hanes blank tshirt and claiming it's a promotion and charging people extra for tickets. "How do they pay the staff?"...??? Yeah I'm sure it costs a lot of money to pay some North Side resident to serve people 2 day old hot dogs. I won't even discuss the FREE stadium they got.

I don't understand how Bernie Madhoff is in jail and Bob Nutting is walking free...

Scott said...

This is a free market - we can't just force private companies to make their private records suddenly public. Obviously, you don't believe in the principles of the United States of America.

The $80M is based on speculation. Forbes and others don't know what goes on or what the finances are like.

Also, who built the Mellon Arena? Who built Heinz Field? Hell - who built the Peterson Events Center? Oh yeah, convenient for you to leave those out.

Hell, we paid for US Airways to have a shiny new center and we can't force them to open their books after they jumped ship. Learn about law before you want to force your Stalinist oversight on private business.

78Deville said...

@Scott:

That's a lot of anger, dude. Did I blame the current ownership? Did I even bring them up? The problem, as I see it, has to do with the inequitble sharing of resources within Major League Baseball, and I think I stated that pretty clearly. Seriously, though, are you related to one of the Nuttings or something? That was pretty freaking harsh. I soured on baseball looooooong before any of these guys were here.

The Mad Bubbler said...

Ha, wow he is pretty angry. Funny. That's usually what happens when people lose arguments, they resort to name calling and false accusations. In this case, I supposedly hate the USA and support Stalin. Anyway there was only one part of your last post that wasn't incoherent rambling, and that was "the $80 million is based on speculation". Well here's some links you can read, actually I'll just highlight the important parts since you're too lazy to look at facts:


"If you live in Pittsburgh or South Florida, you've probably gotten so used to blaming The System for all your team's problems, there's an excellent chance you never noticed something every fan of these two "small-market" operations should know:

Your team collected more money this season -- before it ever sold one ticket -- than it spent on its entire major league payroll. In fact, it collected more than it spent on its major league payroll and its player-development system combined.
" (from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings091119)

Or "The Pirates received $35 million in revenue sharing, and an additional $45 million due to the MLB central fund and local media."

Right, speculation. If that's speculation then the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl is purely speculation too.

Lawrence said...

You guys look at it all wrong. I used to too until I realized that I'm 22 years old and I have no memory of a winning baseball team. So, if you can't root for them (Believe me, I've tried), make fun of them!

That's what I do and I'm a happier man for it. I mean, if the team moved or folded, I wouldn't shed a tear. So, while they're around and with absolutely NO expectations of success for the future, I say hell with it.

I make fun of them. Screw 'em. They suck and something tells me they always will.

Nate said...

When did I ever say that the Pirates didn't suck?

This current group of Pirates clearly sucks. Outside of McCutchen and maybe Walker, Tabata and Lincoln (too early to tell), I don't think there's a single player that you can confidently build a winning team around.

There's a difference between refusing to recognize the reality of the current team and refusing to recognize the reality that there are legitimate prospects coming up through the system right now. The key word there is "legitimate" - this isn't Bryan Bullington or Zach Duke, these are real guys who have been ranked among the best prospects in all of baseball by independent publications.

I'm not ready to crown them champions or anything, but I also think it's foolhardy to say "this team will never compete while Nutting is the owner."

nuthinhere said...

I live in DC now and the way they are carrying on about Strasburg's pitching performance is getting annoying. I tell anybody who will listen that the Pirates are a faux MLB team. We'll see how good Strasburg is when he pitches against real competition not a AAA team masquarading as a MLB franchise.

Scott said...

Anybody who thinks Strasburg wouldn't have had a comparable debut against any other NL team doesn't know baseball, especially pitching. His fastball is nice, but that curveball is incredible. There is nothing like it in baseball.

Even with a terrible team BA, the Pirates are middle of the NL in striking out. They are currently 8th out of 16 teams. The team with the least amount of strikeouts? The Astros. Even against the hardest team to strike out, I saw Strasburg gets 12. He's a Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood or Mark Prior kid who will average a ton of strikeouts and hopefully he lasts as long as Johnson.