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Game 59: Pirates at Nats

Jun 8, 2010, 10:38 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
A standing-room only crowd files into Nationals Park.

After all the hype, the anticipation, the circus-like atmosphere, the moment has finally arrived.

As I type this, Stephen Strasburg is playing catch in right field. He'll be heading into the bullpen shortly to begin his full warm-ups. And then we're off and running, and Strasburg is no longer about hype but actual, on-field results in the major leagues.

This stadium has been buzzing since mid-afternoon. The press box is packed to the gills. The entryway to the center-field gates is backed up onto Half Street. Clint is interviewing Ken Burns on the Jumbotron. What has this world come to?

All I can say is, enjoy this for what it is: A once-in-a-lifetime event, taking place right here in our town and in our ballpark. I don't know how it's all going to end up by night's end, but I think one way or the other, we'll be talking about this one for years to come.

Check back for updates throughout, and if you're awake early tomorrow morning, be sure to tune in to ESPN 980. I'll be co-hosting a two-hour, post-Strasburg special show with Andy Pollin from 6-8 a.m. (assuming I can stay awake). Should be fun…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2-HD, MLB Network (outside D.C./Pittsburgh)
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 77 degrees, Wind 8 mph LF to RF

2B Cristian Guzman
CF Nyjer Morgan
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn

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  1. waddu eye no - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:05 PM

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!(i'm too old to be this silly, but so what)

  2. Uncle Atom - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Yea baby, bye bye Lastings! First ML strikeout for Big Train 2.o, that's sweet!!!

  3. Smatt1001 - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    My thoughts exactly Atom

  4. HabsProf - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:12 PM

    Were either of the first two outs hard hit balls? I'm thinking in particular of McCutchen's lineout.

  5. Smatt1001 - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    And a Zimmerman homer to follow it up.

  6. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:15 PM

    That second pitch to Milledge was the slurve that Mark referred to, I take it?

  7. Janner33 - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    @HabsProf… McCuthen's lineout was pretty well smoked, but right at Desmond. The second out was to Dunn

  8. HabsProf - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    He fell behind the first hitter this inning, but he's been ahead on the count ever since.

  9. Nats fan in NJ - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Have I died and gone to heaven?

  10. Uncle Atom - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    Six Ks already!

  11. HabsProf - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    I've heard so much about the kid's breaking stuff, but the reality is sooooo much more. Filthy. Truly, truly filthy. For all the well-justified hype about the speed, movement, and control he has with his 2- and 4-seamers, his curve is his best pitch.

  12. Sacramento - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    It's like he's still pitching in AAA. Oh wait, they're playing the Pirates…

  13. LoveDaNats - Jun 8, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    And I think the boos were for the umps,

  14. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    That last pitch (striking out Karstens). . . it said 101 on the little scoreboard thing on TV, but 99 on . . .

  15. Smatt1001 - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    And we're up to 10 k's. Let's get some offense behind this

  16. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    Just goes to show – it doesn't matter how many hits you get, it only matters how you string them together.

  17. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:34 AM

    If the Nats can either tie it or take the lead, Strasburg's day is over.

  18. Smatt1001 - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    And there go the bats. HR's from 3-4-5 in the lineup.

  19. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    And just after I post, Dunn homers. I think you keep SS on the bench so he has a clear shot at his first win. They never wanted him to go beyond 85 pitches anyway. If they send him out, Mark is right – it is for just one batter.

  20. Uncle Atom - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Dunn and The Hamma, B2B!! Seems like it's been a month since Dunn had an RBI

  21. Nats fan in NJ - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    Ok, am I the only one freaked out by what just happened on MLB TV?

  22. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    Finally! 3-4-5 all hitting in the same game . . . And, hey, was that a professional bit of hitting or what? When Pudge slung his bat out in the hit-and-run?

  23. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Well, with at least a two run lead, I guess they will send him out for more. I still doubt he gets the entire inning unless he gets a couple of 1 or 2 pitch outs. I don't believe he ever threw 90 pitches in the minors, so why would they let him start now? Later in the season, yeah, but not now.

  24. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    Did anybody else notice that when DeYoung hit that homer to right, that a fan threw the ball back onto the field? Awesome.I wish Rob or Bob had noticed and said something about it.

  25. swang - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    I think Riggs sent him out there so he can face Young again. Get back on the horse, so to speak.

  26. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:50 AM

    @A DC Wonk: The MLB TV broadcast did mention that the Nats fans "rejected" the homer ball. At least one network noticed.

  27. Uncle Atom - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:51 AM

    They've all whiffed now!!

  28. Anonymous - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:53 AM


  29. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Despite all their pronouncements in advance about how he was on a strict pitch count, the Nats let him go the entire inning. I'm amazed (and I enjoyed watching the K's).It seems that Nats management has succumbed to SS-mania like the rest of us.

  30. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Holy moley!! He's never gone this far in the majors, and what does he do? Strike out the last two guys on six pitches! 14K'd in 7 inn! Wow.

  31. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 12:57 AM

    @HabsProf "@A DC Wonk: The MLB TV broadcast did mention that the Nats fans "rejected" the homer ball. At least one network noticed."Hmmm . . . are you saying Bob Costas is better than the guys we have on MASN?As far as pitch count, he threw 94 pitches . . . I think that's fine. Folks thought they would let him pitch more and get into the 90'sWouldn't it be nice if Storen pitched two innings of shutout ball?

  32. Uncle Atom - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    So does Riggs put Capps in for the ninth, or someone else? Why not put Storen out there tonight?

  33. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:14 AM

    So do they let Clip go another, put in Storen, or bring on Capps?@A DC Wonk: I personally didn't mind the 94 pitch count – its just that it is contrary to what they indicated before the game. Did they get swept away like the rest of us?

  34. dj in Fl. - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    The critical stat… no base on ballsHow many games have we lost because of the leadoff walk in an inning.What an exhibition!

  35. Dave - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:19 AM

    Quote of the night. . . Carp said "I think the radar gun read tilt"Also amazing to hear how excited the guys are in the booth.

  36. waddu eye no - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:22 AM


  37. Uncle Atom - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    Strasburgcalifragilsticexpealedocious! We'll take that curly W, time for a pie in the face!!!

  38. swang - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:27 AM

    Ah, Mark,I think you blanked out the bottom of the 8th. Were you taking pictures?

  39. HabsProf - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Mark: Methinks you are a little overwhelmed by The Debut – the Nats win 5-2, not 4-2. ;-)Nice to see Capps back on track.

  40. alexva - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    any chance he's ready to go again tomorrow

  41. Smatt1001 - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:32 AM

    What a great debut game. I'm glad the offense showed up.

  42. Jim Webster - Jun 9, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    I've seen a bit of baseball over the years (I was sports editor of the college paper when Bob Gibson pitched at Creighton in the 1950s) so I've tried all along to keep some sense of balance. Even watched SS give up 2 homers to Cardinals minor leaguers in Viera in March. But I gotta say tonight lived up to the hype. Nothing like it in the world. Finally, after 5 years, baseball is really back in Washington. Sorry, Redskins.

  43. A DC Wonk - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    @HabsProf — I could be wrong, but I thought I had heard Rizzo, or somebody, say that they were going to stretch him further when he got to the bigs — and Dibble also mentioned that he'd go 90 or so pitches.I noted: after the home run, he struck out 8 of the next 10 guys. Wow.And, as someone else mentioned: no walks!I told my wife that the first pitch would be a curve. I was wrong. But I just heard that Pudge said he also wanted the first pitch to be a curve, but Stras wanted a fastball.

  44. dj in Fl. - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:06 AM

    amen Jim

  45. JayB - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:17 AM

    Now that was a fun night at the ball park!

  46. Mike - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    Mark, you cheated the Nats out of a run. The final score was 5 to 2.

  47. Tony D - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    JayB tells the truth – GREAT NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK!!!

  48. Dryw - Jun 9, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    Insanely great night at the ballpark! Mark, you're right, that one could not have been better had it been scripted!! Wow. Just wow.

  49. nats rising - Jun 9, 2010 at 3:33 AM

    The start of a new nats tradition tonight – each time Strasburg gets to two strikes the entire stadium is up on its feet. Haven't had that much fun at a dc sports event since the 'skins "we want dallas' game.

  50. meixler - Jun 9, 2010 at 4:36 AM

    I couldn't help but laugh with every strikeout. That was great!

  51. Anonymous - Jun 9, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    You guys have alaready said it: stunning.





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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