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What to expect tonight

Jun 8, 2010, 2:19 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Pitching in Washington won't be anything like pitching in Viera.

Well, the moment has arrived. After a long, arduous journey that featured a whopping 11 starts with two minor-league affiliates and probably one bump in the road somewhere (though it's pretty hard to find one) Stephen Strasburg at last makes his Nationals debut tonight.

And baseball has never seen anything quite like this.

I'm not sure anybody expected this. Sure, there figured to be hype, and there figured to be a buzz around this game. But the hysteria has really reached remarkable levels the last couple days. You can't watch ESPN for more than 10 minutes without some mention of Strasburg. Baseball Tonight is broadcasting live from the ballpark today. When do they ever do that for a regular-season game? MLB Network is sending out the "A" team of Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and John Smoltz to broadcast tonight's game against the Pirates across the country … well, except for the D.C. and Pittsburgh areas. We get Bob and Rob on MASN2.

I think the magnitude of all this finally hit me yesterday, as national media members began arriving at the ballpark to write about the Bryce Harper-Stephen Strasburg back-to-back events. There will be about 200 media members credentialed for tonight's game, and among that pack include reporters from newspapers in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles plus plenty of others. This won't quite compare to the media presence for a World Series, but this is comparable to an LCS. All for one pitcher's big-league debut. Nothing has ever come close to matching this.

Now, of course, the question is how Strasburg will handle all this attention and how he will perform under the brightest of spotlights. So let's run through a few things you should and should not expect outRead more »

  1. Uncle Atom - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    A success would be him not getting hurt and the team getting a curly W.

  2. Brian - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    5.1 ip, 4 h, 2 er, 2 bb, 6 k, 92 pitches

  3. Bowdenball - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Mark, your expectations are higher than mine. I would be absolutely thrilled with that lineI'll say 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 89 pitches. A terrible Pirates team helps him out by swinging early in counts and getting caught stealing once or twice.If he leaves with a lead, I'll be happy. The Nats could sure use a curly W in front of a sellout crowd rooting almost entirely for the home team.

  4. bdrube - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    What Uncle Atom said. The win is the main thing. Anything beyond that is gravy. :)

  5. An Briosca Mor - Jun 8, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    For those keeping score tonight, here's early word on the Pirates lineup:…“We expect it to be electric,” left fielder Lastings Milledge said of the atmosphere. “Are we expecting it to be different than anything else? No. We face good pitchers all across the league. We know he’s going to bring it, but he’s got nine tough guys to get out.”Translation: Milledge isn't starting tonight.

  6. N. Cognito - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    2 ER – that's an easy prediction.How many UNEARNED runs?

  7. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    "MLB Network is sending out the "A" team of Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and John Smoltz to broadcast tonight's game against the Pirates across the country … well, except for the D.C. and Pittsburgh areas. We get Bob and Rob on MASN2."What a disapointment! Costas might very well be the best baseball broadcaster in the business. Crappy and Dribble might very well be the worst!

  8. Corey - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Wait, Baseball Tonight is here for Strasburg? Silly me, I thought they were covering Lastings' return to the District.

  9. Theo - Jun 8, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Will be most interested/gratified by the number of times he strikes out Lastings Milledge.

  10. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Mark said: he will perform under the brightest of spotlights.Wait, when did tonight's game get moved to Yankee Stadium? PS: Can we call it a "Clive" and not a slurve?

  11. K.D. - Jun 8, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    What I would like to see: no errors behind him and a few early runs from the Nats to let him relax. A couple hits from Pudge would be icing on the cake but, other than that I hope he has fun and the Nats win.

  12. Michael J. Hayde - Jun 8, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    Let's hope he doesn't do the "Nats' new ace" thing: plonk his first two batters and get tossed!

  13. JayB - Jun 8, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    I'll be at the game but FIOS does not carry MASN2 HD so really sucks for them.

  14. A DC Wonk - Jun 8, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    I distinctly recall that Strassy said that his adrenaline effected him in his first AA start, and he said something like "it's always like this for me when there's a big 'first'" As a result, he got behind in the count more than he wanted to.(Does anyone else remember that?)So, anyways, that's what I'm nervous about . . .

  15. Sec$39.99 - Jun 8, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    CLIVE!! Perfect!And Strasburg's new nickname!I figure a basic QS should be a fine intro, but for all the national press will try to pump that up into the Marichalosphere, most casual fans watching will shrug. Watching a bunch of groundouts is not riveting, for the average viewer.

  16. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    FIOS doesn't carry MASN2, but I do find most of the MASN2 broadcast NATS games on FIOS channel 1.

  17. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    As long as they get the big curly W, it's a success in my mind. GO NATS!

  18. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    You SHOULD expect… At least one random SS "fan" to turn to another and ask "So, who's this Ryan Zimmerman dude at 3rd base?"

  19. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    Sure, FiOS will carry the game in standard def. on channel 1, but considering FiOS advertises heavily on MASN HD and MASN2 HD, it is totally ridiculous that they provide MASN2 only in standard def.

  20. natsfan1a - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    A QS would be cool, but I don't really have any specific expectations as far as the starting pitching tonight. A curly W in the books would be great.

  21. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    Never fails. The game isn't on in Canada. Huge news in the US and I can't even see the game here.

  22. Special Ed Haraway - Jun 8, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Can't Believe MASN is running this on MASN2 that means anyone who has FIOS won't be able to see on HD,because they are running the Orioles game on MasnHD BOO-O-O-O !!!

  23. dj in Fl. - Jun 8, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    SS only needs to do what good pitchers are supposed, give the team a chance to win.This would be a great night to have a couple of the bats wake up and everyone keep their head in the game so we have error free ball. This is the night they can increase their fan base for the rest of the year, and beyond.

  24. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I totally agree about FIOS and MASN 2. I mean, as far as important games go, with the Orioles completely out of it already this season and the importance of this particular Nats game, you can't tell me MASN couldn't swap the games so that FIOS customers could see the game in HD.

  25. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 94 pitches And a 5-2 win after Capps loads the bases in the ninth and walks one in..

  26. Anonymous - Jun 8, 2010 at 8:47 PM

    MASN2: Mr Angelos Screws the Nationals Squared.

  27. Anonymous - Jun 9, 2010 at 2:09 AM

    Looks Like Stasburg did better exceeded even your expectations, 14 strikeouts and he hit 103 on the gun.





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