Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Pirates Aren't Intimidated By Stephen Strasburg, Are Also Delusional

Tonight, Washington Nationals wunderkind (and member of 525 Scott Richmond) Stephen Strasburg will make his long-anticipated major-league debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Most expect him to make mincemeat out of the Quad-A caliber Pirates lineup, much like he carved up the minor leagues on the road to The Show.

As one also might expect, the Pirates aren't totally cool with everyone saying that some 21 year old kid is going to ruin their shit, and are attempting to downplay the significance of the game, saying that he's just like any other pitcher they've faced, that they've faced a lot of good pitchers, yadda yadda yadda.

But Pirates OF and ex-Nat Lastings Milledge predictably took things too far: (emphasis mine)
"We know he’s going to bring it, but he’s got nine tough guys to get out, so we’re going to battle. He’s got to face nine of the best hitters in the world."
NINE of the best hitters in the world? You guys don't even have ONE of the best hitters in the world!

The Pirates are hitting .237, tied for worst in the National League, and have scored 187 runs, which is second-worst in all of baseball, one more than the last-place Baltimore Orioles.

Pitchers generally have the advantage over hitters who've never faced them before, so you'd think Pittsburgh would be preparing a little bit. Nope. They might not even watch tape of his minor league starts.

“We’ll probably just treat him like we treat everybody,” Milledge said. “We’ll kind of see what he’s got as we go.”

Yeah, good luck with that.

UPDATE: "What he's got" is absolutely filthy. Strasburg punched out 14 Pirates through 7 innings, didn't walk a batter and made one quasi-mistake (Delwyn Young golfed a low changeup into the first row of right field).

Assuming he can avoid injury (and after witnessing that performance, you really hope he can), this kid is going to be special.

Next victim: the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

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