The Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg Era, AFL Start No. 3.

Stephen Strasburg, (1-1, 10.50 ERA) who was hit hard in his last AFL outing, allowing 7 hits, 8 runs, (7 ER), and 3 HR's by the Peoria Javelinas, will be back on the mound this afternoon at 3:35 pm EST in Phoenix Municipal Stadium to take on the Surprise Rafters, who'll throw (according to MLB's AFL Notes pdf) Texas Rangers' pitching prospect Danny Gutierrez, (a Kansas City Royals' '06 33rd Round pick who was traded to Texas last September). After his last start, Strasburg told MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom in an article entitled, "Strasburg takes loss in second AFL start", that he felt good on the mound in spite of his struggles:

"'I left some pitches up, and I know what I need to fix. Part of getting back into game shape is, you're going to have some good games and some bad ones. It's all about learning from it, and I feel I learned a lot from this outing.'"

Washington Times' writer Mark Zuckerman wrote yesterday, in an Chatter post entitled, "Live from the AZ Fall League", that he'll be live in Arizona to report on the game, so check there for what he promises will be, "...live first-hand impressions of Strasburg's outing," and if you haven't already signed up to receive Twitter updates from the Washington Times' writers, you can do so HERE, then check back later this afternoon for some second-hand impressions, though if I remember correctly, MLB Gameday does not have Pitch F/X going live in Phoenix's park, so it won't be as fun as last time...Go Strasburg Go!!! (But no pressure, kid! We're totally not going to obsess over every pitch...and I say this only cause there's already a "just let the kid pitch" faction developing amongst the Nationals' fanbase who see the excessive coverage as detrimental to the 21-year-old right-hander's development...Do they have a point? Or does it come with the territory for the highest paid No.1 pick in MLB history?)

• MLB.com Scoreboard and Gameday for today's Game.

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