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Game Thread: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals - 2008 Game 154 of 162. The Battle For Strasburg Begins.(Updated)


I was reluctant to use a war metaphor in the title in these trying times, and wary of appearing to advocate losing in noting that this series, between the NL West's 5th Place San Diego Padres (58-95) and the NL East's last place Washington Nationals (58-95) could possibly decide who ends up with the first overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, and the opportunity to try to work out a deal with super agent Scott Boras and the projected #1 overall pick in '09, 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who finished the '08 season for the San Diego State Aztecs with an (8-3) record and a 1.57 ERA in 13 starts and 97.1 IP, in which he allowed 61 hits, 17 ER's, 16 walks and 1 HR, while striking out 166. (ed. note - "Though the Seattle Mariners recent 1-9 streak has them FirstWorst Overall at the moment, which could render all the SD/DC#1 pick discussion moot.")

In an 8/14/08 profile by Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin entitled, "Even Without a Gold Medal, Strasburg Could Be No. 1", after Strasburg returned from competing for the US Olympic team in the '08 Olympic Games, Mr. Sheining quotes Baseball America's Jim Callis, who cautiously predicts:

"'A lot obviously can change in the next 10 months, but Strasburg is the clear front-runner to go number one overall,' said Jim Callis, executive editor of Baseball America, which focuses heavily on amateur baseball and the draft. 'He's the most consistently dominant college starter since Jered Weaver [who came out of Long Beach State in 2004], and his stuff is a lot better than Weaver's.'"

Elsewhere in the article, Mr. Sheinin refers to Strasburg's April 11th '08 start against Utah, in which Strasburg threw a complete game, 1-hitter, in a 1-0 Aztecs' win, in which he allowed just one walk while striking out 23 Utah batters, prompting San Diego State pitching coach Rusty Filter to proclaim:

"'I've never seen anything like it,' Filter said. 'The next game, I think he struck out 13 or 14 and we were like, 'What's wrong with you?'"

(ed. note - "Lest you think we here at are the only folks obsessed with Strasburg, check out the video that the SBN's Padres' blog Gaslamp Ball posted a few months back...'Stephen Strasburg 23 K Video HiLights' takes a minute to load, but wait, it's worth it...")

On The Hill...San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals...

Jake Peavy - (9-11, 2.77 ERA) vs Collin Balester - (3-6, 4.54 ERA)

In 2005, the then-24-year-old Padres' right-hander Jake Peavy was (13-7) with a 2.88 ERA in 30 starts...the following season, Peavy finished (11-14). In '07, the former 15th Round pick in 1999 was (19-6) with a 2.54 ERA in 34 starts and he's followed that Cy Young Award-winning season with a (9-11) '08 campaign in which he's posted a 2.77 ERA in 26 starts.

Peavy's faced the DC franchise 9 times as a starter since his MLB debut on June, 22, 2002, with a (2-4) record and a 4.18 ERA against the Nationals, having allowed 60 hits, 26 ER's, 5 HR's and 15 walks while recording 58 K's in 56.0 innings pitched. Peavy's yet to face Washington in 2008. In two starts last season, Peavy was (0-1) with 16 hits, 6 runs and 3 walks allowed, 17 K's collected and a 3.86 ERA against the Nationals.

While Peavy will be making the 199th start of his 7-year MLB career,

According to a report from's Corey Block entitled, "Peavey to miss start, witness birth of son", San Diego has replaced Jake Peavey tonight with Dirk Hayhurst (0-2), 8.49 ERA, who will be making the third start and seventh appearance with the Padres since his MLB debut on August 23rd in San Francisco.

(ed. note - "Sure, a last-minute rookie replacement? I guess the Padres are gonna try to throw this and go for the #1 overall pick, huh? Just kidding, best of luck to the Peavy's, but all the worst to Hayhurst, Let's Go Nats Go!!")

....(Hayhurst's)...opponent on the mound, DC starter Collin Balester, makes just the 14th start of his major league career since debuting earlier this season on July 1st in Florida. The Montreal Expos' 4th Round pick in 2004, made 94 minor league starts over 5 seasons before his first Major League appearance, in which he allowed just 1 hit and 1 run in 5.0 IP of a winning effort against the Marlins. Balester lost his next three starts before recording the second win of his career, and he dropped three more before winning his third, and he's received no decision in his last three outings, with Washington 2-1 over the same stretch of games.

Balester's walked 27 and K'd 25 in his first 73.1 innings pitched for DC. At home in Nationals Park, the 22-year-old right-hander is (2-3) in 6 starts with a 4.50 ERA in 34.0 IP. So far in '08, the Padres' Peavy is (4-6) in 12 road starts, and the 27-year-old has a bloated 4.20 ERA in 70.2 IP away from San Diego, bloated, that is, when compared to Peavy's 1.74 ERA in 98.0 IP at home in PETCO...

Nationals' #'s Against Jake Peavy...

Aaron Boone - 1 for 5, .200 AVG, 1 HR, 1 RBI.

Kory Casto - 1 for 3, .333 AVG, 1 2B, 1 RBI.

Cristian Guzman - 6 for 14, .429 AVG, 1 2B, 2 RBI's.

Ryan Langerhans - 2 for 9, .222 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBI's.

Ryan Zimmerman - 3 for 10, .300 AVG, 2 2B, 1 RBI.

The Nationals dropped two of three on the road in San Diego from 5/27-5/29. The 14th Start of the Washington Nationals' Collin Balester era gets underway at 7:35 pm EST in Nationals Park. Balester vs Peavy. According to's Bill Ladson's article entitled, "Dukes playing hurt for Nationals", DC outfielder Elijah Dukes has been playing through the lingering effects of the varlous injuries he's suffered this season. In Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's post at Nationals Journal entitled, "Can Syracuse be a match?", Mr. Harlan reports on the Nationals' talks with the owners of the Syracuse Chiefs about possibly relocating DC's Triple-A affiliate. Here at, wxguy had a Fanpost entitled, "Goodbye Columbus, NATS AAA team", which also commented on DC's minor league situation. Washington vs San Diego...First of three...Who's Watching The Nationals?