What to watch: Stephen Strasburg takes show on the road to Cleveland
Seth Livingstone and Mike Dodd,
June 13, 2010
Stephen Strasburg is expected to draw a huge crowd to Cleveland today for his second career start.
Strasburg set a franchise record in his debut on Tuesday with 14 strikeouts in seven innings for the Nationals. That came in front of a full house of more than 40,000 in Washington.
Since then, Strasburg has appeared with David Letterman, had at least one hamburger named in his honor and sold tickets.
Since June 2, when Strasburg's pitching schedule showed he'd probably start here today, the Indians have sold about 10,000 tickets for the game. They expect a crowd of between 30,000 - 35,000, which will be their largest since their opening day sellout. TBS has picked up the game for its national telecast today
Yes, Strasburg-mania remains in full effect.
According to Christian Anderson of FanSnap.com, ticket listings on line for Sunday's game more than doubled since average ticket prices hit a high of $75.84 earlier in the week. With many sellers looking to cash in, the average asking price was down to $51.75 on Friday. But Anderson expected prices to rise again. "Given the demand to see Strasburg, it is likely the lower ticket prices are temporary due to the flood of supply," Anderson said.
Washington manager Jim Riggleman says a big crowd could help both teams."Players feed off those big crowds," he said. "Quite often, you get a better brand of baseball when you get more people at the games."
Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. was impressed with Strasburg's debut based on what he saw on TV. But he's not about to get carried away. "His stuff is the real deal," Alomar said, "but let's not make this Elvis coming back from the dead."
Cleveland DH Travis Hafner wants to see Strasburg first-hand before rendering judgment. "You want to see what he's got and take a few hacks against him," Hafner said.
Strasburg's mound opponent will be David Huff (2-7, 5.46). Game time is 1:05 ET, but the start could also be delayed or interrupted by rain, as isolated thunderstorms are in the forecast for early afternoon.
The Indians' offense is near the bottom of the American League this year, but they're on a mini-roll, scoring 33 runs in their last four games.
"They're really swinging the bats. This is going to be a tough challenge (today)," Riggleman said after Saturday's 7-1 loss to Cleveland. "They've got a little momentum going, their lineup is flowing. They've got some professional hitters over there."
The Indians, by the way, have a young phenom of their own debuting this weekend. Catcher Carlos Santana, the Tribe's No. 1 prospect, was recalled Friday and immediately inserted in the lineup in the No. 3 hole. After taking an 0-for-3 Friday, he doubled and homered on Saturday, knocking in three runs. Santana was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2008 Casey Blake trade...