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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

March 2, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Stephen Strasburg, 102 mph

strasburg.jpg

Remember that stirring three-game sweep of the Oakland A’s in Seattle to end last season? You know, the one that ensured the Mariners would break the magical 60-win barrier, and salvage the season?

Yeah, that one. The one that cost Seattle the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. The Washington Nationals fell to the occasion by losing nine of their final 10 games, including the last four, to finish at 59-102, 1 1/2 games worse than the Mariners.

Give the M’s credit for integrity, and fighting until the end. But the cost, as we all know, was first crack at the San Diego State phenom, Stephen Strasburg. Which brings me to the point of this post, an article I just ran across from last Friday’s San Diego Union-Tribune. Strasburg, in an early-season game against Nevada, was clocked at 102 mph — seven times! He struck out 16 in 6 2/3 innings.

Here’s a quote from San Diego State’s coach, a dude by the name of Tony Gwynn: “He was throwing good, in rhythm. The ball was down. He’s pitching. You can’t ask for any more than that.”

Will the Mariners still get a crack at Strasburg with the No. 2 pick? I highly doubt it. The Nationals can’t afford another public-relations hit, with their organization in disarray after last year’s horrific season, and the Jim Bowden fiasco, all on top of losing out on their No. 1 pick last year, Aaron Crow (No. 9 overall) because of a contract dispute. If Strasburg remains healthy, I’m willing to bet it’s a mortal lock that the Nationals grab him.

(Associated Press photo)

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