ALTOONA, PA - APRIL 11: Stephen Strasburg #37 of the Harrisburg Senators talks with members of the media during a press conference following their win against the Altoona Curve in his minor league debut on April 11, 2010 at Blair County Ballpark in Altoona, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Will tonight be the last time Stephen Strasburg is caught schlepping around a baseball diamond while wearing a Triple-A uniform? Some of his biggest fans -- in San Diego -- hope so.
Strasburg will put his 21 1/3 scoreless inning streak on the line when he starts tonight's game for the Syracuse Chiefs(!) against the Toledo Mud Hens. And that could be all she wrote for "Jesus" in the minors.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Strasburg will be called up to the Nationals to start the team's June 4 home game against Cincinnati.
But if he dominates yet again in his scheduled start tonight, does it make sense for the Nats to hold him back any longer? He's already proved that he's ready for Major League hitters. His stat line from Triple-A:
3-0, 0.00 ERA, 18.1 IP, 4 H, 22 Ks, 4 BBs
If all goes well tonight and they call him up this week, he could pitch after five days of rest in his hometown of San Diego, where he played college ball for San Diego State. That would be a nice gesture, but it also would take away from the buzz and excitement of him making his Major League debut on home turf at Nats Park.
His fans in San Diego hope the call-up happens sooner than later. In fact, a writer for the San Diego News Network has created an open letter to the Nationals practically begging them to let Jesus pitch this weekend.
While I cannot guarantee a win for Strasburg in his first career start, if it were to come in San Diego I can tell you that he would be cheered for just as if he were playing in his home park. It would be a comfortable landing spot for the young fireballer, and a night that many San Diegans would appreciate for a long time.
So this is the dilemma the Nationals face. Do they delay Strasburg's MLB career one more week in order to appease the home fans, or do they take the reigns off their stud pitcher and let him go a week early?
It's a tough call, but one the Nats are plenty happy to make.