Chicago (31-34) at Washington (31-36)

Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Jun 18, 2010
  • TV: CSN, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Stephen Strasburg(notes) is doing all he can to focus on pitching while trying to deal with his early major league success.

Looking for a third win in as many starts, Washington’s rookie phenom looks to help the Nationals avoid a fourth straight loss when they host the surging Chicago White Sox on Friday night.

Strasburg (2-0, 2.19 ERA) has lived up to the hype that preceded his debut last week. He struck out 22 in 12 1-3 innings against Pittsburgh and Cleveland to earn NL player of the week honors.

“It’s pretty obvious that his stuff is off the charts,” Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.

Strasburg, who turns 22 next month, gave the Hall of Fame a hat and ball from his first game, which drew more than 40,000 to Nationals Park on June 8. Amid the media frenzy that has surrounded his brief career, the right-hander is working to keep things in perspective and help a franchise that hasn’t had a winning record since moving to Washington in 2005.

The Nationals (31-36) have lost five of six after being swept at Detroit this week.

“I’m just trying to go with the flow and experience things as they come,” Strasburg said. “I’m not the face of this franchise. I feel like nobody in this organization expects me to be the guy to turn this franchise around.

“I’m just trying to be a good teammate and try to go out there and be an impact player.”

After dominating the lowly Pirates in his debut, he allowed a run and two hits while walking five and striking out eight in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-4 win at Cleveland on Sunday.

Strasburg could be in for a tougher test against the White Sox (31-34), who have outscored opponents 48-20 while winning seven of eight.

“(Are we) excited to face him? No. But I think he’s a good pitcher,” manager Ozzie Guillen told the White Sox’s official website.

Coming off a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh, Chicago faces the Nationals for the first time since the move to Washington. The White Sox, 7-2 in interleague play this season, have won 23 of 31 against NL opponents.

Chicago’s Carlos Quentin(notes) is batting .213, but went 4 for 8 with three doubles in his last two games. The right fielder, who had two hits and an RBI in a 5-4 win over the Pirates on Thursday, is 5 for 14 versus Washington.

With scheduled starter Jake Peavy(notes) pushed to Saturday because of a sore shoulder, the White Sox will turn to Gavin Floyd(notes) (2-7, 5.64) to oppose Strasburg.

“It’s the last thing you need to worry about, is the opposing pitcher,” said Floyd, 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last two starts. “You’re facing their lineup, not the opposing pitcher.”

Floyd is coming off a dominant performance of his own, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning before finishing with a three-hitter in a 1-0 loss to the Cubs on Sunday.

The right-hander is 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in nine interleague starts, but 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against Washington. Both outings came with Philadelphia.

Adam Dunn(notes) is 2 for 2 with a double and home run off Floyd. He hit his 16th homer in an 8-3 loss at Detroit on Thursday, and has gone 13 for 33 with six homers and 10 RBIs in his last nine games.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Floyd Cle vs. S. Strasburg Was
10-13 Record 5-3
4.08 ERA 2.91
151 K 92
58 BB 17
1.37 WHIP 1.07

Scoreboard

Friday, Jun 18