Nationals’ staff unanimously votes to shut down Strasburg
WASHINGTON – Stephen Strasburg’s season is over after the Washington Nationals decided to shut down the ace right-hander after a shaky start against the Miami Marlins.
Manager Davey Johnson made the announcement Saturday morning, citing the effect of the media attention surrounding the impending shutdown on the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft.
The NL East-leading Nationals had said Wednesday’s start at the New York Mets likely would be his final appearance of the season. John Lannan will make that start and remain in the starting rotation.
Johnson said the decision was his, and pitching coach Steve McCatty and general manager Mike Rizzo were in agreement.
Strasburg allowed five runs and matched his career low by lasting only three innings in the Nationals’ 9-7, 10-inning loss to the Marlins on Friday night. Strasburg went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in his first full season after elbow-ligament replacement surgery Sept. 3, 2010. He struck out 197 in 159 1/3 innings.
Bowyer wins in the rain; Gordon unseats Busch
RICHMOND, Va. – Clint Bowyer won the rain-delayed race at Richmond, and Jeff Gordon drove his way into the title picture by grabbing the last wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship.
Bowyer came back from a mid-race spin to pick up his second win of the season. The Saturday night victory gave the Michael Waltrip Racing driver another three bonus points to take into the Chase.
But the night belonged to Gordon, who struggled most of the race but pulled off a big-time rally to beat Kyle Busch by three points for the final spot in the 12-driver Chase field.
The completion of the race changed dramatically after the third and final rain delay. Busch had a firm grasp on the wild-card spot until that last shower.
Contador all but crowned champion after 20 stages
MADRID – Alberto Contador kept the overall leader’s red jersey and is closing in on his second Spanish Vuelta title after Denis Menchov won Saturday’s punishing 20th stage.
Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez, Contador’s closest pursuers in the general classification, finished ahead of the Spanish leader, but the difference wasn’t enough to close the gap.
Contador finished 4 minutes, 15 seconds behind Menchov to run his overall time to 82:14:52, which was 1:16 quicker than Valverde and 1:37 ahead of Rodriguez before today’s final stage, a largely processional 71-mile ride into Madrid.
Contador is on the verge of a fifth major victory to go with a pair of Tour de France titles and the 2008 Giro d’Italia, which he won before his first Vuelta victory later that same year.
Lefty ties Singh at the top; stiff competition to follow
CARMEL, Ind. – Phil Mickelson made 10 birdies in his round of 8-under 64 and wound up tied for the lead Saturday at the BMW Championship when Vijay Singh three-putted his final hole.
Mickelson and Singh, both in the World Golf Hall of Fame, still have to fight off perhaps the strongest leaderboard in golf all year.
PGA champion Rory McIlroy birdied his last hole for a 69 and joined former world No. 1 Lee Westwood (68) at one shot behind.
Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott were among those another shot back, with Tiger Woods lurking just three shots out of the lead after a 71.
The top 11 players on the leaderboard have combined to win 25 major championships, setting up what should be a wild round today at Crooked Stick.