1 In just his first start, Stephen Strasburg (below) gave baseball something it has needed for years, a nationwide drawing card. The Nationals drew a sellout of 40,315 for Strasburg's debut, 24,247 more than their average Tuesday-night crowd. The Indians sold 4,000 tickets for his Sunday start in Cleveland in the first 12 hours after his 14-strikeout game against Pittsburgh. The Hall of Fame asked for his hat and a game ball, and David Letterman asked him to read his Top Ten list.
2 The one time that former Mariner Yuniesky Betancourt happened to be good for Seattle actually helped cost the team a shot at Strasburg. At 59--101, the Mariners held a half-game lead over the Nationals for the worst record in baseball in 2008 and the right to pick Strasburg the next June. But Betancourt started hitting like a young Ken Griffey Jr., going 5 for 7 with two runs and two RBIs to lead Seattle to two meaningless wins over Oakland. The Nationals clinched the Strasburg sweepstakes by losing two games to the Phillies.
3Carlos Pe√±a supplanted Aubrey Huff as Tampa Bay's alltime home run leader by hitting his 129th in a Rays uniform last Thursday. The longest-standing franchise record belongs to the Yankees and Babe Ruth, who hit his last home run for New York in 1934.