READING – Aces were wild last night in Reading as Baseballtown was treated to a spectacular night of pitching as Harrisburg swept Reading in a doubleheader.
In the first game Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge electrified the crowd with a solid performance for Reading, and America's best pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg was as close to perfection as a pitcher could be as the Harrisburg Senators downed the Phillies 1-0
Lidge, on the disabled list for off-season elbow and knee surgeries, came on in relief of starter Michael Sisco in the sixth to pitch the final two innings of the seven-inning game.
Lidge struck out the first four batters he faced and pitched to the minimum in his two innings of work.
"It's good to work two innings," Lidge said. "It fine tunes location and allows me to work on a lot of pitches. It felt real good being able to throw my slider in or out."
Lidge was also sharp last week with scoreless innings in Lehigh Valley and Reading and is hoping to be activated when the Phillies return home on Friday.
"After tonight, I feel ready," Lidge said. "Knowing where I am at velocity wise and command wise, I am pretty much ready to go."
Strasburg, last year's number pick in the amateur draft, made his fourth start and his second against Reading in a week. All the 6-4 right-hander did was no-hit the R-Phils through five innings, walking none and striking out six.
"I thought it was great to face the same lineup again," Strasburg said. "A lot of hitters are going to have a plan after seeing you the first time and it was good to see that I was able to keep them off balance."
It seemed as if Strasburg might pitch five perfect innings when he struck out Reading's Michael Spidale for the second out of the fifth but the ball got away from catcher Sean Rooney allowing Spidale to reach on the passed ball.
Strasburg was able to stay out of danger, no-hitting Reading through five innigns on just 64 pitches (42 for strikes). The performance was enough to leave an impression on Lidge.
"I think if he is able to effectively pitch to major league hitters, he's going to be really tough," Lidge said. "He has command of a change up and a curve ball. It's not very often that you see a guy throw that hard with that kind of command."
Strasburg has lived up to the hype as a can't-miss-prospect thus far. In just over 17 innings of work this season he is 3-0 with a miniscule ERA of 0.52 and a 23/3 strikeout to walk ratio.
Baseball America's No. 1 Phillies prospect Domonic Brown was no match for Strasburg. In the fourth inning, a two-strike curve ball fooled Brown into a terrible swing to end the inning.