Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pitchers dominate live BP

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg faced live hitters today for the first time this spring.
VIERA, Fla. -- It's easy to read too much into spring training performances, especially during this early portion of camp before the games begin. But it was hard not to notice how good several pitchers looked today during the first live batting practice sessions of the year.

Especially Stephen Strasburg.

It's always a treat to watch the big guy take the mound with a real, live batter in the box. Even though these sessions rarely live up the hype because the hitters often just track pitches as they go by and take only a few cursory swing, you can get a pretty good sense of Strasburg's stuff and command when you watch him up close like this.

And how did he look today? Let's ask one of the Nationals who had the opportunity to dig in against him.

"The stuff's nasty, definitely what you want it to be in one of your starters," Tyler Moore said, adding: "Just impressive to see. I'm glad he's on my team."

Strasburg faced four teammates in his live BP session: Moore, Chad Tracy, Roger Bernadina and Chris Snyder. He threw 36 total pitches, 15 of which were greeted with swings. Seven of those swings produced balls that left the batting cage. Five of those landed in fair territory.

Props to Moore, though, for recording the hardest-hit ball of the session: A sharp base hit up the middle.

"Yeah, but he's telling me what's coming," the second-year slugger pointed out.

True enough. Pitchers announce what they're going to throw in advance, so nobody's fooled by a curveball when they expected a fastball, or a changeup when they expected a slider.

Even when he knew what was coming, Moore emerged impressed with Strasburg's overall arsenal, particularly his mid-90s sinker.

"It looked like a lefty's slider, almost," Moore said. "I mean, it was nasty. It was hard and late."

Strasburg, true to form, downplayed the significance of his first mound appearance of the year against live hitters.

"It felt good to be back out there," he said. "Everything's starting to come back."

Among the other pitchers who impressed this morning:

-- Drew Storen, who fired off some tough sliders to Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman (though the last two only tracked pitches, never taking the bat off their shoulder).

-- Ross Detwiler, who recorded one of the morning's few swing-and-misses, getting Moore to flail away at a sinker down and away.

-- Gio Gonzalez, who was his usual boisterous self. Despite strong encouragement from Steve McCatty to wrap up his session after hitting his pre-determined pitch count, Gonzalez insisted on throwing two more pitches (one curveball, one fastball). "I told Cat: 'If the arm's going the arm's going,'" the lefty explained.

28 comments:

SonnyG10 said...

If our pitchers are way ahead of hitters, maybe we jump off to another strong start this year.

MicheleS said...

I am soooo ready for the Fish Fry on April 1.

djinFl. said...

My favorite moment came when Chad Tracy was facing Detwiller. Det blew a pitch past Tracy at the knees. Tracy came around the cage straight to McCatty and appeared to say that was good, then point out the location and roll his eyes with a that is hardly fair look. McCatty just smiled since he had witnessed the pitch.

Tony said...

Expecting Gio to "explain" or "come clean" about his tweets is like asking someone when he stopped beating his wife. If Gio actually did meet Bosch or if he actually did take the legal substances obtained from the clinic, a witness could come forward and state that. But if he indeed has never met Bosch and did not take those substances himself (say, perhaps, because they were for his father) there is absolutely no way he can ever prove that. Innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

SonnyG10 said...

Right on, Tony, but I have given up trying to convince the skeptics.

SCNatsFan said...

This isn't about Gio it's about fans distrust of athletes, well deserved. If Gio was on the Yanks half this board would still think he was guilty.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Finally got some time to put together an album: http://bit.ly/WSzcQp

Museum was great. I wish we had more time. I think to truly enjoy it, one should reserve two days for the museum itself. One day just for second floor that is all about history of the game. Second day for third flood and the gallery.

For fans, even two days may not be enough. Unbelievable place! I would recommend going in off-season, just be prepared for weather.

Candide said...

I realize it's just one photo. but Stras looks bigger above than I remember him from last year. Didn't Bos say he put on something like 15 pounds since his shutdown?

Scooter said...

Faraz, I'd love to see your pictures, but it's telling me I don't have access to that page.

And yes, it's good to spread out one's visit, if one can. I'm sure you were glad for what you had, though.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I have no idea what is going on. Any insider tips on how to share?

Gonat said...

The Reds vetoed Cueto's request to pitch in the WBC. Under the current CBA, the teams can't veto unless the player finished the season on the DL which I guess Cueto did.

sjm308 said...

MicheleS: from your last post. Make sure you bubble wrap the J.Walker blue that you are bringing Adam and Davey. If there is any left, we can share on April 1st!! (ha, ha). Seriously you and Scooter and all the others have fun!!

sjm308 said...

Faraz: I am just glad you had a great time and I agree that off-season is the way to go. The colors two years ago were spectacular in Oct. Of course Oct. from now on will be reserved for the playoffs so I guess if we go again it will either be Nov. or March.

Section 222 said...

Love the first person account djinFL. And your pictures on twitter are awesome too. So how close were you to the Detwiler-Tracy matchup?

Anna Peregrina said...

Faraz, where is the album? Is it on Twitter, or some photo publishing site like Flickr or Picasaweb? I don't know anything about Twitter pictures, but the others have a "public" option you can click.

Gonat said...

Section 222 said...
Love the first person account djinFL. And your pictures on twitter are awesome too.
______________________________

I feel the same way also!

NatsNut said...

I enjoyed the photos Faraz, thanks for sharing.

baseballswami said...

Good morning to the other early birds. I want a game!!!

natsfan1a said...

Pics were awesome, Faraz. Thanks for sharing.

natsfan1a said...

btw, did you by any chance take pics of subject matter that you thought might interest other Insiders as well as what interested you specifically? Just curious. Loved the Rollie pic, btw. :-)

Faraz Shaikh said...

I did not take a picture of it but there was a PED note before everyone entered the 'baseball records' room. it is not exactly a room, just part of 3rd floor next to aaron's exhibit. before entering it, you can see a PED note. I can't remember what exactly that said.

One other interesting thing I noticed was the quote from Johnny bench about big red machine, how they thought they would never lose a game at that time. they did win 2 WS and four pennants. That was when only two teams from each league made it to playoffs(more rounds, more chances of not making WS). I am just saying that Nats have not reached that level yet so we should check our expectations and careful with that 'world series or bust' slogan.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am hoping everyone can see it now because I just checked the link myself in incognito mode and it worked.

UnkyD said...

FS: WSOB is Davey's slogan.... I feel no compunction to "be careful" with it...

...just sayin'.... {=^D

Anna Peregrina said...

Thanks, I see it now, Faraz!

Scooter said...

Nice pix, Faraz. Thanks for sharing them.

Dave said...

Very cool pictures from Cooperstown, Faraz. That's a place I want to go to someday.

Dave said...

Very cool pictures from Cooperstown, Faraz. That's a place I want to go to someday.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Unkyd, I realize that and as the manager, we wouldn't want him saying anything else but as fans, it is a different matter.

Thanks guys. I would have taken better pictures if I had a better camera.

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