Monday, April 12, 2010

Strasburg's debut in pictures

PHILADELPHIA -- The Nationals' string of day games continues from Citizens Bank Park, where today the Phillies host their home opener. But before we get to that, I'd be remiss if I didn't share a few quick insights into Stephen Strasburg's minor-league debut from yesterday.

Strasburg, as you know by now, tossed five innings for Harrisburg against Altoona, allowing four runs (one earned) and four hits, walking two and striking out eight. He also connected for an RBI double, helping his cause en route to a 5-4 victory. (Drew Storen picked up the save, getting out of a jam in the eighth and then pitching the ninth.)

Obviously, I wasn't in Altoona for the proceedings, but I did have a special correspondent in attendance: my wife, Rachel, who made the drive up with a friend to watch the game. You can see a slideshow of her photos at the top of this post, including a cool sequence of shots of Strasburg's complete pitching motion.

Here, also, is a recap of the day from's Ryan O'Halloran, who also made the six-hour round trip from D.C. to see the phenom in action.

As far as Strasburg's outing was concerned, he essentially picked up right where he left off at the end of spring training. The numbers are a tad misleading, because his defense let him down in that fourth inning, with an error on a double-play ball prolonging the inning and leading to those three unearned runs. Strasburg also gave up a couple of hard hits in the first inning, leading to a run. But he dominated the second, third and fifth innings, regularly hit 99 mph with his fastball and reached 100 mph a couple of times.

He was limited to 82 pitches yesterday, and he won't be allowed to throw much more than that the rest of the season. The Nats plan to hold him to around 100 pitches per game, keeping his pitch and his innings count down. So don't expect him to throw any no-hitters this year, unless he's incredibly efficient. As one team exec put it yesterday when I asked him what happens if Strasburg is throwing a perfect game through six innings: "He's coming out. And if he doesn't, someone's getting fired."

So away we go. Strasburg is next scheduled to pitch Friday night in Harrisburg against New Britain.


Traveler8 said...

Rachel, love the action sequence! Mark, thanks for posting.

Carl in 309 said...

Glad to know you have a special correspondent; thought I might have seen some of Rachel's photography earlier this blog season! And the sequence of the Strasburg pitching motion is great--get a different sense of what he looks like than one did watching the ESPN feed yesterday (which was nice it its own right).

While we await the Phenom's arrival in DC, here's to stealing another game or two from Phillies--at least this time we miss their ace!

natsfan1a said...

Atta gal, Rachel!

Mike said...

There were rumors floating around yesterday that Strasburg would be limited to 100 innings total for the season, which seems extreme. (He should be capable of at least 130 innings without being at risk for the Verducci Effect.)

Is there serious talk about a 100-inning limit, or did the rumor-floaters perhaps mis-hear (and mischaracterize) the 100-pitch limit per game?

Dave said...

Hey Rachel, that pitch-sequence slideshow is the bomb. Great work.

tedv15 2 said...

Thanks for the detailed coverage on Strausburg.

Mark, Do you have any updated info on Wang and Flores? What is their status? Is Wang still on schedule?

cadeck13 said...

Excellent sequence Mrs. Z.

sbrent said...

This blag is becoming truly a Zuckerman family enterprise. Nice! Great coverage of both games yesterday, and great pics!

Special Correspondent Mrs. Z. said...

Thanks to a digital camera with a continuous-sports shooting mode, I managed to take almost 450 photos in less than two hours. Looking at the photos later, the thing that amazed me most was just how identical Strasburg's pitching motion was. If you look at the sequence Mark has posted, you could be looking at any one of S.S.'s 82 pitches from yesterday. Even with my somewhat limited knowledge of baseball I can tell that he is something special.
Stay tuned for more stop-action sequences from future games!

Tcostant said...

Re: Strasburg sooner rather than later

A full year of service entails 172 days on the active roster. If Strasburg isn’t called up in the first 20 days of the season, it will push his free-agent clock to 2016. This means that the Nats, if they wanted to, could bring Strasburg up at the end of April or May 1st and still push his free agency year out to 2010. (Source:;_ylt=AnII4SrJlTsHddy1hn1neis5nYcB?slug=jp-servicetime041110)

We hear all this talk about Super 2 status, but it makes no sense to me. Strasburg’s contract is for 4 years, so assuming he is bought up anytime in 2010, when his 4 year contract is up, he would be eligible for arbitration regardless of how long he is in the minors this year.

Mark  can you comment on this: Can you comment on why the fact that he has a 4 year contract is being ignored in regards to his Super 2 possible status? Am I missing something?

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