Mar 20, 2010, 3:17 AM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Straburg impressed in three starts, but he probably won't make a fourth.
VIERA, Fla. — If this was the end of Stephen Strasburg's spring training cameo … well, bravo, kid. Job well done.
Sure, you could look at the two solo homers he served up in the top of the first inning against the Cardinals — a blast to left-center by Tyler Greene on the game's first pitch and an opposite-field poke by Allen Craig two batters later — and be worried that the guy's fastball can travel a long way when struck by a big-league hitter. But those were two minor blemishes in an otherwise impressive performance.
Strasburg faced 14 batters after giving up those two homers. He retired 11 of them and would have retired 12 had Ian Desmond not booted a first-inning grounder. He struck out seven of 11 Cardinals batters at one point. And while his pitch count of 73 was high for only four innings, it wasn't because he couldn't find the strike zone. On the contrary, he threw 53 of those pitches for strikes. St. Louis' batters just fouled a bunch of them off, especially Jason LaRue, who fouled seven straight in the fourth before finally striking out on a 92 mph sinker.
By the end of his four innings, Strasburg had put together his best overall outing of the spring, even though he was scored upon for the first time. Eight strikeouts. No walks. Some perfectly executed offspeed pitches, both slider/curves and change-ups.
Perhaps because he had the chance to go through a lineup twice for the first time, or perhaps because he was working with Ivan Rodriguez for the first time, Strasburg showed off his entire arsenal and established the many different ways he can retire an opposingRead more »
NL EAST STANDINGS
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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