Apr 12, 2010, 3:27 PM EDT
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 CSNwashington.com’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.
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