Stephen Strasburg and the Nats could not have asked for a better test in his pro debut Sunday in Altoona, a 6-4 win at Blair County Ballpark before 7,887.
Strasburg battled back in this game on the mound and at the plate. Down 4-0, Stephen didn’t panic and kept his composure, pounded the strike zone thanks to Randy Tomlin’s coaching and helped his own cause with a dramatic hit.
Strasburg pitched 5 innings, allowed 4 hits, 1 earned run, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. He retired eight consecutive Curve players at one point. Strasburg also hit a RBI double off the right field wall and scored a run to help cut the lead 4-3 in the 5th.
The Senators eventually took the lead and won it 6-4 giving Stephen his first win as a professional and a 1-0 record.
“I definitely was super excited. There was a lot of anticipation for this outing. I went out there from the get go and I knew I was moving a little too quick out there. I had the adrenaline pumping. I was able to settle down. Lucky enough our bats came alive. We are going to try to go into to Bowie and keep hitting the ball all over the place.”
What was the reason for the slow start?:
“It is all about just hitting your spots. Your mechanics are a little bit out of whack when your sped up a little bit. The hardest thing to do is to calm yourself down. As a pitcher you feel like you are going super slow when you are really not. I was really trying to stay composed out there. Not let little things bother me. Luckily I was able to pull out a ‘W’ today.”
On getting rbi double to help his own cause:
“I don’t know what it is I think its probably three years of being with Tony Gwynn. He didn’t give me an opportunity (to hit) so I am sure he is probably eating his words now. (laughter) “
Manager Randy Knorr on Stephen’s outing:
“I think at the beginning Stephen was a little anxious. Once he settled down he threw the ball very well. We didn’t make a couple plays behind him. probably would have gotten him out of the inning. Double play ball would have gotten him out of the inning, we didn’t turn it. It made him throw a few more pitches and he battle through it.”
Pitching coach Randy Tomlin on his visit to the mound to check on Strasburg:
“Really the visit was just to go out there and give him a couple of seconds or so to get his breath and get back on the mound. Just keep pounding the strike zone. The primary reason for the visit was to not let things get carried away within himself. The visit just allowed him time to do that.”
Strasburg exhibited excellent control throughout the game with 82 pitches, 55 for strikes. Next game at home, April 16th in Harrisburg. The team now travels to Bowie for a series against the Baysox.