READING, PA ---- Righthander Stephen Strasburg pitched 5 innings of shutout no-hit ball, retiring the first 13 batters he faced, for his 3rd win of the season as Harrisburg defeated Reading 1-0 before an announced 4,156 at chilly FirstEnergy Stadium.
Strasburg threw 64 pitches, 42 for strikes, allowing no runs, no hits, no walks and striking out 6 batters. The game time temperature was 53 degrees, but a brisk wind made it feel like it was in the high 40s. Strasburg consistently hit in the mid to upper 90s on a cold late April evening.
Strasburg also provided the game winning RBI single in the 5th inning off of Reading starter and losing pitcher Michael Cisco that scored Sean Rooney.
Strasburg was not fazed by the Reading hitters or the cold temperatures: “Weather was not an issue at all. It was nice the rain was able to stop for this game. Hopefully that will be the case for the second game as well.”
Stephen had his usual stunning fast ball, but it was all of his off-speed pitches that dazzled the Reading lineup, especially a knee-buckling 73 mile per hour curveball that Terry Byrom, Harrisburg’s play by play announcer, said was the slowest so far this season.
“My command of my pitches allowed me to (throw so many off-speed pitches). If I am not commanding all my pitches. That is the big thing I was able to do tonight was keep the ball down, work in and out. Sean Rooney called another great game.”
Strasburg is not looking ahead just yet, still concentrating on the game at hand in Double-A.
“I definitely got to stick with the program here. I got to go out and keep trying to build off the previous start. Working with Randy Tomlin a lot here down the stretch. We have been really trying to work on command of all my pitches in the strike zone and get weak contact. I was pretty successful tonight and will try and do it again next time.”
Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge also went to the mound for two innings of no hit and no run relief, striking out four, and says Strasburg has all the tools to be successful in the majors.
“It is pretty impressive. I think if he is able to pitch in effectively to major league hitters than he will be really tough because he has command of a changeup and curveball.
That kind of arm doesn’t come around (too often). It is not very often you see a guy being able to throw that hard with that kind of command. It looked like he had a pretty good idea in his off speed pitches.
Hopefully our hitters will figure him out when he gets called up this year.”
Lidge says the minor league experience is a good thing for Strasburg right now:
“I think it is probably a good idea just because it is at least going to get him used to being in that clockwork rotation once every five days. It will get him used to the feel of different stadiums.
If nothing else he will get to experience the minor leagues a little bit. I think that is a good thing for guys. Clearly he is showing he is ready to move on from Double A and my guess he will have the same results in Triple A.
It will be up to the big league hitters to watch him very closely and I think that is one big difference is that they will be watching him over and over on video, picking up anything that he might do consistently and trying to exploit that.
From what I saw tonight he was doing pretty much doing everything right.”