Despite Chicago’s 2-1 win over the Nationals in 11 innings, Stephen Strasburg continues to make his changes to the record books.
Strasburg surpassed former Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard for most strikeouts in his first three games in the big leagues when he struck out Alexei Ramirez in the fifth inning. Richard’s record was 29 in 1971.
It was Strasburg’s 30th strikeout in a span of 17 innings. It was also Strasburg’s 8th strikeout in the game.
Officially through three starts, Strasburg has struck out 32 batters over 19.1 IP.
This one was pretty good too. Strasburg gave up just a first inning run in this start, striking out 10 White Sox hitters and allowing just one extra base hit, a bloop double in the 1st off the bat of Omar Vizquel.
Pudge Rodriguez says he noticed something in the pregame session that was going to be particularly good for Strasburg on this night.
“I saw the changeup and it was pretty good in the bullpen. So that is what I used. I knew they were going to look for the fastball. The good thing about Stephen is he has three other pitches that he can throw for strikes. We used all four pitches. We used the breaking ball and the change up. To be honest with you, he struck out a lot of guys with the changeup.”
Chicago took advantage of a rare opportunity in the opening frame, getting back-to-back hits from Juan Pierre and Vizquel and the Pale Hose led 1-0.
Strasburg then retired the next 15 batters he faced. But this time, Strasburg faced Gavin Floyd, who was up to the task, pitch for pitch, going eight strong innings and also allowing just one run.
Adam Dunn’s RBI double prevented Floyd getting the win. Ryan Zimmerman reached on a solid base hit in the bottom of the seventh, followed by Dunn’s base knock to even the game.
Dunn says Gavin was exactly how he remember him from a few years back.
“His pitches were moving a lot more than they were on tape. He was throwing really good sinkers and we were hitting a lot of balls on the ground. He wasn’t missing with his slider. I remember him five or six years ago when he was with the Phillies, and that is how he was.”
Dunn had a chance to win the game for the Nats in the 9th, but struck out against vicious fastballs off leftie Mike Thornton.
Zimmerman came close to make the play of the year at third base in the 11th inning, diving to his right to stop Alex Rios’ from getting a stand up double. Instead his throw to Dunn sailed high and Rios settled for a single and the go ahead RBI that scored Mark Kotsay.
Was this one a tough one to take because Strasburg pitched so well?
“We want to win for every one (of our pitchers), every time. Any time someone pitches like that you want to get a win for him and a win for the team. Sometimes there guy matches him. They got the big hit when they needed it.”