Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg prepares for his 11th big league start today at Nats Park against the Arizona Diamondbacks after a rough outing on Tuesday that saw the right-hander allow a career-high six runs in a career-low 4 1/3 innings versus the Marlins.
Pitching coach Steve McCatty says Strasburg (5-3, 3.07) has made some adjustments this week as he gets ready to tangle with the Snakes.
“He got a little frustrated with himself and started concentrating and thinking about mechanics a lot, and we talked about it. He has to get back to the fact that when you are out there you can’t worry about it.
“Mechanics will be there most of the time. If you feel something is off, then make an adjustment in between pitches and go back to competing and throwing the ball.”
“We worked on getting a better feel in the bullpen. He threw the ball very good and I am sure (today) when he goes out there he will be back where he should be.”
McCatty said they will not tinker with Strasburg’s delivery.
“His mechanics are pretty good; he throws a little bit across his body. We don’t have a crystal ball (to know) what is going to happen.
“He is a big, strong kid so we just let him go because the stuff is good, I don’t think being slightly closed has anything to do with it or whatever everybody is hearing. The kid is going to pitch the way he pitches.”
Strasburg will be opposed by Diamondbacks right-hander Barry Enright (3-2, 2.64), who beat the Nats 8-4 on August 5, going six innings and scattering six hits, allowing only two runs, two walks and striking out three.
Adam Kennedy and Ryan Zimmerman hit home runs off of him, but that was all the scoring he would allow, and the Nats committed three errors, two of them in front of losing pitcher Ross Detwiler (0-2).
McCatty says everything has gone well for Strasburg the past five days. “He has been great this week. The bullpen has been really good.”
McCatty also says they are going over batters and game planning a little more with Strasburg, but it is mostly up to him to decide what to do.
“He has an idea of what the pitchers do, their strengths and their weaknesses. Most of the time you want to pitch to your strengths, especially when you have a 95-100MPH fastball, above average changeup and curveball.
“If he makes his pitches, I have no doubt he will do fine. Yes, we do talk about the hitters just so he knows. But the decision of what he wants to throw and how he wants to attack them is up to him.”
Today’s game is a big one for the Nationals as they desperately need a series victory before they head out to face the best in the East in the Braves and the Phillies on the road.