It was easy to understand why Stephen Strasburg would get upset.
Maybe it was the calls he got at San Diego State. Or maybe it was the wide strike zone he occasionally enjoyed at the minor league level.
But in his first season, Strasburg would sometimes get riled up when strikes were called balls. He would lose focus and a walk or hit would follow. Suddenly, the opponent was under his skin and gained an edge they could use.
Against Cleveland in June of his first season, Strasburg had trouble with his plant foot on the loose dirt on the Progressive Field mound. The slip seemed to irritate the right-hander.
But those hiccups that bothered Strasburg in the past are long gone.
Strasburg has shown in 2012 he has grown as a pitcher with his methodical and measured approach to each hitter. He has also appeared to turn a corner in not letting a call that doesn’t go his way affect his total performance.
“That is one thing (I learned) talking to (pitching coach Steve) McCatty,” Strasburg said. “You can’t expect to go into the game expecting everything to go your way, expect every call to be called a strike, every quality pitch you make to not be hit or be an out.
“You just got to go out there and adapt and focus on the next pitch. That is something I really try to do regardless of the outcome.”
Strasburg showed how he has become better at handling adversity in Saturday’s matchup with the Miami Marlins.
In the top of the sixth and one away, Jose Reyes smacked his second double of the game. After a fly out to left field, Hanley Ramirez was walked on a 3-2 count and flipped his bat at home plate as he headed to first base. That little move might have gotten a younger or more temperamental pitcher miffed and off his game.
With two men on and no score in a tight contest, Strasburg was able to battle the next hitter, Logan Morrison, to ground out to Ian Desmond that ended the threat.
Another subtle example of how far Strasburg has come in just 21 big league starts.