FLUSHING, N.Y. - How did Stephen Strasburg react to the Nationals’ decision to let him throw a career-high 108 pitches and finish off the sixth inning of today’s game despite having the go-ahead runner on base?
Is that a real question? He welcomed the heck out of it.
“I just want to be another guy in the clubhouse,” Strasburg said. “It’s not like I’ve never thrown over 100 pitches in my life. It’s just something that early on in my first year, they wanted to limit the innings I was throwing in the minors, and looking back then, there were some games where I’d go five innings, which was my max, and throw 65 pitches.
“So as far as building up, I think it’s going to help me in the long run, and especially just learning how to battle through it, because it was tough early. The good pitchers out there know how to find a way to get it done and get back on track.”
Strasburg worked out of the sixth inning jam, in which he had runners on first and second and one out, but he was in even more trouble in the first, when he gave up a single to Ruben Tejada to begin the game, walked the next batter (Daniel Murphy) and then uncorked a wild pitch which allowed both runners to move up a base.
The Tejada single came a pitch after Strasburg felt like he had the Mets shortstop struck out on a fastball at the knees. The lack of a called third strike from home plate umpire Larry Vanover clearly frustrated Strasburg, who had words with Vanover and then threw four straight balls to Murphy.
That frustration is something Strasburg knows he needs to try and limit in the future.
“It was going both ways, and you’ve got to go out there and right the ship,” Strasburg said. “I tried to go out there and do it, and I almost tried to force it a little too much when I walked the next guy”
The 23-year-old righty ended up getting out of the first inning by striking out Ike Davis on a filthy curve ball, and then getting Jason Bay to ground out. After smooth second-through-fifth innings, Strasburg encountered another jam in the sixth, but hunkered down, and again worked out of trouble to finish a scoreless performance.
“It’s not always going to be up down, up down, 1-2-3,” Strasburg said. “There’s going to be innings where you have to battle, where the hitters go out and make you work. You have to go out there and make adjustments and overcome.
“I want to be that guy, the horse in the rotation that can go out there and hopefully get to the seventh or eighth inning every time. That’s what I’m working towards, and it’s a goal of mine. There’s going to be days when it doesn’t quite work out that way. Your pitch count gets up. But at least you know that your manager has confidence in you to get through the innings. It’s huge.”