Strasburg on his repertoire, what he’s focusing on going forward (4-4 final in 10)

VIERA, Fla. - It’s 4-4 after seven innings here at Space Coast Stadium, as these two National League East squads have traded runs the entire evening.

Yunesky Maya allowed single runs in the sixth and seventh innings, surrendering three hits and two walks in his two innings of work.

Stephen Strasburg took a few positives out of his outing against the Mets tonight, a three-inning stint in which he allowed a run on two hits, walked one and struck out six.

“I think I had a little bit better fastball command this time,” Strasburg said. “I was able to work it down on the knees a little bit better. Offspeed, I didn’t throw enough offspeed to really see how it was the last game, but I threw a little bit more and it felt pretty good.”

In his first outing of spring, against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Saturday, Strasburg was so amped up in the first inning that he was unable to slow himself down. His mechanics were thrown a little bit out of whack, he was missing his spots with his fastball and he trailed 2-0 two batters into the game.

Today, Strasburg gave up hits to the first two hitters he saw and trailed 1-0 three batters into the game, but he felt much more under control from the get-go.

“I’m still kind of making the adjustments and everything,” he said. “I think when I got up on the bullpen mound, I felt myself immediately doing the same things that I was doing the previous outing. I just wanted to try and slow it down and not try and throw it as hard as I can from (the ball leaving the glove), from separation, and it kind of helped me a little bit get on plane and get on top of the ball.

“The good thing is that I felt good when I came out, so that’s the bottom line. I was able to make the adjustment (and slow myself down) a little faster this time and hopefully carry it and build off it in the bullpen coming up and try to do it again next outing.”

Strasburg again said that the nature of spring training games - in which hitters come up looking to hack at fastballs in the zone early in the count - makes it tough for him to work on establishing good fastball command deep into counts.

The righty got to work more on his curveball today, getting good movement on hooks to Andrew Brown and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the first inning.

“Last year, I was still kinda feeling (the curve) because when I was coming off of surgery, they didn’t let me throw it until probably a month before I went on my rehab assignment,” Strasburg said. “So I didn’t really have many opportunities to throw it. Being able to do that all last year, I think it’s starting to come back to where it was before I got hurt.”

Asked what he’s trying to focus on the rest of spring, Strasburg pointed his attention at another one his pitches.

“I’m having a tough time with my sinker right now,” Strasburg said. “I need to get over the idea that throwing it harder is going to make it better. I think if I take a little bit off, get a little more movement on it, I feel like I’m almost throwing through the sink and it’s kind of flattening out. So I want to try and do that, throw it a little bit slower, let it move a little more, I think I’ll get some better results.”

Update: The Nats have played six Grapefruit League games so far. Two have had rain delays of at least an hour. Two have gone extra innings.

We’re going to the 10th here tonight, as if 200 minutes of thrilling spring action wasn’t enough for you. Ryan Mattheus remains in the game to worth the 10th for the Nats, this after he pitched a scoreless ninth.

Update II: The game was called after 10 innings with the teams tied at 4-4.

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