DC GM Mike Rizzo was in the booth with MASN tv analysts Rob Dibble and Bob Carpenter for the start of the second inning of Tuesday's Spring Training game between the Washington Nationals and Detroit Tigers when the Tigers' first baseman Miguel Cabrera came up to bat against the Nationals' debuting 21-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg, DC's '09 no.1 overall pick, who was facing MLB competition for the very first time, with Cabrera, the soon-to-be 27-year-old, 7-year MLB veteran, (who told the Detroit Free Press sports reporter John Lowe that he couldn't wait to face the much-hyped right-hander in an article on Monday afternoon), representing, quite possibly (with all due respect to Magglio Ordonez at this point in his career), the best competition the former San Diego State University starter had ever faced.
• Strasburg, in the home whites, bright red curly-W cap and knee-high socks, started Cabrera with a mid-90's fastball, low and outside for a ball, 1-0...
Rob Dibble: "You've got a nice matchup here too, Strasburg, [Tigers' starter Rick] Porcello, your young man, his first outing. I mean, couldn't have gone any better for him in the first inning, it's just a question of is he going to go 30, 40 pitches today and just get his work in."
Mike Rizzo: "We have him scheduled for two innings or 40 pitches, we'll see what happens. I wouldn't expect him to go out there another inning. This is his first time out on the mound."
• The 6'4'', 220lb Strasburg walked to the back of the mound and quickly returned to the rubber, collected himself, stood tall and fired a low fastball that the 6'4'', 240lb Cabrera fouled into the dirt at his feet. 1-1...
Rob Dibble: "Yeah, he can go down to the bullpen and finish up, plus you have other pitchers that need to get their work in today's game."
Mike Rizzo: "Definitely. The next group of guys, [Nats' righty Miguel] Batista, and so on, they'll be in their second rotation, those second rotations are usually much more sharp than the first go around."
Bob Carpenter: Well, Mike. How do you feel about camp this year? Those of us that have been here, we feel like it's a totally different atmosphere than what's been going on here in Viera in the past.
• Now it was Cabrera who stepped back and took a look around the park before he settled back into the batter's box and took his stance again, when Strasburg dropped a tight 80 mph breaking ball onto the low inside corner of the plate for a called strike two drawing appreciative "aahs" from the crowd behind home plate who witnessed the sharp break of the pitch that's causing arguments amongst the DC Faithful who want to know if it's a slider, tight curve or a slurve. Cabrera never saw it coming, loading up and leaving his bat on his shoulder as struggled to hold back from swinging and watched it drop in, 1-2.
Mike Rizzo: "We're really excited about the ball club that we have on the field and we're certainly excited about the people we have in the clubhouse. The veterans have been great. The rookies have been playing really hard and the results have been great, and the won/loss record really has no effect on us."
• Strasburg came right back with another breaking ball a bit further inside for a ball that backed Cabrera off the plate and made it a 2-2 count.
Rob Dibble: "A couple of great breaking balls there by Strasburg. You know, Bob was talking about 4-5 pitches in his repetoire, you know, what would you like to see this year from him to try to develop him towards being a major league pitcher?"
• 2-2 count. Cabrera stepped in and readied himself. Strasburg went into his delivery, and fired toward home, sending a rising 98 mph 2-2 heater toward the high outside corner of the zone, right through Cabrera's bat and into Nats' catcher Wil Nieves' glove for a swinging strike three and the first out of the second inning.
Mike Rizzo: "You know, that first inning to me, was a terrific inning for me. Much more impressive than a strikeout. You get three ground balls on, what'd you say, eight, seven pitches, that's economical pitching, that'll keep this guy out on the mound in the seventh and eighth inning when you can get him start getting outs on minimal pitches."
Post Game Note: Asked by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, in an article entitled, "Stephen Strasburg really says hello", what it was like to face Strasburg, Miguel Cabrera told the reporter, "'What you read about, it's true,' Cabrera said afterward. "It's real. He's the kind of pitcher you don't see every day..."When he throws the ball," Cabrera said, "it's like an explosion."
Strasburg got a one-pitch groundout from Tigers' infielder (and DH for the day) Carlos Guillen in the next at bat, before surrendering back-to-back two-out singles which brought up Tigers' second baseman Brent Dlugach, who fell victim to a cruel full-count curve the Nationals' starter dropped in for a called strike three, and the end of Stephen Strasburg's Spring debut. 27 pitches. 15 strikes. Next start scheduled for Sunday.