Shortly after the Washington Nationals had helped 21-year-old right-hander (and '09 no.1 overall pick) Stephen Strasburg earn his first curly-W in his MLB debut, striking out 14 in 7.0 IP, the right-handed starter and future Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez appeared before the press in the Nats' media room which usually seats about 10-15 local and visiting reporters but last night held a pool of writers that swelled to well over 100, maybe 150. Toward the end of the press conference, the Nats' future ace was asked what was next now that his first start was out of the way and whether or not he could finally relax, and Strasburg responded:
"The moment you start to relax this game's going to humble you, and I'm still hungry, I still want to get better. [I'm] getting ready to come in tomorrow get my work in and get ready for my bullpen and hopefully be ready to go for my next outing."
Asked what he'll work on or do differently to prepare for his next start, Strasburg responded that, "...the big difference now is that tonight they didn't really talk to me about a game plan and how to attack certain hitters, they just wanted me to go out there and enjoy it, so that's going to be a new experience, to make up a plan to attack the Indians' hitters."
What did he just say?
A quick question and answer followed. Then one of many reporters who were probably shocked by what they'd heard, just had to ask the question a good majority of us problem wanted to, "So you did all this without looking through a single scouting report?"
"Um...," Strasburg paused for a split second, "....yeah, I mean they wanted me to go out there...I really don't have a scouting report to begin with cause it's my first game, but, you know, you've got so much experience behind the plate," in Pudge Rodriguez, Strasburg said, "...so I was just trusting whatever he called."
Later that night on my drive home from DC to NJ, I turned on Sirius/XM's MLB Network Radio and heard Grant Paulsen (who also hosts the great Sirius/XM show "Minors and Majors") and had been at the game covering Strasburg's start and recording audio all day, play a portion of a conversation he had with Nats' pitching coach Steve McCatty, who confirmed the fact that Strasburg had not prepared for any of the Pirates' hitters, but had simply trusted his stuff and his veteran catcher:
Steven McCatty: "...today we didn't even go over the scouting report(s) with him, I just told him to go out and pitch, I didn't want to fill his head with a bunch of ideas, I just wanted him to relax. And we'll get more involved in it as we go, cause I certainly think he can handle it."
7.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 HR, 2 ER, 0 walks, 14 K's, 5 groundouts, 1 flyout, 94 pitches, 65 strikes...Wait til he starts reading scouting reports...