Stephen Strasburg gave up three hits and two runs (both earned) on a home run by New York Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada in the Washington Nationals' 24-year-old starter's first start of the Spring last Saturday. The Nats' right-hander threw 42 pitches the first time out. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters today that the '09 no.1 overall pick would probably throw around 60 pitches tonight when he takes on the Mets again in his second start of the Spring. "I think 'Cat' goes from 45 to 60," Johnson told reporters this afternoon referring to pitching coach Steve McCatty's plan for building his pitchers' strenghth up, "But again, if he gives me three innings and gets up around 50 pitches, that's good for me."
The Nats' manager was asked today if Strasburg was calmer and more relaxed this season than he has been in the past. "I hope so," Johnson said, "Another year under your belt. More of a full year. He's still very young as far as pitching up here, so it comes with experience, and I see it in almost all of the young ones, so that's a good sign." The right-hander finished his third pro season at +4.3 fWAR with a (15-6) record, 3.16 ERA, 2.82 FIP, 48 walks (2.71 BB/9) and 197 Ks (11.13 K/9) in 28 games and 159.1 IP. The Nationals' manager is in the unique situation of having managed Strasburg at different stages in the pitcher's development and he's been able to watch him grow up close.
"I had him early on when he pitched in the Olympics in Beijing," Johnson said, referring to the '08 US Olympic team. "He had great stuff. Great command. The only thing when you see somebody like that," Johnson explained, "it's just a matter of having enough innings for him to pitch up here. His stuff is a lot like Dwight's, Dwight Gooden, where it was all about getting enough innings in, of course Dwight had 200 innings at A-ball, Triple-A World Series with me a couple of starts and innings-wise he was ready to go. And stuff, he threw two pitches over, and Stras, he has three or four pitches he throws over. He's the no.1 starter on a pretty good staff, so that's all you need to know about him."
The no.1 starter on a pretty good staff will take the mound this evening at 6:05 pm EST for his second start of the Spring. Here's the lineup that will take the field behind him:
Tonight's lineup. #Nationals vs. NYM: Span 8, Suzuki 2, Werth 9, LaRoche 3, Desmond 6, Espinosa 4, Moore 7, Rendon 5, Tracy DH. Strasburg P— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) February 28, 2013