The Washington Nationals have made Nats' pitcher Stephen Strasburg available to the entire press corps following each of his first two home starts, his debut last week and again last night. What follows is the complete transcript of the 21-year-old right-hander's responses to the questions he was asked in the press conference following the 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox:
• Could You Have Gone Longer Than 7.0 IP?
Stephen Strasburg: "Yeah, I definitely wanted to go out there. Definitely finish the game out, but there’s a bigger picture here and our bullpen came in and kept us in scoring distance, we just didn’t get the job done today." Describe what was/wasn’t working tonight? Stephen Strasburg: "I just went out there trying to pound the strike zone with all my pitches over the plate. Pudge called a great game but that’s to be expected."
• How good was your change tonight?
Stephen Strasburg: "I was just able to throw it over the plate a little bit more. Was having a better feel with it than the previous outing. A lot of it had to do with what I was trying to do with the pitch. In the previous outing I was trying to do too much with it instead of letting it work itself, so I just went out there and trusted it."
• Were you aware that the President was here?
Stephen Strasburg: "I didn’t know if he was coming, I heard some rumors, but I’m assuming all the people taking pictures of a [luxury] box, that was him."
• Is it tough to feel good about the start when the end result is a loss?
Stephen Strasburg: "It’s tough [Nats’ Skipper Jim Riggleman] has been preaching fundamentals and everything. I didn’t get over [to first on Juan Pierre’s infield hit] in time in the first inning, probably should’ve been an out there. Didn’t get the bunt down, so, it’s the little things like that, that up here they’re going to exploit it, and I’m just going to come in tomorrow, work with [Tim] Foli and work on my bunting a little bit and really see the play out before it happens next time."
• Was it more you not getting over there or Pierre beating you?
Stephen Strasburg: "I think it was a combination, you know, with a guy with that kind of speed it's got to be an instant reaction to get over there, I kinda took just a split second just to read where the ball was going, and that split second, he had an extra step and that's how much he beat me by."
• What do you think about having the President come to watch you pitch?
Stephen Strasburg: "It was awesome. Obviously, he's from Chicago, so he wanted to come watch the White Sox too, but it's been a great atmosphere these first two outings here, packed house, everybody's on their feet, it's pretty exciting."
• Stephen, What do you think about setting the record?
Stephen Strasburg: "That wasn't a goal of mine. It's never going to be a goal of mine. You know, my goal is to go out there and help the team win. It's all about wins and losses at this level, I mean, you can go out there and strike everybody out, but at the end of the day if you don't keep your team in striking distance then what does that all matter."
• You seemed to be having issues with the mound again?
Stephen Strasburg: "You know, it’s something that I always do. There’s going to be mounds out there where they just don’t hold up. [White Sox’ starter Gavin] Floyd was striding out there pretty far with me and we were throwing from the same place in the rubber, so it did get eaten up in those spots, so I was just making sure I had a good landing."
• How surprised were you when you didn’t get the bunt down?
Stephen Strasburg: "Well, I wanted to go out there, I’ve practiced it enough, but it’s a different game out there with the adrenaline and everything, it comes with experience, looking back on it, I learned a lot from that and I’m going to try there and not make the same mistakes."
• How tough a loss was it with the Nationals struggling?
Stephen Strasburg: "I think it was a good game for us even though we did come up short today. We definitely played good defense, we pitched the ball well all the way down the lineup, we just didn’t get the hits when we needed to, we hit the ball hard, just right to guys there at the end, but you know that’s baseball and as long as we keep playing hard these next few games we’re going to get some wins."
• 8 pitches, 8 strikes in the fourth, is that an ideal inning, low pitch count to get three outs?
Stephen Strasburg: "Yeah absolutely, the premiere pitchers, you look at [Justin] Verlander when we faced him, you watch [Roy] Halladay, those guys go seven, eight innings every single time out, and sometimes go nine and that’s definitely a goal that I’m trying to get to, is to where I don’t pretty much throw too many pitches to where I don’t even get a chance to go out there."