The one run Stephen Strasburg allowed in three innings of work against the New York Mets in his second start of the Spring on March 11th, came on a two-out single by Juan Lagares that drove former Washington Nationals' outfielder Roger Bernadina in two outs after after Bernadina hit a leadoff, line drive double.
It seemed to bother Strasburg that the run came in on a ground ball that made it to center field.
"I’ve been trying to get weak contact," Strasburg told reports, as quoted by USA TODAY. "So other than Shark’s double, I just did that."
"Stras was good," Dusty Baker said.
"He was real good. He was upset about giving up a two-out hit, but, hey man, that ground out there was getting hard. It was like Arizona ground."
Baker talked about having seen the '09 no.1 overall pick when he was the manager in Cincinnati, though Strasburg faced the Reds just twice during Baker's time on the Reds' bench.
Other than that, the veteran skipper said, he, "didn't really know much about Stras."
He was asked earlier this Spring what he could really get to know about pitchers in early Grapefruit League starts and what he was looking for when he watched them?
"I'm not really looking for anything," Baker said. "I'm just looking." He was, however, he said, interested in seeing how they handled adversity and how they handled pressure.
"As long as things are going good, you don't really get a good read on anybody," Baker explained, "but you get bases loaded, nobody out, then we start seeing how you handle it."
In start no.4 of the Spring, against the New York Yankees on Wednesday, Strasburg got himself into a bases-loaded, no-out jam when he gave up three straight singles to start the top of the third.
He fell behind Aaron Hicks in the next at bat, but threw three straight changeups by the overmatched outfielder, then got up 0-2 on Dustin Ackley before inducing a weak grounder to second that started an inning-ending 6-3 DP.
He retired the side in order in the fourth, striking out two, worked around leadoff and two-out singles in the fifth, adding two Ks for nine total on 70 pitches in five scoreless against the Yankees' travel/B lineup.
Still, he wasn't satisfied with the start, according to Baker, who told MASNSports.com's Mark Zuckerman, Strasburg, "... threw the ball well," but, "still came off the field shaking his head like he didn't throw the ball well."
"So I'm learning about Stras," Baker said:
"Is he ever really happy? Well, we're trying to make him happier. Just appreciate when you have a good outing because there's plenty of bad ones coming. And who knows, this might be the year when he doesn't have any."
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo predicted in December that Strasburg, who bounced back from a rough start in 2015, had a big season ahead of him in what could be his final season in D.C. if the righty doesn't sign an extension to keep him in the nation's capital beyond 2016.
"I think he's on the cusp of doing something special," Rizzo said. Strasburg was special once he returned from the first of two DL stints of the season last summer.
Over his final 13 starts, he was (8-2) with a 1.76 ERA, 12 walks and 110 Ks in 82 innings, holding opposing hitters to a combined .175/.208/.292 line over that stretch.
"I think that when the ankle problems were behind him -- which turned into some muscular problems in his back and that type of thing -- he pitched outstanding," Rizzo said.
"He's had three outstanding years before he had that little hiccup in the beginning of 2015, but this guy is a terrifically-talented pitcher that I think has matured not only in his life but on the mound and is becoming a real leader, not only in the clubhouse, but a guy I love when he takes the ball every fifth day."
Barring any setbacks, or hiccups, before the start of the regular season, Strasburg will take the ball for the first time in the 2016 regular season on April 7th at 4:05 PM when the Nationals take on the Miami Marlins.