Talking with MASN host Dan Kolko in the dugout during Sunday afternoon’s Grapefruit League game against the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg explained the thinking behind pitching exclusively out of the stretch thus far this Spring as he seeks to refine and simplify his mechanics.
“It feels pretty good right now,” Strasburg told Kolko.
“The season hasn’t started yet, so I could change at some point, but I think in general you’re going to throw the majority of your pitches out of the stretch anyway, so if I can fine-tune it now, even with nobody on, I think it will help me later on in the season when there’s a big spot with guys in scoring position.”
Through two starts this Spring, the 28-year-old right-hander has given up eight hits and six runs in four innings, walking one batter and striking out four. Seven of those eight hits and all six runs came in his start against the St. Louis Cardinals last week.
Talking after that outing, however, Strasburg didn’t seem too concerned about how Cards’ hitters were able to jump all over his fastball early.
“All in all, I’ve just got to take it with a grain of salt,” Strasburg said, as quoted by MASN’s Pete Kerzel:
“It wasn’t the outcome I was looking for, but I felt good out there. I feel like when I did throw my off-speed, I did execute it. It’s just throwing the fastball, they were hunting fastballs, trying to get out there early. I’ll let them keep that approach and take that during the season. At least they kind of tipped their cards.”
Though Strasburg has left open the possibility of returning to the windup, he did say he wasn’t going to make the change just because he got hit hard in one start like he did against the Cardinals:
“I’m not going to jump ship after a crazy outing like this. I think it’s going to help me in the long run. Who knows? Maybe I’ll do it enough times and be comfortable with it (and) it’ll help me out of the windup in the future. I’m not shutting that door either.”
Strasburg gets another opportunity to work out of the stretch this afternoon, when he takes on the Detroit Tigers in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, FL.
Here’s the lineup that will be backing Strasburg up at 1:05 PM EDT:
NOTE: This afternoon’s Grapefruit League matchup between the Nationals and Tigers is available on WJFK 1580 AM in the nation’s capital and via MLB.com’s GameDay audio.