Stephen Strasburg, working exclusively of the stretch for some reason we’re sure he’ll explain after his start*, and working mostly with his fastball early according to reports from West Palm Beach, retired the St. Louis Cardinals in order, on a total of 10 pitches, nine of them strikes, in his first inning of work this afternoon.
Strasburg’s 2017 debut in Grapefruit League action continued with a strikeout of Matt Adams in the second, a swinging K, and he worked around a one-out single by Jhonny Peralta, getting a grounder back to the mound from Jose Martinez to start an inning-ending 1-6-3 DP. His 13-pitch second left Strasburg at 23 total with three Ks after two scoreless.
That was it for the Washington Nationals’ starter in what ended up a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals...
[ed. note 1. - “Apparently everyone watching Strasburg pitch exclusively out of the stretch googled some variation of the phrase “No advantage to using windup” especially after the Cards’ radio announcers mentioned Nats’ Pitching Coach Mike Maddux’s previous comments on pitching out of the stretch vs a full windup and located this June 2016 Vocativ post about ditching the windup altogether, which includes quotes from Maddux.”]
[ed. note 2. - “ * = Post Start Strasburg Quotes”]:
Strasburg said he decided this winter to try only throwing from stretch, easier to repeat mechanics. Was happy how it went today.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 3, 2017
Strasburg said he is prepared to pitch out of the stretch full time as long as it works. Said it's easier to repeat his mechanics that way.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) March 3, 2017
• Vance Worley took over for Strasburg in the top of the third inning, after Cardinals’ starter Michael Wacha held the Nationals off the board through two.
Worley gave up a leadoff single and a run on an RBI groundout by Tommy Pham that put the Cards up 1-0 after two and a half.
• Ryan Zimmerman, in his first Grapefruit League start, went 0 for 2 with a K and played first base.
• Michael A. Taylor singled to center, moved up on a walk and scored from second on an RBI single by Trea Turner to tie it up with Trevor Rosenthal on the mound for the Cards in the fifth. 1-1.
• Oliver Perez, Neal Cotts and Matt Grace held the Cards hitless from the sixth-through-eighth innings.
• Enny Romero got an inning of work in in the ninth, retiring the side in order to keep it tied at 1-1.
• They decided to actually play extras in West Palm Beach and Derek Eitel gave up the goat, allowing the Cardinals’ go-ahead run in what ended up a 2-1 loss when Alberto Rosario drove in a run with an RBI single that brought Jose Martinez in after he drew a leadoff walk. 2-1 Cards final.
MEANWHILE... in Jupiter:
The Nationals were in split-squad action today, against the Cardinals in West Palm Beach and the Marlins in Jupiter, FL’s Roger Dean Stadium.
The away game featured A.J. Cole on the mound (3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB) at the start.
Jeremy Guthrie threw a scoreless inning vs the Fish. Austin Voth tossed two scoreless, giving up a hit and collecting two Ks.
The Nationals fell behind 4-1 after three, but rallied with a run in the sixth on an RBI single by Osvaldo Abreu and four runs in the seventh as they took a 6-4 lead on an RBI single by Ian Sagdal and Kelvin Gutierrez and a two-run single by Jhonatan Solano.
The Nationals ended up with an 8-5 win over the Marlins.