Second-year Nationals’ Pitching Coach Mike Maddux talked during yesterday’s MASN broadcast of Washington’s Grapefruit League game, about 28-year-old right-hander Stephen Strasburg experimenting with working out of the stretch early this Spring.
FP Santangelo asked if there was any concern that Strasburg would be expending more energy by staying out of the stretch and discarding the traditional windup.
On the contrary, Maddux explained, “... when you’re in the windup it’s a lot of perpetual movement, but when you’re in the stretch, you come set, you’re ready to go when you go and you go when you’re ready. Out of the windup, there are a lot of things going on before you ever get to the balance point.”
Strasburg didn’t get much of a chance to work on his delivery this afternoon. He was working out of the stretch for all 47 pitches he threw in two innings, but he gave up seven hits, a walk and six earned runs in what ended up a 9-3 loss to the Cardinals.
Strasburg said he isn't worried about today's results. Said he felt good, his stuff was on point, and the Cardinals were hunting fastball.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgeccastillo) March 8, 2017
Here’s how it happened:
• Strasburg walked Dexter Fowler in a five-pitch at bat to start this afternoon’s outing and gave up a long double to left by Aledmys Diaz before an RBI groundout brought in the Cards’ first run, 1-0. Matt Adams lined a 3-1 pitch fastball to right to bring Diaz in from second and give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
Randal Grichuk singled to left field to put two on with one out with the third hit of the inning, and one out later, a tweener to short left field off Patrick Wisdom’s bat brought Adams in to make it 3-0 early.
Strasburg got squeezed on a 2-2 curve to Harrison Bader that fooled everyone, home plate umpire John Libka included, and Bader lined the 3-2 fastball he got to right for an RBI single that made it 4-0 Cards after one. 26-pitch first.
• Fowler reached base safely in the top of the second as well, shooting a 2-2 curve from Strasburg through the right side for a leadoff single. He scored from first in the next at bat when Aledmys Diaz doubled to right-center on an 0-2 fastball up in the zone, 5-0.
Strasburg fell behind Matt Adams, 3-0, but popped him up on a fly to left that was deep enough to allow Diaz to tag and score, 6-0. 21-pitch frame, 47 total for Stras.
• That was it for Strasburg: 2.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 47 P.
• Matt Albers worked around a single for a scoreless inning on the mound after taking over for Strasburg in the third.
• New Cards’ reliever Brett Cecil struck the first two Nationals he faced out, but walked Matt Skole, who went first-to-third on a Michael A. Taylor single, but he was stranded there when Brian Goodwin K’d swinging to end the top of the fourth.
• Jacob Turner tossed a quick, 1-2-3 fourth, but gave up a leadoff triple by Randal Grichuk and a run on a sac fly in the Cards’ half of the fifth, 7-0.
• Rhett Wiseman (2015 Nationals’ 3rd Round pick out of Vanderbilt) struck out in his first at bat of the Spring, with Neftali Soto on second after a leadoff double by the NRI, who scored on an RBI double by Grant Green. Green scored on an RBI single to left by Michael A. Taylor, 7-2 Cards.
• Jacob Turner came back out for a third inning of work in the sixth, and gave up a two-out single by Paul DeJong and an RBI double by Jose Martinez as the Cards took an 8-2 lead.
• Wilmer Difo improved to 8 for 20 (.400 AVG) this Spring with a one-out single in the top of the seventh. He scored on a check-swing single to right by Chris Heisey, 8-3.
He doubled with one down in the ninth, improving to 9 for 21 on the Spring.
• Trevor Gott tossed a scoreless, nine-pitch seventh, working around a leadoff single.
• Rafael Bautista doubled to left on a fastball inside and up, lining one to the track off Cards’ righty Josh Lucas.
• Harrison Bader took Derek Eitel deep in the bottom of the eighth, sending a solo shot to center to make it 9-3 Cardinals.