Aníbal Sánchez took a no-hit bid into the eighth in Game 1 of the NLCS, and Max Scherzer followed up on that outing with six hitless and seven scoreless innings in Game 2 with St. Louis in Busch Stadium, so if there is some soft of friendly competition in the Washington Nationals’ rotation, with the starters trying to match what their mates have done, Stephen Strasburg is going to have come up with something pretty impressive in his Game 3 start against the Cardinals to outdo his teammates.
What did Strasburg, who’s put up a 2.40 ERA, one walk, 21 Ks, and a .204/.214/.370 line against in three games (two starts) and 15 IP so far in October, see from his fellow Nats’ starters that he can take to the mound when he starts tonight in the nation’s capital?
“I think they controlled the tempo of the game very well,” Strasburg told reporters in St. Louis on Saturday night.
“They had a lot of poise out there. Just seems like they were just playing catch out there. It’s easier said than done, but they had everything working and they made it look really easy.”
And building off of Sánchez and Scherzer’s outings? What’s it like trying to follow up on the first two starts from the Nationals’ rotation?
“I mean it was a lot of fun to watch,” Strasburg said.
“And they went out there and they attacked guys and I think that’s the biggest thing, that’s one thing that you can control and I’m going to hopefully continue to do that.”
Strasburg, coming off a dominant regular season in which he put up a 3.32 ERA, a 3.25 FIP, 56 walks (2.41 BB/9), and 251 Ks (10.81 K/9), has impressed his manager with his growth as a starter and a teammate.
“He’s been awesome,” Davey Martinez said in a conference call with reporters on Sunday. “I mean, the biggest thing for him is what we always talk about is to control the controllables. Some things, he can’t control. Just worry about getting outs and getting to the next pitch. The biggest thing with him this year is getting to the next pitch and focusing on just getting outs.”
“For me, it’s trying to focus on what you can control,” Strasburg said, echoing his manager’s sentiments.
“Disregard what you cannot control. And that really comes down to executing a game plan, taking it one pitch at a time, and just trying to make as many good pitches as possible and letting the chips fall as they may.”
For the Nationals, who started the season 19-31 before turning things around, and survived a Wild Card Game and a battle with the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, the way they’ve come to gel as a team is something Strasburg said has made it all that much more enjoyable, and the clubhouse culture in D.C. has gone a long way in getting them to where they are now.
“I think the biggest thing is is that we have really, over the last couple years, tried to address is the culture in the clubhouse. And Davey’s been great, he’s kind of let a lot of the guys that have been there a long time kind of take over the clubhouse. And the additions that we brought in this year has only made it so much better. We have a lot of fun playing together, we have a lot of fun winning together, and we just want to keep that going.”