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Stephen Strasburg dominates in rain-shortened home debut with Harrisburg

From print editions of The Post:

HARRISBURG, PA. -- After the 130-minute rain delay at the outset and the additional 21-minute delay caused by a power surge -- but before the second, 65-minute rain delay that sent the bulk of the sell-out crowd at Metro Bank Park to the parking lots -- Stephen Strasburg fulfilled his end of the deal on one of the most highly anticipated nights in the history of the Harrisburg Senators.

Making his home debut for the Washington Nationals' Class AA affiliate, Strasburg waited out the lengthy pregame delay, then tossed 2 1/3 overpowering innings against the New Britain Rock Cats before the second rain delay ended his night.

Wielding his usual assortment of dazzling pitches, highlighted by a fastball that consistently reached 98 mph, Strasburg, 21, allowed only two hits, no walks and one unearned run, while striking out three batters. He threw 32 pitches, 23 of them for strikes -- well short of the 85 to 90 pitches he was scheduled to throw.

He had a 1-0 count on his 10th batter of the night when the skies opened up again and the umpires waved the teams off the field. With several Nationals officials on hand, including principal owner Mark Lerner, farm director Doug Harris and minor league pitching coordinator Spin Williams, there was little chance of Strasburg remaining in the game when it resumed.

"He's done," Harris said. "Once he cooled down [during the second rain delay], that was it."

Strasburg showed better command than he did in his minor league debut five days earlier in Altoona, Pa., throwing first-pitch strikes to six of the nine batters who completed plate appearances against him, and reaching a three-ball count only once.

His only trouble came in the second, when, with two outs, Joe Benson reached on an infield single, went to second on a bad throw by Senators third baseman Adam Fox, then scored when Juan Portes lined an 0-2 fastball into left field for an RBI double -- the only hard-hit ball off Strasburg all night.

Through two starts, Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the June 2009 draft, has a 1.23 ERA, with six hits and two walks allowed in 7 1/3 innings, and 11 strikeouts. His next start is scheduled for April 21 at Harrisburg against the Reading Phillies.

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 17, 2010; 12:00 AM ET
Categories:  Stephen Strasburg  
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It'll be Girl Scout Cookie Toss Night at Harrisburg! Bring your kids!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 17, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

SS has a great ERA because once again the run against him was unearned. But both in Altoona and tonight, the runs didn't actually score on errors. Instead, he gave up hits that drove in the unearned runs (three of them in Altoona). He seems to lose some of his overpowering stuff pitching from the stretch. It's all well and good to talk about how great he is and cite the ERA, but the fact is, in both starts he hasn't been able to pitch out of jams caused by errors in the field. I'd love to think that he'll never face such a situation in the majors because the Nats' defense is so outstanding, but we all know he will. I hope they give him ample time to develop his ability to bail his teammates out when they screw up, rather than focusing only on blowing people away pitching from the windup.

Posted by: Section222 | April 17, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

quit your nitpicking. bottom line kid can throw.

Posted by: bbachrac | April 17, 2010 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Our farm system pitching coodinator is really named Spin Williams? Does Crash Davis know this guy?

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | April 17, 2010 2:55 AM | Report abuse

Obviously, the kid can throw. I'm looking forward to him pitching. Don't forget, Garrett Mock (sometimes) looks pretty good the first time through the order.

Posted by: Section222 | April 17, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

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