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Stephen Strasburg changes up

Morning roundup

FROM THE POST

The electricity and dominance remained the same, but Stephen Strasburg unveiled a new approach Friday night against the White Sox by relying more on his change-up. He threw a total of 22 change-ups in his first two big league starts. On Friday, he threw 24, and six of his 10 strikeouts came on that pitch.

"I think I was just able to throw it over the plate a little bit more, just had a little better feel for it than in the previous outing," Strasburg said. "A lot of it had to do with what I was trying to do with the pitch. In the previous outing I was trying to do too much with it. tonight I just let it work itself. Just went out there and trusted it."

Like every pitch he throws, Strasburg's change-up is unlike most any other pitcher's. It zips to the plate between 88 and 92 mph - roughly the same speed as every other Nationals starter's fastball. Before his change-up reaches the batter it darts violently toward the ground, as if the gravity in front of home plate started taking steroids.

Strasburg relatively ignored his change-up during his first two starts. He had often avoided throwing it in the minors - no matter how filthy, it was the only pitch most Class AAA batters had a chance at, since it wasn't humming in the high 90s.

He carried that pattern into the majors. In his debut against the Pirates, Strasburg surrendered the first home run he allowed with his change-up. Strasburg threw 13 in his first start and only nine in his second. Pitching coach Steve McCatty urged Strasburg to use more Friday.

"We had talked about using change-ups, because he's got such a good one," McCatty said.

Before the game, catcher Ivan Rodriguez decided he would call more of them. From Strasburg's warmups, he could tell it would be a weapon.

"He had been throwing in the bullpen, and I liked the change-up, the way it was moving," Rodriguez said. "I just used it. We used the change-up late in the count to strike out guys."

As the game persisted, Strasburg used it more and more. Even as the White Sox received extra looks at the pitch as the lineup cycled through, Strasburg still used it to great effect.

"It's hard to go from it," McCatty said. "Because it's so good."

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 5, Gwinnett 0: Craig Stammen came within one out of a no-hitter. He allowed two hits and one walk in seven innings. He also went 1 for 3. Pete Orr went 2 for 2 with a double and a walk.

Syracuse 1, Gwinnett 0 (seven innings): Erik Arnesen allowed no runs on five hits and four walks. Joel Peralta pitched a perfect 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout for for the save.

Bowie 5, Harrisburg 4: Ross Detwiler allowed no runs on six hits and a walk. Danny Espinosa went 3 for 5 with two doubles.

Potomac 5, Lynchburg 4: Stephen Lombardozzi went 4 for 4 with two doubles. Wilberto Ortiz went 2 for 4 with a home run. Brad Peacock allowed three earned runs on four hits and three walks, striking out eight in 5 2/3.

Hagerstown 13, West Virginia 3: J.P. Ramirez went 4 for 5 with a home run. Jeff Kobernus went 4 for 6 with a double. Justin Bloxom went 4 for 6 with a triple.

Vermont 9, Lowell 4: Vermont opened their season. Wade Moore, this year's 19th-round pick, went 2 for 4 with a home run.

By Adam Kilgore  |  June 19, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Ivan Rodriguez , Stephen Strasburg  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Nationals offense gone cold
Next: Quick turnaround for Ivan Rodriguez

Comments

Attaboy, Craig!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 19, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like a nice first game for the 19th round pick. Two shutouts for the Chiefs over the 3A Braves, I love it.

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 19, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

A nice four innings for Dets, can he be far off cause he is needed!!

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 19, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

A nice four innings for Dets, can he be far off cause he is needed!!

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 19, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Craig Stammen came within one out of a no-hitter. He allowed two hits and one walk in seven innings."

They don't play nine inning games in AAA? When did that start?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 19, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse


When they play doubleheaders in the minors, they usually play two 7-inning games.

------------
"Craig Stammen came within one out of a no-hitter. He allowed two hits and one walk in seven innings."

They don't play nine inning games in AAA? When did that start?

Posted by: chiefwj | June 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

nunof1, they only play 7 innings when they play doubleheaders.

I'd love to see Peralta in a Nats uniform sometime soon. He's certainly the most useful and deserving farmhand we got.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 19, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

They are not hitting in the clutch plain and simple listen the Phils got shut out what was it? damn near three games in a row so no need to scream and holla, they'll come out of it just hope it's sooner rather than later,now let's talk about the "Kid" is he something special or what? now if you think he's devastating now wait until he really learns how to pitch Whoa! the hitter's in the NL will be screaming about how unfair it is to let Strasburg throw from 60ft6in. he is truly a joy to watch.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 19, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

So what a strange Strasmas it was.
We got to bask in our usual Strasmas joy, as K's and backwards K's were sprinkled freely throughout Natstown.
But something was missing. Something nagging that tempered the joy slightly.

Uncle Scrooge took away our bats.
He replaced them with pool noodles.
We can't hit with pool noodles.

Strasmas is better when we score more runs than the guys wearing the wrong colored shirts.

Posted by: Sunderland | June 19, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Since FOX missed Strasburg with today's game, they're trying again in two weeks (which should align with the every-five-days schedule). Anyone with tickets to the game against the Mets on July 3 should make a note of the new 4:10 start time.

Posted by: thepostischeap | June 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Adam, it's been a few months, and still whole words missing and misspellings. My 12-year old niece can use a spell and grammar check, why can't you?

Posted by: paulkp | June 19, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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