Found May 11, 2012 on The Nats Blog:
97608882

ap-201205102121768882239Stephen Strasburg put the team on his back last night, pitching them to their first win in three games, and their first road win since April 25. The Nats' ace recorded 13 strikeouts on the night, giving the club an opportunity to claim the 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates

What made Strasburg's start all-the-more impressive is that he didn't seem to have his best overall stuff last night. While his fastball may have been the best we've seen it since he underwent Tommy John surgery two years ago (induced 9 swinging strikes), he had trouble spotting his curveball on two strike counts, and his changeup was inconsistent. This meant that he earned a strikeout in 13 out of 18 outs recorded by simply challenging and beating hitters with the heater. 

The 24-year-old now has 27 strikeouts in 13 career innings pitched against the Pirates. 

Some Thoughts:

- The Nats won just won game this series, but all three contests were close. Credit that fact to the return of first baseman Adam LaRoche. In three games he reached base in 8/12 plate appearances, earning four hits, two home runs, and four RBI. LaRoche simply was the main force of the Nationals run production this week against his former team. It's crazy to think how most fans in Washington were ready to give up on the 2010 free-agent acquisition after he managed to hit just .172 in 43 games before injury last year. Through the team's first 31 contests this year, he is very clearly their offensive MVP. 

- Strasburg again had trouble pitching with runners on base last night. Given the discussions MASN was showing in the dugout between him, Jesus Flores, and Steve McCatty, it seemed as if Washington felt Pittsburgh was picking up their signs with runners on second base. Earlier this year, after one of his "down" starts, the Nats hurler said he felt he was tipping his pitches.

This seems to be a problem with Strasburg more often than the other Nats starters. It very well could be that teams are working harder to find ways to predict what he will pitch over other hurlers because Strasburg's stuff is just so hard to touch. You will hear a lot of hitters say that 99% of the time, if given the option, they dont want to know what pitch is coming. Stephen Strasburg's stuff makes him the 1% exception. 

- Strasburg walked three of his last four batters, and then struck out his last batter to end the sixth inning. He had thrown a lot of pitches and wasn't locating anything but his fastball. 

- The end of the Pirates series means that Washington won't have to pitch to Andrew McCutchen for another six days. McCutchen absolutely destroyed the Nationals this week. The Pirates' outfielder was 6-9 at the plate, and reached base in  9-12 plate appearances. 

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Strasburg dominates whiff-prone Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates own the major leagues' worst offense, and they strike out enough to whip up small tornadoes through Western Pennsylvania. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that, in their 4-2 loss to the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg on Thursday night, they struck out in 15 of their 30 at-bats. Strasburg, pitching at PNC Park for the first time, had 13 of the K'...

Strasburgh

Nationals 4, Pirates 2. The other side of Whiffsburgh: Stephen Strasburg strikes out 13. At one point, he struck out 7 in a row? Buc Commander: Apparently when Adam LaRoche isn't killing deer (see video), he kills baseballs. Thanks be to LaRoche... With 5th inning double, Strasburg looking like a good DH option when Interleague play starts. No way Mike Morse makes...

2012 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: Strasburg & Hamilton make it look too easy

Make sure to join the Fantasy Fix's $250 FREEROLL on DailyJoust.com today! It's a $1 million dollar roster and it's FREE so... Click to enter.This is why you shouldn't worry about an innings cap on Stephen Strasburg. In six innings against the Pirates on Thursday, the Nationals ace struck out 13 (including seven straight), allowed one run, and picked up a victory...

Nationals 4, Pirates 2

Stephen Strasburg struck out a season-high 13 over six innings and the Washington Nationals snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh on Thursday night. Roger Bernadina and Adam LaRoche both homered in the sixth off Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia (1-3) to erase a two-run deficit. Henry Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his seventh save. Strasburg improved...

Strasburg vs. Correia ... this is a bit of a mismatch

The Pirates are gunning for their first three-game sweep of the season tonight against the Nationals, but they've drawn an awfully difficult task if they're planning on actually pulling it off. The Nats are sending Stephen Strasburg to the mound tonight, and it seems to me that the Pirates' lineup is more or less full of sitting ducks for the righty. Strasburg isn'...

Daily Notes - The Orioles Dropped Bombs Edition

OK, so the Orioles hitting three homers in a row to open a game may not be extremely fantasy relevant, but it's neat and hasn't been done before. All said and done, they hit five homers as a team in the first game of the double header. Sure teams have hit more, and Strasburg's 13 K's in 6 innings is more impressive, but I couldn't resist the urge to make a bird...

What You Need to Know: Friday, May 11 by Daniel Rathman

The Thursday Takeaway Merry Strasmas, Nationals fans. With the team coming off a disappointing three-game skid, Stephen Strasburg took the mound against the Pirates and played stopper with results strikingly similar to his major-league debut. Back on June 8, 2010, Strasburg surpassed even the loftiest of expectations by striking out 14 batters without issuing a walk over seven...

The Nickname Crisis In Our Nation's Capital

I blogged about this when Stephen Strasburg made his debut, but with 19-year-old Bryce Harper now seemingly in a Nationals uniform to stay the situation has become intolerable. Washington has two of the most exciting, talented, compulsively watchable young players in their lineup that the grand old game has had grace its fields in a long time... ...and neither one of them has...

Sweep hopes stricken by Nats

The Pirates missed a chance to pick up an unlikely win (and sweep), as the long ball eventually did them in on Thursday night. The Kevin Correia vs. Stephen Strasburg matchup went better-than-expected for the Bucs early on. Strasburg was his usual filthy self the first time through the Pirate lineup – after Jose Tabata led off with a single, Alex Presley hit into a DP and then...

Game 31: Nationals 4 Pirates 2

If the theme of Tuesday's recap was the impossible complexity of baseball and how it creates games that can be both possible and implausible in one fell stroke, the lesson from the last game of this Pirates/Nats series is that sometimes baseball is incredibly easy to figure out. In Wednesday's game, Kevin Correia pitched a great game on the Kevin Correia scale of possible...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.